The two largest volunteer service days of the year are Martin Luther King (MLK) Day Of Service (Jan. 21) and Make A Difference Day (third Sat. of October). On these days millions of Americans give back to their communities by lending a hand and giving of their time.
As technology further connects communities and needs, you don’t have to limit your volunteering to just these holidays. Can you speak another language? Design websites? Walk a dog? Chances are there is a related service opportunity that you can find out more about online.
The following websites will help you find where and how to volunteer in your community or around the world:
1. Catalista found that only 1 in 5 of us donated time to an issue we deeply care about in the last 12 months. Their resulting app– conceptualized by founder Catalina Ruiz-Healy while on a bad match.com date(!)– can be used with iPhone, iPod Touch, T-Mobile G1, Android and MyTOUCH devices to find volunteer opportunities, rate them, and share them with the world.
2. The Craigslist volunteer listings are, in many areas of the country, quite dense and ever-updated. There are many opportunities at local schools and in university research studies, plus one-on-one opportunities that won’t be found elsewhere. Examples include the chance to be a coach for a running group that raises money for charity, a mural painter at a local place in town, or a reader in a local classroom.
3. AARP’s Create The Good lists online and 5-minute volunteer opportunities in addition to projects searchable by zipcode. The website hopes to enlist everyday people to give, including those with little time or money. Their blog recently highlighted noticeable volunteerism on the East Coast during the 2010 holiday blizzards. Newark Mayor Corry Booker used Twitter to report his helping and encourage others to have a spirit of giving!
But the blizzard is also bringing out the best in people and thanks to social media sites such as Twitter, city governments are quickly reacting to cries of help from stranded citizens. Check out Newark Mayor Cory Booker’s Twitter Feed for example. Booker himself is in the snowy streets of the city, digging out cars and helping people dig out. This is truly an example of Creating Good.