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National Volunteer Week falls on April 18-25 this year, but you don’t have to wait for a special event—any time of year is a great time to do good. Check out these twelve months worth of cool volunteer opportunities, then pick your favorites and mark your calendar.
Participate in Martin Luther King Service Day on the 19th. Go to www.mlkday.gov to find an opportunity near you.
On the 2nd, get your office involved with National Job Shadow Day at www.jobshadow.org.
Take the Walk for Water in honor of World Water Day on the 22nd. Visit www.worldwaterday.org to sign up and pledge.
Plant something green in honor of Earth Day on the 22nd.
Leave non-perishable goods at your mailboxes on the 9th, and your letter carrier will deliver them to a local food bank. For details visit: www.nalc.org/commun/foodrive.
Honor World Refugee Day on the 20th by donating much needed materials. To get started visit: www.unhcr.org.
Recognize National Make a Difference to Children Month by brightening a child’s day. Send a personalized card or gift to ill children at www.makeachildsmile.org.
Organize a visit to a senior citizen home with games and cookies to recognize National Senior Citizens Day on the 21st.
Organize a One Day One Goal soccer match in honor of International Peace Day on the 21st. Sign up at www.peaceoneday.org.
Go meat free on October 1st for World Vegetarian Day. If you’re considering a vegan lifestyle get the facts at www.goveg.org.
The 15th is America Recycles Day. Check out the Conversionator tool at www.americarecyclesday.org for eye opening stats about reducing waste.
Wear a red ribbon on the 1st to raise awareness for World Aids Day; then download the informative fact sheets at www.hhs.gov/aidsawarenessdays/.
If you loved to volunteer in college, but feel it’s impossible now that you’ve graduated to the real world, relax! Even with your busy budding career and your laundry list of obligations, there’s a way to make a difference. Whether you only have a spare minute or a free day, we’ve compiled a list of easy, meaningful ways you can give back without giving up too much. You’ll be surprised how much good you can do in only….
Take a break from your normal search engine and try Good Search instead. Every time you browse with Good Search, a fraction of the search engine’s revenue is donated to a charity of your choice. Start searching today at www.goodsearch.com.
Every day nearly 7,000 high school students drop out. Help make it one less by sending an encouraging email to someone who’s struggling. Go to www.boostup.org to pick from the list of students and select from a handful of pre-written motivating messages or write your own.
Text the words Do Something to 30644 and get volunteer opportunities and text message alerts sent right to your cell phone. This non-profit, which is devoted to promoting volunteerism, will send you messages twice a month with new opportunities located near your zip code. Get more info about Text 2 Volunteer at www.dosomething.org.
Test your trivia skills while feeding the hungry. Free Rice donates ten grains of rice for each question you answer correctly. Get your game on at: www.freerice.com.
Learn about how your habits impact the environment. After you calculate your carbon footprint, read up on how to reduce your use at www.carbonfootprint.com.
Join the ASPCA’s Animal Advocacy Brigade to help improve the lives of animals at www.aspca.org. You’ll receive important alerts when the organization needs your help to fight for laws against animal cruelty. Then add the Orange for ASPCA Facebook application to adopt virtual dogs and cats, send them to your friends, and raise awareness about the cause.
Clean out your closet and donate your old prom dresses, gently used business attire, and those shoes you never quite broke in. Find out where to send your dresses (www.donatemydress.org), your business attire (www.dressforsuccess.org), and your shoes (www.soles4souls.org) online.
Feeling crafty? Why not make a blanket for a sick child? If stitching isn’t your thing, check out Project Linus’s No Sew Fleece Blanket pattern. Download it at www.projectlinus.org and get info on how to donate your finished product.
Use your lunch hour for good—join Everybody Wins’ Power Lunch literacy program and travel to a nearby elementary school once a week to read one-on-one with a child in need of help. Find a local affiliate or learn how to get your company or organization involved at www.everybodywins.org.
Volunteer at the next election. Contact your local government and ask about how you can assist at the polls. If the election date doesn’t work with your schedule, help beforehand with voter registration or campaign in your community.
Find out how your community is working to get policemen, firefighters, military personnel, and emergency rescuers the homes they deserve. Contact Homes for Heroes to get involved with fundraising or lawn and garden work: www.homesforheroesfoundation.org.
Sign up to volunteer at a concert and help enlist supporters for Oxfam International. You’ll catch hot artists like Coldplay, Wilco, and Arcade Fire while helping to raise funds to fight poverty and other global injustices. Find out more at www.oxfamamerica.org.