Have you ever asked yourself, "What am I supposed to do about it?" Have you ever felt overwhelmed by bad news and events going on in our world? Volunteering could be a good way for you to deal with those feelings.
When you decide you are ready to volunteer, do some research. WHO is the organization looking for? Do you have the right skills and will they take people under 18 years old? WHAT does the organization do? Is it a cause you have a personal tie to or feel strongly about? WHEN are the days and hours you have to volunteer? How big of a commitment do you want to make? WHERE is the volunteer opportunity? Is it local and easily accessible? WHY do you want to help this cause?
Volunteer work is required by some high schools and religious organizations. Community service also looks good on a college resume and may even lead to scholarships.
Serving dinner to the homeless at St. Anne's or the Ogden Rescue Mission, collecting toys for Christmas with Toys For Tots, and working at the Catholic Community Services Food Bank are all great causes. Almost every weekend brings an opportunity to be part of a benefit 5K or fundraiser. But what are some of the more unique volunteering opportunities that may tap into your special interests or talents?
Most of our local community events ask for volunteers. These usually require a full-day commitment once a year and most of the jobs are outdoors. Weber County Fair, XTerra, Harvest Moon Festival, Ogden Marathon, Sundance Film Festival and Utah's Winter Games all rely on great volunteers.
Ogden Symphony Ballet Youth Guild volunteers work the events at Weber State University's Browning Center (as a bonus you get to see all of the shows). Treehouse Museum volunteers help with everyday tasks and can earn the chance to work at special events. Bonneville Shoreline Trail volunteers help maintain the trails. Peery's Egyptian Theater volunteers are the usher corps, tearing tickets and helping at shows (which you get to watch).
Vista Care Hospice volunteers simply play music for the patients (your mom makes you practice anyway). Hill Air Force Base Museum volunteers do everything from receptionist to restoration work. Golden Spike National Historic Site volunteers can work on the trains and engines or do historical research. The Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah needs volunteers to help with injured animals.
In Sandy, Splore volunteers mentor young mentally disabled people while doing outdoor activities like rock climbing. In Highland, Courage Reins Therapeutic Riding Center volunteers help disabled children ride horses. In Salt Lake City, Red Butte Garden volunteers help maintain the gardens and assist with festivals and concerts, and Living Planet Aquarium volunteers travel the state to collect water samples or make toys for the aquatic animals. The Utah Museum of Natural History needs help with summer camp and special events. Tree Utah needs volunteers to plant and water trees.
Get your favorite furry friend involved; contact Intermountain Therapy Animals to find out if you and your pet can be certified to visit patients at local nursing homes. Or get your parents and family involved, too; Chihuahua and Small Dog Rescue Inc. is looking for foster homes for rescued dogs.
Volunteering helps you meet people with similar interests and people who may be different from you -- disabled, ill, young, old. Volunteering may give you ideas for your future career and give you contacts for future jobs. Volunteering may give you a feeling of responsibility.
So if you ever find yourself asking, "What am I supposed to do about it?," try volunteering, and then you can say, "I did something about that."
Rachel Badali is a sophomore and studies in Electronic High School. You can contact her at email@example.com.SClB