Recent research has shown that Americans are struggling to feel happy. Many of us long to experience a greater sense of meaning in our lives. We know that we feel generally unsatisfied, but we don’t know how to fix the problem. We also might feel depressed when we look around at the world and see so many people suffering. Everyone has a different definition of success and well-being. For some, self-betterment is all about making more money, buying property and securing a comfortable position in society. For others, it’s about making a difference in the world.
The Importance of Volunteering
A recent study found that up to 25 percent of Americans do some form of volunteer work, so not only can volunteering help others, but it can also help you meet compassionate, like-minded individuals in your own community.
Another good thing about volunteer opportunities is that most of them are free and accessible to anyone who desires to take part. Unlike when you apply for a job, you won’t need to compete for a position.
Whether you have plenty of free time or you’ll need to find opportunities for work you can do on the weekend, there are many options available. When most people hear the term “volunteer work”, they picture themselves traveling to undeveloped parts of Africa or other areas around the world, but there are many wonderful volunteer opportunities right here in the United States.
Common areas for volunteer opportunities include:
- Animal shelter and adoption work.
- Political parties and voting campaigns.
- Homeless shelters and women’s shelters.
- Organic farming and homestead labor.
If you have a valuable skill set, you can use this in your volunteer work. For example, if you enjoy photography, you can use your skills to help animal shelters take pictures of the various pets they have for adoption.
If you’re a web developer, you can offer free services to help a non-profit organization gain more exposure online. If you’re a people person, you can volunteer to stand on the street and help your favorite political party register new voters.
When it comes to volunteer work, the possibilities are endless, but one thing is certain. Your help is needed. No matter what your skill level, there is something you can do to help.
You don’t necessarily have to donate your time to make a difference in the world. There are many well-paying positions that allow skilled workers to make a difference. However, before you begin researching cancer cures or building sustainable farms, you’ll need to get an education.
Maybe you couldn’t afford to go to college when you were younger, or perhaps you didn’t want to. If you’re rethinking that now that you’re older, don’t worry. You won’t be alone. Statistics show that in 2009, up to 17 percent of all college students were over the age of 35. Professors are seeing more older people in their classrooms as the job market continues to grow more competitive and people seek new ways of improving their chances of success.
If you’d like to improve your education but can’t spare any time to go to class, you should consider taking online classes. More people are working toward online degrees because of the flexibility they allow. They’re also an affordable option. For more information, contact your local community college or trade school.
Above all else, you can work on changing the world by being a better person. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference. Whether you invite a lonely neighbor over for a nice dinner, help a friend with a stressful move or simply hold a door for a stranger, you’ll be making the world a better place.