Original service ideas can be hard to find. We’ve come up with a list that goes beyond donating money or serving in a soup kitchen, though those are great too.
Check out our original service ideas, for every group you want to help.
- Teach English to new refugees – The English language is one of the greatest barriers for newly arrived refugees. Take time every week to help new families develop their language skills. Taking the time to talk to them will help a lot. You’ll probably make some new friends while you’re at it.
- Help teach job-related skills – If you have a skill that might be useful in the workplace, you could teach it to a newly arrived refugee. Helping them to get a job and become self-sufficient is one of the greatest services of all.
- Collect toys for children – Beyond the necessities of clothing, food, and hygiene supplies, all kids need toys. Bring over new or well-cared for toys and games and make a child’s day.
- For area-specific opportunities, check out the International Rescue Committee website.
- Walk dogs at an animal shelter – Approximately 6.5 million animals enter shelters in the US every year. You can give some the attention and exercise they need walking and playing with the dogs at your local shelter. Call your local shelter to see what help they need.
- Promote shelter pets online – Help shelter pets find new homes by promoting them on social media. They are much more likely to get adopted if people can see their cute faces and big sad eyes. It’s a fact.
- Foster pets – Many animals who end up in homeless shelters need extra care and love. Become a foster home for animals from the local shelter. You can seriously help animals who are recovering from illness and injury.
- Check out local animal shelters near you.
- Bring stuffed toys to a children’s hospital – Bring comfort to children who are sick by bringing stuffed toys to a children’s hospital.
- Read to someone who is visually impaired – Search around your community for programs to read to the visually impaired. There is nothing better than a good company and good book.
- Volunteer at a crisis line – Crisis lines stand as last resorts for teens who feel they have no one left to turn to. You can help take calls and give teenagers an outlet for feelings that might be destructive. Sometimes all teenagers want is someone to listen.
- Teach computer skills to the elderly – Pass on your innate computer skills to the elderly in your area. You can set up a program yourself, or get involved at your local library or assisted living center.
- Run errands for those stuck at home – If you have a car, you can act as a driver or run errands for someone who finds it hard to get around. They’ll be very grateful for the help or the company.
- Take a senior out to lunch – Many older folks living in centers spend almost all their time there. Give them a change of scenery and take them out to lunch or some other activity. Variety is the spice of life after all.
- Donate books to shelters – Take the books that are gathering dust in your closet to your local shelter.
- Create/Give out hygiene packs – An alternative to giving out money to the homeless is to give out hygiene kits instead. Gather the essentials into a plastic bag and keep it in your car.
- Donate supplies to a foster family – Many foster families need extra diapers and other supplies all at once. Get in touch with foster programs in your area and see what supplies are best.
- Become a court appointed social advocate – CASA are there to help ensure that children in court cases are being taken care of and supported through the proceedings. If you are 18 or older, apply with your local courthouse.
- Big brother/sister mentoring – Become a mentor to at-risk and foster children in your area. You can become friends just by being there and talking with them.
- Coach a sports team – Become a community coach and help kids in your area discover their love of sports. It’s all about the fun times you have. But nothing feels better than seeing kids grow and improve in something they love to do.
- Become a tutor – Tutoring a child who is struggling with school work makes a real difference in their lives. Look for programs in your area to help tutor in reading, math, science, and writing.
- Host an exchange student – Give an international student the experience of a lifetime and host them at your house for their stay. You can even introduce them to your favorite foods and activities. It’s always so sad to see them go, but you make such good memories together.
- Send care packages to soldiers – Compile and send out care packages to soldiers who need a bit of love. Include letters as well thanking them for all they do! Check out programs like Operation Gratitude and Give2thetroops.
- Help train service animals – There aren’t nearly enough service animals for the veterans who need them, but you can help. Apply to raise service puppies or attend group volunteer days. Check out the Freedom Service Dogs website for more info.
There are small services you can extend to everyone around you, every day. Check out these websites for more opportunities to serve in your community!