Non-government organizations and charities exist to fill in the gap that governments cannot fulfill. They protect and assist marginalized sectors so they can have better lives. They are groups who want to make the world a better place, or in the case of organizations fighting for the environment, to keep the world alive. With the plethora of issues and tragedies plaguing the world, it is hard to decide on which advocacy to devote one’s time to. However, it is also pure naivety to think that one can address all issues in one go. Lucky for us, there are numerous organizations targeting different issues and advocacies. However, they can’t do it alone—they need the manpower of volunteers to function.
A lot of people mistakenly brag that volunteering is a life-changing experience. That going out of one’s comfort zone lets one see the beauty in the world and other people’s cultures. This is actually a selfish, rather short-sighted perspective. It does nothing but feed one’s ego, and makes one susceptible to erroneous or, in the worst case, fraudulent organizations. Before you proceed with volunteering, consider first your perspective and your motivation. If this is your way of thinking, remind yourself that volunteering is and should always be a selfless act. The focus is on what you can do for your community, and not what volunteering can do for you.
For young volunteers, it is advisable to look for volunteering opportunities within your own locale first. International volunteering opportunities require specialized skills that you may not have yet. This does not mean, however, that you should not volunteer now. This is a great opportunity for you to explore different advocacies that you may eventually specialize in. There are many volunteers whose college choices and career paths were influenced by their volunteering experiences. The same can apply to you.
Here are 10 volunteering opportunities you should not miss this 2019:
Teach for America
For education majors or those whose majors are related to education, Teach for America is a great volunteering opportunity. TFA has been around since 1989, providing quality education to children. This organization aims to fight education inequity and expand opportunity for marginalized sectors. If teaching or education is your passion, you should definitely volunteer here.
In addition to Teach for America, the organization has expanded to other countries through the Teach for All organization. They encourage volunteers to teach in their own countries.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a global non-profit housing organization that operates in the US and in 70 other countries. People build their own houses alongside volunteers and then pay for it through the assistance of financial aids offered also by Habitat for Humanity. The NGO also helps renovate or rebuild houses affected by natural disasters.
Habitat for humanity does not need skilled volunteers. Anyone willing to volunteer their energy and sweat towards building affordable housing is welcome. Volunteer here.
National Coalition for the Homeless
Homelessness is a problem that has plagued men, women, and children for decades. It is coupled with other issues like poverty, hunger, and health. The National Coalition for the Homeless does not just provide opportunities for homeless people to improve their situation but they also provide support for those at-risk. They also have year-round projects that involve raising awareness and lobbying for improved legislation that members are encouraged to join.
The National Coalition for the Homeless will connect you with an organization in your location, too. See here.
In Her Shoes Foundation
In Her Shoes Foundation is dedicated to empowering girls and women through various strategic programs. Their flagship program Ready Set Girls Academy teaches young women life skills and cultivate self-esteem while exploring their own identities. The IHSF also offers the Professional Development Program that aims to empower women through personal and professional growth.
There are various volunteering opportunities at IHSF. Volunteers keep the entire foundation running, so whatever skills you have to offer can surely be of use at IHSF. Volunteer here.
Cleaning the ocean is just one way to help fight climate change, but it is one of the most accessible volunteer opportunities for young people. Every year in September, Ocean Conservancy hosts the International Coastal Cleanup that anyone can join. The International Coastal Cleanup is not just a normal cleanup. Volunteers are tasked to record every piece of trash they collect. Data from everyone who participated is collected by the Ocean Conservancy that they then publish and use for further studies to improve the situation of the environment.
Feed the Children
Feed the Children works across the US and around the world to combat hunger. Their primary program is their food-distribution programs in which volunteers assemble boxes filled with foods and other essentials that are then delivered to families in need. They also offer free school supplies at their Teacher Stores. Internationally, they engage with local communities and organizations to give children access to food, education, as well as livelihood for their parents.
Everyone is encouraged to take part in Feed the Children’s volunteer events.
Food Pantries is a US non-government organization. There are Food Pantries in every state and city. Food Pantries involve soup kitchens, food shelves, and food banks where people can get food, as well as subsidized groceries. These efforts make food accessible to those who need it. Food Pantries is one of the most accessible volunteering opportunities for young adults since their work does not require specific technical skills. This volunteering opportunity is the perfect alternative summer job for college students!
Check out Food Pantries in your city to see how you can volunteer.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
If you have more experience with volunteering or social work, you can head on to apply as a volunteer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). The UNCHR helps refugees and internally displaced people all over the world. The organization provides shelter and safety to refugees forced to flee their homes due to violence.
The UNCHR also started the 2 Billion Kilometres to Safety campaign. In solidarity with refugees who cover about 2 Billion kilometers every year in search of safety, the UNCHR is raising awareness by encouraging people to walk, jog, or run with them. Participants can connect their fitness apps or manually track and input the distance they walked or ran. The main aim of the campaign is to raise awareness on issues on immigration and eradicate myths about immigrants. However, you can also ask your friends and co-workers to donate money to the UNCHR for every kilometer you cover.
International Rescue Committee
The International Rescue Committee is a global humanitarian aid NGO that Albert Einstein helped create. It works in over 30 crisis-torn countries providing safety, food and shelter, health, education, and financial opportunities to refugees. They also provide assistance to newly-arrived refugees in America from basic needs, to document processes, to helping adjust to life in America.
The IRC may have a compact goal, but volunteer opportunities are varied. Since they are a global organization, they have program offices at different areas in the US. Apply as a volunteer here.
Doctors Without Borders
Doctors Without Borders is a well-known non-government organization that provides healthcare to remote areas all over the globe. It is one of the most common organization among doctors. However, if you want to help their advocacy but are not a doctor, you can still volunteer through their charity streams. You can organize a live-stream fundraiser for Doctors Without Borders by simply embedding your stream on their Tilify page.
You can also use charity stream events as a way to raise awareness about Doctor Without Borders’ advocacy, as well as about other health issues faced by your country or the world. You can give a short PowerPoint Presentation or hand out flyers to attendees (just make sure that your materials are factual and written professionally). It is an easy and fun way to raise funds and awareness for Doctors Without Borders. Plus, your friends will surely love to participate.
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For people who are not yet experts at areas that these non-government organizations need, the best contribution, aside from donations, is to raise awareness about their advocacy. The more people know about the problem, the more people with the necessary skills and qualifications may be willing to help. Most of these volunteering opportunities place emphasis on raising awareness. You can attract more support and volunteers for your advocacy or chosen NGO with well-written informational materials. CustomEssayMeister does not just offer essays and research papers, but also posters and brochures suitable to your event.