People often associate “giving back” with collecting donations, volunteering time at shelters or organizing on the ground with underprivileged communities, all of which are important. But there are many unconventional ways to enrich lives and make an impact, both big and small. Check out these five out-of-the-box ways you can make a difference.
Share your voice — literally.
Over 10 million people living with muteness use text-to-speech devices every day as a means of identity and expression. Unfortunately, some devices only carry a limited bank of voices, all of which sound very similar. With Vocal ID, volunteers have the opportunity to add to the variety by recording two to three hours of their own speech (using their own computers), helping voiceless individuals speak in a way that better identifies with who they are.
Put on a show.
Are you a performing musician? Offer your talents to Musicians on Call and sign up for the chance to cheer up hospital patients in select cities. By performing live, in-room shows for patients who are unable to leave their hospital beds, the organization brings an extra shot of joy into every room. If Music on Call doesn’t operate in your city, try organizing your own patient performance by getting in contact with local hospital officials today.
Throw a birthday bash for a child in need.
For young children, a birthday is often the biggest event of the year. But not all children get to enjoy the birthday fun. During 2015, more than 500,000 people — a quarter of them children — were homeless in the United States. These children, along with those experiencing unstable housing issues, often miss out on the celebrations most Americans are privileged to have. Brightening Birthdays puts them front and center, throwing parties for children and families in need, complete with cake and presents. You can support this idea by teaming up with your local youth shelters to throw a birthday bash for a child in need.
Digitize government programs.
If you have professional experience in government, technology, design, community organizing, research or data, your skills could help transform the way our public receives assistance. Organizations, such as Code for America, are dedicated to improving people’s lives by tapping into digital solutions to deliver a modern experience for government. The nonprofit has developed tech services that help legally clear past conviction records, deliver food assistance to families in need and keep people out of jail by connecting them with case managers. Find out how you can get involved here.
Show your support.
Every day, military men and women make tremendous sacrifices to keep our nation and values safe, and being geographically separated from their families for long periods of time is one of them. You can ensure their efforts aren’t forgotten by sending them cards and care packages. Through organizations such as Operation Gratitude, volunteers help supply our troops with items such as cleaning supplies, snacks and books. Lift their spirits and meet their evolving needs by getting involved today. Looking to do more? Find ways to support military families here.