Take Charge and Make a Difference

The internet and other media have truly made our world a global community. While that’s great as far as education and communication are concerned, it can also increase awareness of all the people and causes who could use our help. If you’re feeling the urge to truly make a difference in the lives of others, then this posting is for you.
There are many ways to make a difference, from writing a check to traveling across the globe to help out firsthand. Regardless of what works for you, help is appreciated and gives not only those you help but you yourself a sense of fulfillment and well-being.
Donating
The quickest, simplest way to contribute is by writing a check (or the monetary or electronic equivalent!). Money can go a long way toward helping people and organizations who need help. Just make sure you’re familiar with the organizations you’re contributing to. Not all groups are reputable, and even some reputable organizations may be questionable when it comes to the percentage of monetary donations that are applied to actually doing good. Check out www.CharityNavigator.org or www.CharityWatch.org to look up organizations you’re interested in.
In addition to monetary donations, you can also donate items that are needed — food, clothing, health and beauty aids, and more. Look for groups advertising food and clothing drives or inquire at your town’s social services department to find out how to donate. Items often go directly to those who need them, ensuring your donation is truly being put to good use.
Volunteering
When it comes to local groups and organizations, volunteering is a great way to help out, especially if you don’t have the monetary resources to finance a group or project or simply want a more hands-on way to give back. And if you have a specific skill or talent, there’s probably a group who would love to utilize it. If you’re particularly ambitious, you can even join an organization that will send you around the country and even around the world to help others with disaster relief and ongoing needs.
To find volunteer opportunities, check out www.Serve.gov to search for opportunities in your area or contact local groups and organizations to see if they could use a helping hand. Don’t forget places like nursing homes and hospitals that offer worthwhile opportunities to truly connect with other people.
Mentoring
If working with children is your forte, and you’re interested in helping at-risk kids, consider mentoring. You can coach, tutor, or just be a friend willing to lend a hand and a sympathetic ear. Check out http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org/ to look for opportunities. You can also inquire at your town’s social services department about local opportunities, such as Big Brothers, Big Sisters.
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