A new year is the time to not only think about your goals and plans for the next 12 months, but also how you can help change the lives of those in your community.
Those who volunteer experience greater health benefits than those who receive support from the volunteers
Volunteering fosters positive relationships and reduces stress
States where residents volunteer more often are likely to have lower mortality rates and less incidence of heart disease.
Whether you’re looking to get more connected with your neighbors or give back to local organizations, here are 5 tips to get you started:
1. Determine which causes matter most. Do you prefer getting your hands dirty doing manual labor or helping four-legged friends in need? Maybe donating at a local humane society or animal shelter is for you. You could also take a (non-scientific) volunteer personality quiz to help you figure out which causes and tasks you are best suited for. Idealist and HandsOn are just a few organizations that make it simple to find local volunteer opportunities, either on a one-time or ongoing basis.
2. Ease into it. It’s easy to get caught up in the warm fuzzy feeling of doing good, so be sure not to overextend yourself by committing to too many things right off the bat. The idea of giving back is to help others while enjoying what you do. If you overcommit, you may start to resent the organization you were originally so excited to support.
3. Use your job skills. Many organizations have the volunteers they need for more manual tasks, but need lots of help in the areas of marketing, promotions and other specialized areas. Could the skills you use in your job daily help generate donations, increase awareness or some other big goal?
4. Look in your own backyard. You’d be surprised at the level of involvement going on right where you live. The historic Springfield area of Jacksonville has a preservation council that organizes and promotes a range of events -- from home tours and neighborhood cleanups to PorchFest, a new community music festival. Master-planned communities like Nocatee also have involvement built in through a wide range of classes, interest groups, running clubs. Helping Hands of Nocatee, a resident-led group that helps/serves the Ponte Vedra, St. Johns County community, is a great example of an active interest group!
Many residents support K9s for Warriors by making dinner for those warriors that are staying at the Camp K9 training facility at Nocatee.
5. Multitask. Take feeling and doing good to a different level with apps like Charity Miles. Your favorite nonprofit can earn cash while you log miles biking, walking or jogging. Even Amazon is getting in giving back with AmazonSmile. Simply designate your favorite charity and 0.5 percent of sales from your eligible purchases will go to that charity every time you use the online retailer through the AmazonSmile portal.
For more information about new homes in Nocatee, explore nocatee.com, stop by the Nocatee Welcome Center or call 1-800-NOCATEE.