I didn't realize it at the time, but doing this would allow me to to socialize, something I had lost when I started working from home. But there weren't just benefits in it for me; advantages abound when a person volunteers for at least three beneficiaries: the volunteer, the organization, and whomever the organization wants to help. This might mean working at a food pantry or meal program downtown--such as God's Kitchen, Mel Trotter, Westminster Pantry--or finding a foundation with goals that fit your personality. Here are some organizations that I enjoy:
Community Media Center
The Community Media Center has been in operation for more than 25 years. According to the group, it has "acquired and maintained technology, tools, media services and venues to benefit the Grand Rapids community." This organization is in charge of the Rapidian, a news outlet described as "very local" because it is a citizen-contributed new source. CMC also runs Wealthy Theatre, a venue used for many things including films, concerts, and community meetings. Volunteers can help run concessions; become a programmer for CMC's radio station, 88.1 FM WYCE; contribute to the community television station, GRTV; the list goes on and on. If you want to get in touch with this organization, head to www.grcmc.org.
If media and technology do not interest you, maybe spending some of your extra time at Well House will. This organization "provides safe, affordable housing to the homeless." Unlike other shelters though, this facility does not use a blanket approach for all people who reside under its roof. Each person is treated as an individual with different issues than any one other person. By recognizing this, Well House has given many of the residents a better chance at recovering and reintegrating with the community. Volunteers can help renovate the house, work in the art studio, or assist with the urban farm. I can't end this description without commenting on how stylish this organization's website looks: It's really crisp and simple. Be sure to check it out at www.wellhousegr.org.
Creative Youth Center
|The many communities of Grand Rapids that could use your |
help. (Image courtesy of the Community Research Institute)
So, if you have more time on your hands than you know what to do with, consider reaching out to one of these organizations. If none of these groups interest you, why not work for your neighborhood association and help make your region of the city a better place to live? Use this website to figure out the contact information for your local association.