Simple “No Pressure” Ways to Give Back
By Emily Miranda
Find a Way
By Emily Miranda
GIVING BACK to the community can be a bit overwhelming – an extra add-in to an already busy schedule. And yet, there are always those folks who somehow, despite their hectic schedule of balancing career and family, still find the extra time and money to volunteer and give.
But giving back doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. Every act of kindness doesn’t need to resemble some grand gesture of giving. Here are five “no-pressure” ways to give back to the community.
1. START WITH FAMILY. Some may picture needy strangers in connection to volunteering. But, before considering community outreach as an act of service, consider the needs of your family first. Showing the people who are most important to you just how important they are speaks volumes. If you notice your spouse overwhelmed with the pressures of work and home life, offer to help out where you can: volunteer to help with dishes, drive the kids to school, mow the lawn. Maybe you have an elderly family member struggling with loneliness or mobility. Offer to stop by once a week to drop off groceries and give them company. You may be surprised how these simple acts of kindness can uplift the human spirit for the both of you.
2. HELP OUT AT SCHOOL. Educators, coaches, school librarians and other staff members often need help. Children need to be surrounded by role models who show a caring interest in their lives, and who better than their parents? Whether you chaperone field trips, help coach a sports team, teach an elective or monitor recess activities, your efforts won’t go unrecognized. You’re not just helping out the school; you are investing in your child’s future, as well as being present in their life and the lives around them.
3. BE A GOOD NEIGHBOR. Do you know your neighbors? If not, the first step is an introduction (perhaps bring over a plate of cookies). Invite your neighbors over for dinner or a friendly barbecue to get better acquainted. Look for common interests. Do they have pets? Invite them on morning dog walks, or offer to pet-sit next time they go on a vacation. If they have children, schedule a play-date with your own little ones, or offer to babysit so they can have a date night. For an even easier way to get involved, join the neighborhood watch program, and if your street doesn’t have one, volunteer to set one up. Knowing your neighbors builds a sense of trust and security within the community, giving you connection to those around you.
4. HOST A CHARITY YARD SALE. Now that you know your neighbors, collaborate on a neighborhood yard sale for the community, dedicating the proceeds to a local charity or family in need. Every household has items that can be donated to the yard sale. Offer to host the sale in your yard, or see if there are enough items to have a neighborhood-wide street sale. You never know, it may become an annual neighborhood event.
5. GIVE WHAT YOU ALREADY KNOW. Tutor a student in your favorite subject or hobby. Students come in all ages. Seniors are especially in need of learning computer, smartphone app and Internet skills. The younger generations are in need of general life skills, such as cooking, sewing, gardening and car mechanics. Try mentoring someone you know and encourage them to pass on the knowledge. You could also teach literacy to adults. Not only are you expanding their outlook on life, but these skills can be life changing, opening up more opportunities for their future.
Put simply, giving back is valuing people. It shouldn’t have to be overwhelming or intimidating. When you give your time to help someone, you’re making a difference. When you make time for the people in your community, not only does it make them feel important, but they also see you as important, in turn. •