Tis the season of giving. Fortunately, millennials are already defined as a generation that is eager to give back and make a positive difference in the world. This holiday season, there are many ways you can give back if you’re in the DC metro area. Volunteering not only helps those in need, but also can help you in your own professional development.
According to Monster.com, volunteering can help advance you towards your dream job in a number of ways. If the cause of giving alone wasn’t enough, volunteering can help you develop new skills (like project management and fundraising), meet new networking contacts, fill employment gaps by adding experience, and demonstrate serious commitment to potential employers.
So in between the great food, family time, and endless amount of presents, find time this holiday break to give to a good cause. Here are some immediate upcoming volunteer opportunities:
- The Holiday Project: This organization arranges visits to people in nursing homes and hospitals throughout DC, Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. Volunteers provide attention, conversation, and companionship during the holiday season.
- Capital Area Food Bank: Sign up and help with a number of holiday giving projects. Capital Area Food Bank is the largest, public nonprofit hunger and nutrition education resource in the region. There are a number of days available for volunteers to donate their time and help distribute food throughout communities.
- Toys for Tots: You can make all the difference for a child in need. The Toys for Tots- Washington DC Program provides toys to brighten the holiday season for children in low-income families. Any individual, business, or organization can hold a toy collection drive. Additionally, volunteers and coordinators can help distribute collection bins, posters, window stickers, and other promotional materials.
- Food & Friends: This organization provides meals to support men, women, and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-changing illnesses. Volunteers are needed to help in the kitchen to prepare food as well as make deliveries.
Want to do more for your community? VolunteerMatch.org is dedicated to bringing good people and good causes together. It’s a great way to find the perfect volunteer opportunity that fits your skills and causes of interest. Here are some short-term and long-term opportunities from their site, courtesy of Mariah Bastin from GovLoop:
- Washington DC Jewish Community Center- Morris Cafritz Center for Community Service: December 25th is a Day of Service! Come help out your DC community by committing roughly 2-4 hours on one of 55 projects at homeless shelters, hospitals, senior centers, and more.
- Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Inc.: Stop food waste and feed the hungry in Washington DC at 2:30PM on any day of the week. This opportunity is open throughout the holidays and throughout the year. Volunteers are needed to take boxes, tins, and bags of excess food to nearest homeless shelter and/or soup kitchen.
- Arlington Neighborhood Villages: Do you enjoy interacting with older adults in the community? Help out during the holidays and throughout the year with various daily tasks from providing transportation, assisting with light home repairs, and checking in with a daily phone call.
- VITAS Paw Pals: If you have a pet and you want to share some paw love, this is the volunteer opportunity for you. VITAS invites you and your pet to become Paw Pals and visit hospice patients. Pets provide friendship and unconditional love and will bring much joy to patients who enjoy animals or had to give up their own companions.
- Ethiopian Community Development Council: Help Tutor Refugee Kids in the DC Area with the Ethiopian Community Development Council January 12th to June 09th, 2016. This would be for middle school children on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the afternoon or high school students on Wednesday afternoons. Topics can range from anything like English, Math, Social Studies and Science to SAT prep.
Give as much as you can and have a wonderful holiday break! First 5 will be back on January 7th, so check in after the New Year for our 2016 millennial blogs!
For more reading about millennials in public service, check out this weekly GovLoop series, First 5: Advice from millennial to millennial