Volunteering is an investment in your career, community, and mood. By giving your time to volunteer, you’re increasing self-awareness, developing new skills, networking with a variety of people, and positively impacting the lives of others. If you’re thinking about changing your career, volunteering is a low-commitment way to test the waters. You can volunteer for just a few hours on Thursday evening or Saturday afternoon. You can make your resume more impressive by adding a “Volunteering Activities” section, which future employers will certainly find commendable. Plus, you can also create a Levo Career Card to document your volunteering experiences and share them with friends.
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Volunteering is a great way to give back to your community, and there are many opportunities available during the Fall season. Here are some ideas:
1. Support research to prevent breast cancer.
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. With this being said, you can buy “pink” products or explore volunteer opportunities with the Breast Cancer Fund to help those in need. “Volunteering with the Breast Cancer Fund offers an opportunity to make a real impact to stop this disease before it starts. We are the leading national organization working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals linked to the disease,” said Ena Do, director of marketing and communications for the Breast Cancer Fund. By clicking here, you can explore different ways to volunteer.
2. Plan a Halloween costume drive.
Wouldn’t it be great to declutter your old Halloween costumes from the crammed closets of your parents’ homes? Even better, these non-essential items are expensive and can be donated. Instead of buying new costumes every year, why not ask your neighbors with kids who have outgrown their Halloween costumes if you can borrow them? You can also look for second-hand children’s clothing at local stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army. Bring in your old, used costumes to help spread the Halloween cheer to those less fortunate.
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3. Rake leaves: get exercise and warm fuzzies.
If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with fall foliage that melts like crayons, there are leaves to be raked. You can help keep your neighborhood clean by calling your local parks department or neighborhood association to find out about community cleanup days, or if they need weekly volunteers to rake leaves. You could also make the same offer to rake for an elderly neighbor.
4. Walk for the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA).
Join NEDA this October and November at one of their many fundraisings walks across the nation. Take part by walking or volunteering as a special events staff member. NEDA also has opportunities for helpline volunteers, as well as various other opportunities that can be performed from home.
5. Lace up for the SToPP 5K Run and Walk.
The SToPP 5K Run and Walk is an event to spread the word about sexual assault awareness on college campuses. The main #SToPP5K run will take place in New York City on October 18, with additional runs at Cornell University, the University of Delaware, and the University of Rochester. You can also tweet using the hashtag #SToPP5K to show your support.
6. Teach a free SAT prep class.
Don’t let your hard work on the SATs or GRE go to waste! Spend a weekend reviewing with an SAT test prep book so you can improve your score. After that, speak to your local library or high school about potentially teaching a free SAT prep course or one-weekend program. The cost of SAT prep classes puts many high school students at a disadvantage, giving kids from wealthier families an unfair advantage in college admissions. You can level the playing field by helping high schoolers prepare before taking the test.
7. Raise consciousness during OCD Awareness Week.
October 11 to October 17 is OCD Awareness Week. “If you live in or around Boston, we are always looking for volunteers to help in the International OCD Foundation office. Our affiliates around the country also rely on help from volunteers to keep their programs going,” said Carly Bourne, director of marketing and communications for the International OCD Foundation. Click here to learn about different volunteer opportunities.
According to Bourne, Another way to help is by speaking out against the misuse of “OCD”. She said, “The term OCD has taken on a very different meaning in popular culture—see Khloe Kardashian’s KHL-O-C-D video series for an example—and it just takes a quick search of the hashtag #OCD on Twitter to see many misuses of the term.” If you don’t have OCD, make it a goal to eliminate the word as a describer from your vocabulary. Instead, you can say, “I am so particular about my closet!”
8. Volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.
If you don’t think you can handle a power tool, that’s okay (but maybe give it a try). To make volunteering more accessible to women, Habitat for Humanity created various opportunities. “Our Women Build program is a great way for women to get involved in their community and gain new skills while helping others,” said Lisa Marie Nickerson, associate director of Habitat for Humanity International’s Women Build Program. “Our female volunteers are a tremendous asset, whether they’re swinging a hammer or organizing a fundraiser. And the best part is that there’s no experience required to participate! If you would like to help out with a Women Build event this fall, contact your local Habitat affiliate to get more information on upcoming projects or visit habitat.org/wb.”