Have you ever thought that you haven’t done quite enough ‘good deeds’ in your life up to now? I for one am a little bit like that. I try and be a good person day in day out, and although I feel like I genuinely am a good person who does thoughtful things, sometimes it goes further than just thinking of others and going out of my way to make other people feel better.
Do you ever feel a personal responsibility to help others out that little bit more? If you’re anything like me, you probably do. It’s actually becoming quite a big ‘lifestyle’ choice at the moment, with some people claiming that nobody makes it through life entirely on his or her own merits, even if assistance is not obvious. And as a consequence, everyone has a debt to repay – and a reason to give back. Whether its to others or to nature or to the world.
It may sound a little bit ‘deep’, but I’ve been pondering ways to be more ‘giving’ lately. In addition to fulfilling a responsibility, there are many benefits of charitable giving – primarily, it makes you happier. In fact, a Harvard Business School study recently confirmed that “happier people give more and giving makes people happier, such that happiness and giving may operate in a positive feedback loop (with happier people giving more, getting happier, and giving even more).”
With this in mind, I wanted to share some ideas I had of how you can give your time, energy, and effort to try and ‘do good’, in the form of volunteering. Let me know of any others I may have missed!
1. Offer to Help Family
In the hectic lifestyle of the 21st century, the needs of family members are often overlooked. Family is so precious, and is something that we should be more lucky to have and not take for granted so much.
Parents busy raising their own children may forget the plight of their own parents, assuming they are capable of taking care of themselves. Many adult children presume their parents will speak up if they need anything. However, this is not always the case. Older people – parents, aunts and uncles, long-time family friends – are often reluctant to share their growing frailty, loneliness, or isolation with their children.
Caring for elderly parents may be necessary, so consider the needs of your own family members first. Drop by for coffee on a Saturday morning, offer to do some gardening for them, or accompany elderly parents on a shopping trip. Send them a card with some photographs to keep tucked away inside it. They’ll appreciate it so much.
Or, help someone out who is struggling to balance their day with looking after young children and babies. Even if it’s just popping along to a cafe with them for adult conversation!
2. Volunteer at Your Local School
These days, teachers are so overworked and stressed out that they constantly need help. You’ll find that too many parents and community members believe it’s someone else’s responsibility to solve the problems of education, when really, it’s something we could all chip in with.
Children need role models and people who care about their lives and behaviour. Whether you spent one after reading stories to primary school students, helped out with outdoor activities or sports day periods or helped out on school trips, it’s a rewarding way to help out both the younger generation and stressed out teachers.
3. Organise a Garage Sale/General Sale for Charity
If your talents lie in business, administration, or marketing, consider organising a little garage or car boot style sale for your community. It’s a great way to have a good old clear out plus you would be dedicating the proceeds to a local charity.
Think of all the items you have in storage at home that you’ll never use again. Almost every household has electronics, furniture, clothes, or equipment that can be donated because they’re no longer in use. These items have value and can be recycled to those who will use them again, as well as raising money for charities.
4. Visit a Home for the Elderly
Too many nursing homes are turned into dumping grounds for older people whose families are gone or are unavailable, and many residents are desperate for conversation and connections with people outside the centre. They struggle to get around, and often require the help of mobility scooters or assistants to help them get around.
Look at spending an hour or two a week taking them out, and planning a small adventure with them. You could make sure they have access to being mobile, like with the help of a Pro Rider Mobility Scooter, so they can get some fresh air and see the outdoors.
It can make a huge difference in the attitude and outlook of the residents, and you may learn something about life from those who have already travelled the journey before you.
5. Tutor a Student
Students include people of all ages, not just children. Teaching literacy to adults can change their lives. Helping someone learn English can expand his or her horizons, able to further interact in the broad community.
Academic subjects are not the only ones that need tutors – introducing and teaching others about computers and the Internet is needed everywhere, especially in the senior community. Life skills, such as cooking, sewing, and home repairs, are in demand for all ages.