No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. — Aesop
Georgia is ranked 39th out of the 50 states for the number of residents that volunteered in 2015, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Furthermore, researchers believe that the number of volunteers has been steadily decreasing the past few years. While lack of time, lack of a priority, and lack of money may be reasons to not volunteer, studies show that actively serving one’s community is worth giving a second thought. Benefits to volunteering include:
Improved Mental Health: Community service provides as sense of purpose, fulfillment, and accomplishment, all adding up to an increase in happiness and decreased feelings of depression.
Grow Deeper Relationships: 1 out of 3 adults report being lonely, even with the increased use of social media and other outlets to connect with people online. Serving the community allows you to meet others who share similar passions as you. Working alongside these people creates stronger, more meaningful relationships than if you were to interact with
Advance Your Career: The people you meet at volunteer events grow your weak tie network, or your network that is not your close-knit group. Studies have shown that your weak tie relationships are more likely to broaden your knowledge and widen your perspective. They are also more likely to introduce you to career advancement opportunities that can provide
Helping Society: Government agencies and local non-profit organizations depend on volunteers to support their operations and act out their mission. Because of your service, you are improving the lives of others, improving the community, and acting as a catalyst for organizations set out to make a positive impact.
So how do I find the right volunteer opportunity for me?
First, identify your passions, your skills, your commitment level, and what you seek to get out of the volunteer experience. Then, reach out to local religious organizations, schools, senior centers, rescue organizations, after-school programs and local non-profits to find an opportunity that matches your passion and your goals. Below are some examples of ways to serve the Gwinnett County community.
Family Promise of Gwinnett
Family Promise of Gwinnet seeks to “help homeless children and their families regain their housing and their independence”. Volunteers are needed to cook and serve dinner to the women and children who stay the night at their SaltLight center, to mentor Family Promise graduates on their long-term goals of self-sufficiency, and to assistant around the office. For
more information, visit www.familypromisgwinnett.org/get-involved/.
Hi-Hope Center serves individuals with developmental disabilities through three main programs – career resourcing, residential living, and community access. Hi-Hope seeks volunteers to fill a wide array of capacities, including landscaping, cleaning projects, meal prep, activity planning, and business administration. For more information, visit www.hihopecenter.org.
Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful
Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful seeks to cultivate a community of environmental stewards and provide long-term environmental solutions to the area. Interested in getting involved? Participate in America Recycles Day on November 18, 2017 with Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful. Bring items that are difficult to recycle such as ink cartridges, electronics, tires, and paint to Coolray Field from 9am-12pm and have them responsibly disposed of! For more information and other opportunities, visit www.gwinnetcb.org.
Gwinnett County Animal Shelter
Gwinnett County Animal Shelter heavily relies on volunteers for its day-to- day operations. Opportunities include kennel assistants, dog walkers, cat caretakers, and general cleaning. For more information, contact Barbara Kettles at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity
Gwinnett Habitat for Humanity focuses on providing affordable housing solutions for low-income families. You don’t have to be a carpenter master to help out. All you need is an eagerness to help! Volunteering includes building houses, working with families, reaching out to sponsors, or serving on planning committees. For more information, visit
While it is great to serve the community in all-day projects or fundraisers for a local non-profit, realize you can make just as impactful a difference in your community through even the smallest acts of kindness. Offer a cup of hot chocolate to someone working a winter Christmas tree sale. Donate lightly used clothing such as jackets, blankets, scarves, and tennis shoes to a local church that can then give them to those without the basic winter necessities. Grab a group together and go
pick up trash at a local park. Any impact is a big impact. So go out, be bold, and make a difference in your community.