When I first moved to the Twin Cities, I found it difficult to find volunteer opportunities. I am very shy and its difficult for me to initiate relationships. At the time, I belonged to a larger church and, even when I would force myself to respond to a volunteer request, I wouldn’t get a call back, so I wouldn’t follow up. That’s when I discovered VolunteerMatch. Its the perfect solution for the shy and/or busy.
When you sign up for for this free online service, you are given options for the types of volunteer work you are interested in. You choose the distance you are willing to travel and you can add your skills if you want. From there you get a weekly e-mail of possible matches. If you find a volunteer opportunity you are interested in, VolunteerMatch connects you to the right person to volunteer. It’s so simple.
I no longer lack volunteer opportunities. It’s ironic that when I was in a double-income, no-kids situation, I needed a service like VolunteerMatch. Now that I am overwhelmed by the mobile destruction machines I call my children, I have all sorts of “mandatory volunteer opportunities”. I assume most parents are in the same boat. So why do I recommend VolunteerMatch?
- Active Parenthood is a temporary state. There will be a time, again, when I will be looking for ways to connect with the world outside of my household.
- These volunteer activities take you outside of your current circles. You get to meet new people and try new activities if you want.
- These are volunteer situations aligning with your own passions. Most of them turn out to be a lot of fun.
- You can make “kid-friendly” one of your criteria; or you can choose adult activites and feel good about employing a babysitter.
- I believe whole-heartedly in “proactive giving”. Everyone wants your money and your time, so why not decide how much you have available to give and then decide for yourself who you want to give it to. That way when well meaning people come around looking for volunteers, you can honestly say you are giving to the max right now.
- I have a theory that there are a lot of people out there like myself, 10 years ago. If they were all matched up with the amount of volunteer work they wanted and could handle, it might take the load off of those of us in a parenting state. (I can dream a little here). I highly recommend sharing volunteer match with your friends and siblings who are not raising families. Volunteering is fun when you choose your own situations; it’s a great place to meet other single people with similar values; and it is just a great way to give back.
I recommend signing up for volunteer match now, even though you are already overwhelmed. I have to be honest, I haven’t responded to a volunteer position since I became a parent. No one is going to harass you if you don’t. However, I still read my weekly e-mails and, in a couple years when my youngest is out of diapers, I hope to be able to do more again. It keeps me excited about the world outside of my own.