It’s December 5th! “So what? It’s just another Monday you may be thinking to yourself.” Think again! December 5th is International Volunteer Day! What is this International Volunteer Day and why does it even matter, every day should be a volunteer day!
December 5th is different from any other day that you volunteer because it allows volunteer organizations and individual volunteers to make their contributions visible through the Millennium Development Goals.
Are you still not convinced that this Monday is different from any other Monday? The aim of this day is to promote the importance of volunteering and to engage as many volunteers as possible to respond to key volunteering issues. Thanks to the United Nations Volunteers this day is made possible! The United Nations Volunteers have made this day possible through discussion-point videos, a photo competition, and social media. They hope to collect pictures of volunteers all across the world to be featured on their website as a way to show the world lighted up with volunteers!
Have you been convinced yet this day is important? Do you want your picture to be featured in the United Nations Volunteer mosaic? Here are some ideas that can really help your community and get your participation started in this wonderful campaign!
- Make gifts for kids in the hospital to help the holidays feel more like home
- Set up a buddy system for kids with special needs at your local school
- Volunteer at a Special Olympics event
- Get your classroom to put together a library at your local school
- Prepare sack lunches and deliver to homeless or homebound individuals
- Recognize veterans in your community
- Decorate a Christmas tree at a nursing home, hospital, school, or homeless shelter
- Mow your neighbor’s lawn
- Offer babysit your siblings so that your parents can go out
- Read a book to a younger sibling, blind person, or an older neighbor
- Celebrate a birthday by getting friends to donate food items for your favorite cause instead of giving gifts
- Make get well cards for people in the hospital
- Collect old magazines and donate them to day care centers
- Conduct a clothing repair or sewing workshop for those in need
- Collect unused makeup, perfume, or other cosmetics for a women’s shelter
- Donate old eyeglasses to an organization or place that recycles them for those in need
- Collect old stuffed animals and toys for needy children
- Organize a babysitting service for foster families
- Collect old clothes and donate them for a dress-up area at a daycare center
- Plant a garden or tree in your neighborhood
- Collect old phone books in your neighborhood for recycling
- Ride your bike instead of your car
- Buy products made of recycled materials
- Adopt an acre of the rainforest
- Collect aluminum cans and donate the money to your favorite charity
- Make bird feeders for your local park
- Clean up trash along a riverbank or park
- Form a study group to help younger children with their schoolwork
- Visit a nursing home
- Rake leaves, shovel snow, clean gutters, or wash windows for an elderly neighbor
- Pick up medicine for an elderly person
- Start a compost pile for your home
- Teach a senior citizen how to use the computer and the internet
- Make simple reading and math flash cards for a preschool or daycare
- Become an animal foster parent
- Donate dog or cat food to your local shelter
- Make care packages with mittens, coats, socks, and hats for homeless shelters
- Hand out food at a food bank
- Clip coupons and give them at your local bank or homeless shelter
- Volunteer to clean the cages at a local animal shelter
- Bake cookies and donate them to your local soup kitchen.
Every act of kindness is a way of volunteering your time to bettering your community; from big to small it is important to share your time and talent with others. International Volunteer Day is the perfect day to start your acts of kindness. Be a part of the volunteering mosaic and show others how you make your community better.
You can continue these projects with the 2012 Martin Luther King Day of Service where community members come together to discuss the issues that affect their lives on a daily basis, Volunteering should not only be single even but rather a lifetime of service events. In the words of Martin Luther King, “All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.”
Celebrate this year’s International Volunteer Day and help your community and its citizens through your favorite act of service!
UPDATE: Check out this awesome video from the United Nations about International Volunteer Day.