SocialWorth’s mission is to improve the lives of people living in transitional housing by encouraging hairstylists to volunteer their skills right in their salons. But you don’t have to be a stylist or barber to embrace the mission of social impact. Read on for our top five favorite ways to help the community:
- If you see trash in your neighborhood, grab it. One of the easiest ways to impact your community is by collecting stray trash you see in your area. Keep an empty plastic grocery bag in your car to stash it until you reach a trash bin. This small act of kindness is a quick, affordable way to care for your neighborhood. Helping keep things clean sets a great example and encourages others to do the same.
- Communicate directly with your local homeless shelter. If you’d like to donate to your community shelter, make sure your donation has a strong impact by taking a moment to find out exactly what the shelter needs. Shelters’ donation needs vary, from food and clothing to toiletries and linens. Call and speak with a staff member who’s familiar with that facility’s most pressing issues, or visit their website to learn about how their demands change seasonally. Family Dollar and Dollar Tree are great places to purchase donation items on a budget.
- Visit a local senior center. Senior living facilities are almost always accepting volunteers. Call one in your neighborhood and see if they need any visitors. Just an hour a week could brighten an elderly person’s day, especially if they just want to talk. If you have a loved one in assisted living, visit regularly and familiarize yourself with the residents. You could be a cheerful face for those whose families live out of town!
- Shop and dine at local small businesses. We all feel guilty feeling whenever we see a neighborhood business go under, thinking that we should have supported them more often. Don’t wait! Choose a family-owned pizza parlor over corporate food franchises, or try a local florist or wine shop for a treat to bring to a dinner party. Supporting small businesses makes a huge impact on local economies. It’s also a great way to get to know people in your town, which can reduce crime and encourage friendliness between locals.
- Bolster your resume by volunteering. If you’re a young professional breaking into the job market, visit www.volunteermatch.org to find volunteering opportunities that could grow your professional network and strengthen your resume. Employers are always looking for hires whose resumes stand out from the pack, and using your time to help the community may separate you from the competition. If you’re making a career change or are between jobs, volunteering is a great way to fill in gaps in your resume. You never know what interesting opportunities could arise from your volunteering endeavors!