January is an exciting time of year. It’s a chance to start fresh, change direction and focus on new priorities. Setting goals is an opportunity to bring new meaning and momentum, but it’s important to choose meaningful, attainable goals. Have you considered making regular community service one of them?
Getting involved in the community — and serving our neighbors — is a proven method of adding joy and meaning to daily life. Studies have shown that regular acts of kindness and service increase self-esteem, hope and gratitude, and improve mental health. This especially is true for teens, but the benefits reach all ages. There is no reason not to build service into your regular routine, and January is a perfect time to make a new commitment to yourself and others.
Justserve.org has a variety of volunteer opportunities for those wanting to make a sustained commitment, which is one of the highest areas of need. Nonprofits love and welcome volunteers whenever they come, but volunteers who can come on a regular basis and remain involved are needed. Here are four high-impact examples:
- Become a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Atlanta. This outreach program pairs adult mentors with youth in need of attention, guidance and love. https://bit.ly/3OX7MZM.
- Help out at Capstone Hospice or Heartland Hospice. These services count on caring volunteers to show love and kindness to those dealing with terminal illness. From playing games or music to helping with office work, there is an opportunity for everyone. https://bit.ly/3d1ExGf and https://bit.ly/3FkhRwE.
- Foster a dog with Mostly Mutts. Make a difference in a sustained way, and mostly from the comfort of home. Mostly Mutts always is in need of foster families. https://bit.ly/3VpNoTo.
- Simply spend time at Next Step Ministries. The nonprofit serves adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and community involvement is welcome. From bowling and playing games to reading, there are several ways to show up and show you care. https://bit.ly/3BBjaFO.
Justserve.org is a free, nationwide website and app that works to match volunteers with nonprofit organizations and service opportunities. If you run a nonprofit, or are looking for ways to make service a regular part of your life, check out justserve.org. You can sign up for regular updates and learn more about organizations nearby, too. JustServe makes it easy to just go out and serve!
– Susannah MacKay is a local JustServe specialist. She grew up in Marietta and loves helping strengthen her community through service! Follow her on Facebook @JustServeGeorgia.