3 Tips for Getting Active & Engaged in Your Community Through Service This Year
Over the past year, we have seen a global swell of inspiring young people activating and gravitating toward a variety of issues—politics, environment, human rights— which is an amazing phenomenon that is creating meaningful, real change around the world. We’re excited to see even more young people become global change-makers through service, along with generations after them and before them.
Are you feeling inspired by all the activism you see around you but unsure of how to jump in for yourself? The GoAbroad Foundation is here to help — we want to give you all the tips you need to make 2018 your more service-oriented year yet!
Find An Cause That You Are Passionate About
One of first things you’ll need to do is find something, whether it be a cause, organization, or movement, that you are passionate about. Many people already have a set of interests, such as a love for animals or a passion for educating, that can be turned into activism and a natural service opportunity, so start reflecting on what causes matter to you most.
If you aren’t sure what type of service you should get involved in still, have no fear! Ask yourself a few key questions to determine what you’re most passionate about. The answers to the questions below will help you narrow down the best way for you to make 2018 your most service-oriented year yet:
- Do you like working with people or are you more comfortable in solitary settings?
- Do you care about human issues or more environmental issues?
- Do you want to make an impact in your local community or the global community?
- Are you interested in working in a healthcare or childcare?
Some of the most popular community service initiatives center on: human rights, animal rights, children and youth, healthcare, and senior care. All of these initiatives also happen to have relevant service opportunities all around the world, if you are looking to turn your volunteer work into an international experience.
Along with deciding what service opportunity will be best for you to get involved with, brainstorm some of the skill sets you can bring to the table.
- Are you great with social media?
- Do you have experience in customer service?
- Are you a wizard at Excel and other administrative tools?
All of these skills can be helpful to organizations, so don’t sell yourself short. Even if you don’t have previous professional or volunteer work experience under your belt, you have skills that can be donated through service projects!
Spread the Word with Community Outreach
Once you are fired up and ready to support a cause, it’s time to start connecting with a community of other volunteers and passionate people working in that space! One of the first things you’ll learn through activism is that community is the key to everything. It helps keep you accountable, engaged, and motivated to sustain the service work you’re committing to doing. In fact, one of the biggest benefits of service is making new friends who have the same interests as you!
Focusing on service will provide amazing benefits to the communities you serve, but also to you. Research indicates that volunteering can improve mental and physical health, not to mention it will teach you new skills.
Community outreach can take many shapes and sizes, so you should feel comfortable using any and all of the platforms at your disposal. Post articles related to the service projects your passionate about on Facebook or Twitter, connect with students at your local high school or university, attend city council meetings to engage with the cause on the political scale; whatever it is, help spread the word about why the cause you’ve chosen is important to you AND why your community should care too.
Get Your Hands Dirty by Volunteering
Now comes the fun part—start volunteering! This stage is the part of service that most people find the most engaging and enjoyable because they feel active and making an impact. You can get your hands dirty (both literally and figuratively) in the service work finally!
Your passion might already have built-in volunteering opportunities, such as working at an animal shelter or collecting signatures in your neighborhood for a political referendum; but in other cases, you might need to get creative if your cause doesn’t have any pre-arranged service opportunities. Perhaps you can support a non-profit by developing a social media campaign or you can start a drive in order to collect materials and resources to donate a nearby shelter, there are always ways to turn your passions into an opportunity to serve.
In some cases, the best way to get engaged with a cause is to travel abroad to volunteer with a community halfway around the world. This is an increasingly popular rite-of-passage for young adults today, as an eye-opening opportunity to make an impact while also learning valuable lessons about life abroad as well as different cultures.
Make 2018 Your Most Service-Oriented Year Ever
Regardless of what cause you are passionate about, there is a way for you to get involved. Whatever activism and service looks like to you, now is the time to start! With these three tips in mind, you’ll be on the path towards meaningful change in no time.