Some of my favorite things I've done have been as a volunteer. Before I started working for myself, I used to volunteer in a community garden for People's Grocery. I volunteered in the classroom for Streetside Stories before I worked for them.
One of the things I've realized while doing the 29-Day Giving Challenge is that I "volunteer" a lot of free advice for organizations and individuals, but I haven't volunteered in my community for a long time.
How often do you volunteer?
Maybe together we can start up again during National Volunteer Week April 27-May 3, 2008. According to the United Way for Southeastern Michigan's blog, President Richard Nixon signed an executive order in 1974 establishing National Volunteer Week as an annual celebration of volunteerism (who knew?).
A great place to find volunteer opportunities is VolunteerMatch. You can search for volunteer opportunities by zip code, and sort by areas of interest (i.e. animals, education, politics, seniors). You can also find information and resources about National Volunteer Week on the Points of Light and Hands On Network, Energize Inc., Youth Service America, and the Corporation for National and Community Service.
If you work for a nonprofit organization, National Volunteer Week is a great time for you to organize a special volunteer project, or recognize and award your volunteers' work. The United Way Capital Area posted a call on their blog for people to participate in their United Way Days of Caring on April 25th. Fairfax County CERT posted a congratulations to all of their volunteers on their blog, and there will be a Fairfax County Volunteer Awards Breakfast next week.
Personally, I'd like to start volunteering at my local library. Aside from school and home, I probably spent more time at my local library while I was growing up than anywhere else. It makes me sad that the Oakland public libraries are so under-funded. Maybe I'll walk down to my local branch and see if they need some help.
Howabout you? Where are you going to volunteer?