As a freelance writer and editor of this local Sacramento magazine, unfortunately I don’t have a lot of free time. And when I do find myself with a few extra minutes in the day, they’re normally spent cleaning the house, food shopping, or getting in some exercise to help keep myself healthy so I can keep up with my life’s hectic pace.
Many of you have the same story I do where one crazy day just blends into the next and there never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.
A few months ago when 2015 started to come to a close, I took a moment to really look at my busy life and realized I was no longer making time for something I’ve always loved to do — volunteering. I’ve been a volunteer all my life. It all started when I volunteered as a “candy striper” at a local hospital when I was a young teenager and continued into junior and high school as I gave up time hanging with friends to tutor younger students.
As an adult, my volunteer work has spanned from socializing kitties at Happy Tails and the Sacramento SPCA to helping elementary school students improve their reading skills through Reading Partners. I’ve offered pro bono marketing and public relations work to the fundraising arm of the Sacramento County Animal Shelter, and I was on the board of The Volunteer Center of Sacramento for many years.
For me, volunteering makes me whole. It allows me to fulfill a deep-down need I have to help others. I love being able to use my skills in ways that benefit not just myself, but so many others. Volunteering is such a stress reliever for me — being able to focus on just one fuzzy kitty or one reading student has a calming effect. And volunteering has helped me learn so much, both about myself and the world around me.
If you’ve ever considered volunteering, now is the perfect time to start as National Volunteer Week is this month, April 10-16. And there are tons of ways to give back in Sacramento, from large national nonprofits to local community organizations. Ask your child’s teacher how you can help at their school or contact an organization that speaks to you and see what help they need.
To get you started, here are some resources for finding volunteering opportunities here in Sacramento:
- City of Sacramento Volunteer Program — Find volunteer opportunities online and sign up for their volunteer email for upcoming needs. 916.808.8317 or CityOfSacramento.org
- VolunteerMatch — Search their online database by location, cause areas and more, or have opportunities based on your interest areas emailed to you. VolunteerMatch.org
- Hands On Superior California — Search their database for volunteer opportunities in your local area, as well as special event needs. HandsOnSuperiorCal.org
And remember, you don’t have to have tons of extra time to volunteer. Even if you only have one hour a month to spare, every bit counts! Get out there and make a difference!