So You Think You Can Volunteer? 5 Tips to Get You Started.

There are a jillion ways to volunteer and give back to the community: Tutor math and spelling to kids. Be a judge at a local competition. Organize a book drive. Coach a baseball team. Before you get started, make sure that the opportunity you're volunteering is a good match for you. Here are five tips to consider before you show up at your Y with open arms.

  1. How much experience do you have with the event or opportunity you want to volunteer for? Think about it. The more experience you have at playing--say, chess--the more likely the kid you're mentoring is going to learn how to finesse a lightning-fast check mate.
  2. What do you hope to get from your volunteer experience? We all have to have goals and the outcomes should mean something to us. Ask yourself, "What is it about my community that I want to help improve?" That might be cleaning up a park by a river that shows a lot of promise or helping some of your neighbors in your town pick up on English a little bit faster.
  3. What other organizations have you volunteered for? We're all in this together. Collaboration is key here. Is there an experience you've had with another organization that can help out with your volunteer work at the Y? How do you bring the two organizations together to do good for the community?
  4. What age groups do you prefer to work with? Some of us fawn over little toddlers. Others might have advanced math or reading skills that might benefit kids in middle school. Narrow down what age group you want to work with and make a difference!
  5. Are the Y's core values a part of who you are? Caring. Honesty. Respect. Responsibility. If these four attributes describe you, then you're going to be one amazing volunteer. Go on, get out there already!

To learn how you can be a volunteer, start by finding the Y closest to your community. And don't forget to keep us posted on all the good work you're doing. Share your what projects your volunteering for below!

Tags: youth, leader, Leaders, Leadership, social responsibility, caring, honesty, respect, responsibility, Community, tutor, mentor, organize, lead, Volunteer, volunteers, volunteerism

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