Types of Volunteer Opportunities

by Shelley Gray
Senior citizens in your community may require assistance with day-to-day tasks.

Senior citizens in your community may require assistance with day-to-day tasks.

Volunteer work can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience that can give a sense of purpose to your life. Many organizations require volunteer services; however, it can be difficult to choose the right volunteer opportunity for yourself. Before choosing an organization or a position, Volunteer Work Latin America recommends considering your interests, strengths, weaknesses and personal goals. Once you have established what you are interested in, you can begin looking into the wealth of volunteer opportunities that are available.

Schools

Schools readily look for volunteers in a variety of areas. If you are interested in working directly with children, inquire about volunteering to have young students read to you, working in a classroom for one day per week or helping out with "fun days" and other school events. If you would like to volunteer in a school but not directly with children, you may be able to help out with office tasks or be involved with a parent advisory council. Additionally, if you have a special talent such as playing the guitar or telling stories, a school may be interested in having you visit for special occasions and holidays.

Hospital/Care Home

If you have a caring disposition and genuinely love to help people, a hospital or care home can be a rewarding place to volunteer. Volunteers generally are placed in a position that fits their interests and abilities, ranging from general office duties to assisting staff. Often the primary job that volunteers do in hospitals and care homes is to provide comfort and support to the patients and residents.

Community Programs and Development

Communities often rely on volunteers for programs and events. Volunteering in your community is a great way to meet new people and ensure that programs continue to occur year after year. There are generally a variety of boards that require volunteers such as fair boards for community fairs or festivals, or a community hall board for events taking place in the community hall. Additionally, communities often require volunteers for fundraisers and visitor centers.

Environmental Education

If you are passionate and knowledgeable about the environment, there are a variety of volunteer opportunities available to you. Inquire about speaking to students at a school on an environmental topic such as composting. A teacher will generally be happy to invite an "expert" into her classroom to speak about curriculum-related topics. Environmental volunteers can also inquire with the community about planting trees or installing recycle bins around town. Youth groups may also be interested in teaming with you to teach children about environmental awareness.

Opportunities Abroad

Volunteer opportunities exist around the world for those who enjoy traveling and helping those in need. Organizations that recruit volunteers to travel to another country or continent typically look for people who are interested in helping in an area such as English-language learning, providing health care or constructing schools, clinics and homes.

About the Author

Shelley Gray has been writing since 2005, with work appearing in the "Interlake Spectator" newspaper and "Manitoba Reading Association Journal." She has been an early years teacher since 2005 and is passionate about education and educational pedagogy. Gray has a Bachelor of Arts in history and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada.

Photo Credits

  • Andrew Bret Wallis/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images