Volunteering - When You Can't Get Your Foot in the Door

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Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your community and give to others. The trouble is that most of us just don't have the time to give. One of the few perks of being unemployed is that now, you suddenly have the time to do the things you've always been meaning to get around to. If you haven't already, make volunteering in your community a commitment.

It's a great way to get out of the house, meet new people and keep your skills from getting rusty. Just having some place that you have to be, a couple times a week, can help keep depression at bay and give you a reason to get up in the morning. Sometimes we all just need that feeling of routine and purpose.

But, what do you do when no one wants your help? Depending on where you live, the non-profit organizations might already have their number of volunteers and at other places, they need more background screening and training, meaning that you won't actually be able to help for quite some time. It's easy to think that you've hit the proverbial wall and give up, but there are still plenty of ways to volunteer.

Think about how you can help - What are you good at? What could you do that would make someone's life better? We all have skills and talents to share, so make a list of the things you like to do. You don't have to work with a non-profit organization, you could just go help someone right now. For example, I know a group of men who are unemployed or retired. Most of them have worked in various types of construction jobs and with the housing market still shaky, there isn't a lot of work. These men have decided to join together to help single moms and the elderly with home repairs. They don't buy the materials, but they do come in and see what needs to be fixed and try to get it done. It makes a huge difference for the people they help and the men get a sense of purpose, knowing that their skills can really help others.

Talk to people - Whenever you network with others in your community, ask them if they know of any volunteer groups. Sometimes they may know about an opportunity. You can also ask at your church, or call other churches or civic organizations.

Use your hobbies - If you like to read, volunteer at the library or even just visit nursing homes and read to people. If you are interested in fixing cars, start a repair class for people who want to learn how to fix their own. There's no limit to the ways that you can share the things you enjoy with others.

When it comes to helping others, you don't need an organization to allow you to help. All you need are your skills, talents and your desire to be of service. Use your imagination and you'll find a great way to give back.

Do you volunteer in your community? What do you do? Please share your thoughts in the comments.


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  • Pooja
    I have worked at home for the Home Shopping Network answering the phone and placing orders for customers.You have to put in a ton of hours to make very little money though because you get paid per phone call.I have also worked from home for a British company doing  social  texting.  I actually made about $9 an hour doing that but that kind of work isn't for everyone.  The company I worked for has since been absorbed by a larger competitor but those jobs are still out there.
  • Melissa Kennedy
    Melissa Kennedy
    @Debra, The day does go by fast. I'm a single mom with a teen, so I know exactly what you mean. Although, I've found that having something I have to do once a week through volunteering gives some structure to the week. Even though I'm taking away time from my day, I'm getting inspired and feel that my time actually makes a difference. That positive feeling helps give me energy to get through everything else I have to do. You can even get your teenager involved with a project and make it a family bonding activity.
  • Debra R
    Debra R
    I feel as though I am more busy not working than when I was. My house is falling apart with being divorced and a teen child living with me. If I get one thing done concerning the house in a day, I am happy.  Most of the time I am just straightening and looking for a job.  The day goes by fast.

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