So youve moved to Columbus and youre looking for something to do with all your spare time. Heres an easy solution: Volunteer.
After arriving in Columbus in February 2008, I searched for different ways to give back to the community. Then another local volunteer program offered me the opportunity to join Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Chattahoochee Valley.
Founded in 1904, the nonprofit helps children between the ages of 6-18 reach their full potential through professional one-on-one mentorship, targeting children living in single-family homes, poverty or coping with an incarcerated parent.
The organization is unique because it offers adults a chance to give back by donating their time -- not money. All you have to do is spend at least four hours with the child each month.
Sounds simple, right? So why was I so nervous at first?
My expectations for the match were all over the place before I met my Little, forcing me to have mixed emotions. But right as I walked into the door in December 2009 to have my first official meeting with my Little, I took one deep breath and the fears were thrown out the window.
Ive been mentoring Rawlanda Hercules, a sixth-grader at Richards Middle School, for a year and a half now and wouldnt rather be doing anything else with my spare time. I often find myself at her plays, school competitions and other events, all in an effort to support my Little. We also catch movies, go shopping and have even attended a Hawks game.
I enjoy spending time with Rawlanda because I know my small acts of kindness are making a big difference in her life.
Other ways to volunteer
Big Brothers Big Sisters is one of many organizations around the Chattahoochee Valley that is looking for volunteers. Considering youre new to the area, its a great way to network while also giving back.
Here are a few examples:
Become a coach: Use your skills to help someone else become a great softball, football or basketball player. There are many leagues around the area that will help you achieve this goal.
Help out around your church: Whether youre teaching Bible study or assisting with a fundraiser, every act counts.
Join an organization or an alumni association: Is there something that catches your interest? Many national organizations have local chapters that require volunteering. Just check out the groups national website and find a link to the local chapter.
Become a tutor: Community centers offer after-school programs where you can tutor children, offer arts and crafts instructions and teach computer classes.
Give someone else motivation: There are helplines and hospices always looking for volunteers. Some even offer free training.
Holiday assistance: There are many things to do around the Chattahoochee Valley during holidays such as feeding the homeless, participating in an Easter basket giveaways, assisting in back-to-school fundraisers and holiday help programs.
Whether you become a Little League coach or tutor, remember it doesnt take much to become a great volunteer -- just your time. Im fulfilling my dream of volunteering. Now how will you give back?