Fununteer: Is that a thing?

19 Feb

Think about volunteering and giving back to the community. What do you picture? Maybe a hot Tucson day picking out weeds at a local park or cleansing the streets of Tucson from the littering habits of careless individuals. Yes, these are very common volunteer options, but what if these ‘typical’ volunteer activities weren’t the only way? What if there were fun ways to volunteer? Call me crazy, but having fun while still giving back to the community doesn’t sound like a bad thing at all!

So what are some of these magic ways to volunteer? Well, they’re endless – but here’s  a few ideas to get you started.

1. Hospitals

Volunteering at hospitals can be a fun experience! If you’re into the healthcare scene, this is a great opportunity for you to get hands-on experience with all the intricacies of hospital settings. Maybe the hospital system isn’t what you’re into and you’re looking for more interactive volunteering. This is still a great environment for that too! Some volunteering may include direct interaction with the patients. Whether you chat it up with patients, read to them, or put on a program for their entertainment, you can still have those meaningful interactions in a hospital! If you want more information from a local hospital check out: Diamond Children’s or The University of Arizona Medical Center as both are conveniently located close to campus. 

2. Animal Shelters

So maybe people aren’t your number one choice for species. How about animals? Animal shelters are great places to volunteer if you’re an animal lover! This opportunity might involve a bit more preparation than other volunteering since you might undergo some training, but at the end of the day you could catch the attention of the cutest pup at the shelter! I don’t know about you, but playing with the animals sounds way better than cleaning streets! Keep in mind you’ll likely also help out with cleaning kennels, so trash might sound better after all…

Check out the Humane Society of Southern Arizona or Pima Animal Care Center for more information about volunteering.

3. Community Gardens

Let’s say by this point you discover a moving, breathing thing might not be your cup of tea. Maybe something less active to interact with is for you… how about plants? Tucson has a few community gardens which allow you to plant and care for your very own plants. This is a great way not only to lead a more  sustainable and green-friendly life, but you can actually donate the food you grow to community food banks or other organizations that give back to those in need. The UA actually has its own community garden around campus and the city of Tucson provides many opportunities for community gardening.

4. Working with Children

When looking for real fun look no further than the experts in fun: KIDS! What better volunteer work than playing and interacting with little ones? Tucson has a multitude of programs and organizations that are looking for volunteers to help out with children! From Casa de los Niños to Big Brothers Big Sisters, volunteering with children is a fun learning experience that allows you to build interpersonal skills, expand your creativity levels, and let your imagination run wild and free as a kid’s!

The number of volunteer opportunities that aren’t your typical clean-up style options are endless! The beauty about volunteering is that there are so many ways you can make a difference in someone’s life. As with most things, it’s about having an open mind and seeking those opportunities! Here are some good websites to check out to find volunteer options: VolunteerUA or VolunteerMatch.

Happy volunteering!

– Lucero

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