All people, rich or poor, young or old, black or white, have the responsibility of making the world we live in a better place. Why should you volunteer? Besides having the moral responsibility, volunteering is proven to make people happier. Harvard Business School conducted a study that showed those who give become happier and those on the receiving end elude happiness as well, which makes for an endless feedback loop. If you’re looking to join the hundreds of thousands of Americans in giving back to their community, this blog as some ideas on how you can give your time, energy, effort, and maybe some cash to the community in need.

Help your family first
Older family members are often reluctant to asking for the help they need. After all, they have been independent for longer than you’ve been alive. Simple gestures of kindness such as mowing their lawn, stopping in with coffee on a Saturday morning, or accompanying them on their trips to the grocery store can go a very long way.

Volunteer at a local school
If you have any teacher friends, you may very well know they can be overworked and stressed, especially this time of year. If you want to see change in the way our school systems operate, it’s up to you to become actively involved and make that happen. Read stories to classes in your local elementary, volunteer to chaperone a field trip, or help clean up school grounds. No effort will go unappreciated.

Yard sale for a charity
Round up a few neighbors to host a yard sale one Saturday this summer. Almost everyone home has items not being put to use and can either be sold or donated. Dedicate the proceeds made to a local charity!

Volunteer at a senior center
Many nursing homes have elderly people whose families and friends are far away, gone, or unavailable. These people long for connections outside of the center and new conversations with new friends. A quick hour or two a week can make a major difference in the lives of the residents. Who knows, you may learn something yourself about life from those who have lived the journey before you.