Mark 19:19 calls for you to love your neighbor as you love yourself but it can be difficult to find ways to serve the community around you. This can be especially true if you are new to an area and don’t know how to start getting involved. Thankfully, there are a variety of ways you can use your calling to help others.
You could start with smaller things, like donating extra clothes you don’t need to Goodwill. Your congregation might even have their own clothing and food drives you could help out with. Soup kitchens are always looking for volunteers to help and some are even struggling to keep their doors open. If you’re looking for other ideas, check out these top three ways to volunteer your time.
After School Programs
Every two years, The National Workforce Registry Alliance releases a data set that highlights the demographics, education, and training of the early childhood and afterschool workforce. This data outlines the need for after school workers and can provide training for someone who wants to help out. After school programs have been proven to aid child development in social, academic, and communal categories. By choosing volunteer in these programs, you can help children and young adults develop their interests and skill set. You will also learn more about what these young people need and can, in turn, find additional ways to serve them.
First Aids Workshops
Did you know there are approximately 31 million injuries that require medical attention every year in the United States? This includes minor injuries, like slips and bumps, as well as more drastic injuries like breaking a leg. Regardless of the injury, it is crucial that the patient receives medical attention as soon as possible. By learning basic first aid, such as CPR, dressing a wound, and how to keep a spine aligned, you can reduce the severity of the injury, and potentially save a life in extreme cases. Once you become certified in basic first aid, you can also become certified to teach first aid courses. You can even take this a step further by teaching the first aid after school program. Promoting a communal sense of safety and wellbeing will not only help the community stay safe, but it can also help bring people together by being able to rely on each other.
Prison Reentry Programs
Prison reentry programs help people who were recently incarcerated transition back into society, and they provide resources that can help prevent people from committing new crimes. As of July 1, 2015, more than 70 million people have criminal records indexed by the Interstate Identification Index (III). This highlights the large number of people who may be in need of a helping hand, but you may have worries about trusting these people. But don’t forget that John 8:7 reminds us not to view the sins of others as more sinful than our own, for all sin is equal in the eyes of the Lord. By helping these people reenter into society, you are showing them that they are still worthy of love and compassion even with their past mistakes.
Volunteering is a great way to practice your calling while giving back to the community. There are a variety of ways to get involved, and just as many groups of people that are need of a helping hand. From volunteering in after school programs, to helping people reenter into society, following in the footsteps of Christ has never been easier.