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Make A Difference This Spring: Volunteer In Worcester

Friday, March 15, 2013

 

There never seems to be enough time in the day. There is always something to get done or somewhere to jet off to. And to top it all off, everyone lost an hour of time last weekend when the clocks sprang forward. In our hectic lives, volunteering can seem like an impossible task to squeeze into any schedule.

However, if you really think about it, most of us actually have an hour or two to spare. Instead of squandering that extra time by dozing off to reality television, try something new this spring; consider using that hour or two to accomplish something worthwhile and volunteer.

“I believe it is important to contribute back to your community and to engage in the town or city where you live,” says Tyler Maikath, conservation stewardship coordinator of the Greater Worcester Land Trust.

A chance to positively change society isn’t the only reason to volunteer, though. Volunteers themselves garner new experiences, meet new friends, become trained in different skills, and often learn more about themselves and the area they live in. To people of all ages, volunteering brings a sense of meaning and accomplishment. And everyone feels great after dedicating their time to help others.

There are hundreds of different ways to get involved in your community. Choose one, get involved, and see the difference one person can make!

Big Brothers Big Sisters

The mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters is to "to enhance the quality of life of children through professionally supported mentoring relationships with responsible and caring volunteers.”

Have you ever thought of making a real difference in a child’s life? By becoming a Big through this organization, volunteers can build a meaningful connection with a youth who may have very few people in his or her life to really look up to. Volunteers strive to help their Little succeed, encourage them to make good choices, and influence their future goals, all while having fun.

To volunteer or to learn more, visit their website. Before getting involved, remember that Big Brothers Big Sisters is more than just a one-day commitment.

Greater Worcester Land Trust

Anyone with a passion for preserving the environment should definitely consider volunteering with the Greater Worcester Land Trust, a small non-profit focused on conserving the green spaces in and around the city.

“Volunteers do a lot of outside work, including trail work on conservation lands, rustic sign work, and clean-up projects,” says Maikath. “They have also helped us develop management plans for communities and participate in Earth Day clean-ups.”
Especially as the weather slowly warms up, consider helping maintain the dozens of nature trails and wildlife habitats preserved by this non-profit, mostly peppered around the Worcester area. Volunteers will also learn a great deal about local flora and fauna.

To volunteer with the Greater Worcester Land Trust, or to learn more about its work, visit the website.

Habitat For Humanity

Photo: Karen Mills

Perhaps volunteering conjures up for you an image of a group working together to construct a home? For those who want to try a hand at using power tools and raising walls, or for those who can only spare a day to volunteer, consider working with Habitat for Humanity, a hands-on organization that builds houses for local families in need.

On Habitat for Humanity’s website, you can search their calendar to find a build day—usually Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays—that works with your schedule.

Another option is to schedule a Team Build Day. Your church, school, club, or business can opt to labor together at a build site for a day, where volunteers will learn new skills and bond. A tax-detectable monetary contribution is expected for groups who participate in Team Build Days.

For more information about Habitat for Humanity, or to volunteer with this organization, check out their website.

United Way of Central Massachusetts

Dedicated to “investing in educational opportunities, supporting strong families and building healthy communities,” United Way provides a large menagerie of different volunteer opportunities for everyone.

The organization’s annual Day of Caring is a one-day event where hundreds of people sign up to work on small projects throughout central Massachusetts such as painting, cleaning, or working at shelters. Other short-term volunteer opportunities include neighborhood clean-ups and time spent sorting donated items.

Longer-term projects with United Way include volunteer posts in school classrooms, positions committed to organizing 5k races and 5k walks, jobs working as an English tutor, and chances for becoming a volunteer literacy tutor in adult literacy programs.

To learn more or to volunteer with United Way, visit their website.

One day makes a difference

If you want to try something new and meaningful this spring, consider volunteering with one of these organizations. Even if you can only spare a day in April or an hour each week, a donation of time and effort is always sincerely appreciated.

“We can always use volunteers,” says Maikath. “We are a volunteer-based trust with a very small staff. We rely on volunteers.”

So switch off John Mayer and stop waiting on the world to change. Lend a helping hand and donate a few hours of your time. Through action, great are things accomplished and positive changes are made. 

 

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