It is very common for young people to feel like they cannot make a difference in the world. There are always too many problems to solve and not enough time to do everything.
Although it may be unrealistic that you will be the next Mother Teresa or Gandhi, there are always small ways you can shake the world. Getting involved in a service project you are passionate about will not only affect those you are helping, but can also change you in unimaginable ways.
No matter where you live, there are always organizations and people who are looking for someone to lend a hand. It is very understandable that you may not be comfortable working with all groups of people in need, but there are many different opportunities.
To start your search for volunteer opportunities, you may want to go to your school administration or your guidance counselor. They are often able to link you to local organizations looking for volunteers or to programs inside your school district.
Many towns and parishes run food pantries and soup kitchens that need people to help. Even by simply giving an hour of your time to organize the donated food at a pantry, you can make an impact on someone’s life. In addition, many have community gardens, hoping that people will come help and get their hands dirty.
There are also many websites that can connect you with opportunities in your area. For example, check out: www.volunteermatch.org. By inputting your town and your interests, you will be “matched” with an organization in need. Websites like this make finding a place to help even easier!
However, there are numerous opportunities to help others in your life every day. Whether it is checking up on an elderly neighbor or talking to someone through a tough time, your time can always be used in a way that benefits others.
As someone who has worked on many different service projects, I have been able to learn a lot from the people I have served.
For example, I have participated in a project that brings food and clothing to the homeless population of New York City. Although we were supposed to be helping them, the homeless people taught me many valuable lessons. The selflessness they displayed and their gratitude has changed the way I view my own life. By watching people with so little still have the strength to keep going, I gained a new motivation.
Now, I hope you go out and get involved in your community. Look for opportunities to help wherever you are, and I promise you will feel like your life has changed as much as the lives of those you have helped.