Whether it's summer break or a long weekend, get out in the community and make a difference. Contribute a few hours to improve the lives of local children, the beauty of the neighborhood, or boost a local non-profit agency's awareness. Here's how!
1. Become a reading tutor. Although classes may not be in session, schools are busy places on the weekends and over holiday breaks. Teachers and volunteers work together to give students an extra boost of confidence and skills. Inquire about becoming a reading tutor at the elementary or middle school closest to home. On United Way's website, you can take the pledge to become a volunteer reader, tutor or mentor. After taking the pledge, you will be provided with information on how to get started as a volunteer.
2. Help build a playground. Communities across the nation are working to improve the amount of green space and places for children to play. Ask the city government if there are any local playground projects in the works. Offer to lend a helping hand on a Saturday afternoon.
3. Give the cost of a coffee. Making a contribution to the community doesn't have to be in the form of an oversize check. Donations of a few dollars add up quickly and are appreciated just as much as larger gifts. Contribute the spare change in your car or at the bottom of your purse to a fundraising jar next to a cash register at a local store or restaurant.
4. Spread a message. When time is sparse, use a strong voice to help spread the message for a local program or agency. Share posts on social media accounts, tell a friend, or offer to hang posters at local businesses. Contribute by creating awareness.
5. Organize a fundraiser. Add to the success of an organization by volunteering to help plan their events. Whether it's a live benefit auction, or a kid's carnival night, hours of work are needed to get everything lined up and ready. Check out United Way of Norman, Oklahoma's "No Shave November" fundraising campaign. With the help of volunteers, the 2012 fundraiser exceeded its $50,000 goal!
6. Attend a fun run. Burn a few calories and help raise money for a worthy cause by participating in a local 5K. During the warmer months, these events are plentiful and well attended. Lace up your sneakers and go do something good.
United Way is at the forefront of improving the lives of children and making communities better places to live. Get involved today!