Want to Make a Difference?
Cumulus Media has teamed up with VolunteerMatch to bring us Project Shine in an effort to encourage people to make a positive impact in communities across the nation for the greater good. According to the website, “There are 3.2 million volunteers needed by the non-profits…Over 700,000 of those openings are for virtual volunteers.”
During this pandemic, I have really missed serving others, but I’m excited for an opportunity to safely resume some of the regular rhythms I’ve had to interrupt over the past year. The VolunteerMatch website allows users to filter listings by cause, skill, and distance from one’s home. There’s also an option to choose to serve virtually or on location.
While searching through the filtered list of volunteer opportunities, I discovered Open Your Heart, a virtual event to benefit Stepping Stones, an organization whose mission is “to build pathways to independence and promote inclusion for people with developmental and physical disabilities.” On February 25, while our daughters are in school, I’ll deliver meals to the porches of guests participating in the virtual event from home. Though dinner tickets are sold out, you can still join in the celebration by supporting the online raffle, purchasing an art kit for a participant in need, or giving a gift.
I plan to submit a volunteer application to a nearby therapeutic riding center that offers equine-assisted services to those impacted by disabilities and other unique challenges. If I’m a good fit for their program, I will have the opportunity to provide physical and emotional support to the riders during their sessions, allowing me to combine my fondness for horses and my interest in equine therapy with my previous professional experience working with patients recovering from injury and surgery. Maybe our horse-loving daughter and I will have a chance to serve alongside each other over the summer? We snapped this adorable photo of her with the pony in 2010. It’s one of my favorites! In any case, I’ll keep you posted.
How about you?
Whether your heart is for animals, the homeless, the hungry, kids, seniors, or veterans, there’s a volunteer opportunity waiting for you. And if you’re not a people person, no worries. There are plenty of non-profits with administrative needs, and they offer other ways to serve behind the scenes as well. If you’d like to get involved, I encourage you to take a minute to check it out!
What have been your favorite volunteer experiences? Where have you wanted to volunteer but haven’t yet had a chance? Shoot me an email at Lauriestroupsmith@gmail.com. I’d love to hear from you.