Ways to Volunteer in Little Rock
Did you know more than one third of those living in poverty in Little Rock and North Little Rock are children and teens under the age of 18, while more than 15 percent are age 55 or older, and more than 10 percent are single mothers?
It’s easy for us to forget how fortunate we are in the mundane routine of daily life if we are not required to worry about how we will pay the utility bill or find food and shelter for our children. Coming face to face with these startling statistics, however, puts into focus the heartbreaking reality that many of our communities’ citizens are struggling to provide basic necessities for their families, often because of forces beyond their control.
While there are organizations who are working to help create safe spaces providing assistance for these families and individuals, many rely on donations and small grants that can only go so far, which is why volunteer efforts are an essential part of their ability to serve the community. Whether you are part of a group or organization seeking volunteer opportunities for the holiday season or you’re interested in finding ways to donate your time and skills to help others, there are an endless number of reasons to volunteer and dozens of organizations that would welcome your support.
In addition to helping make the world a better place, your time and energy spent volunteering can help you and your loved ones just as much as it can help others.
Volunteer to Increase Your Happiness
Research studies conducted over the last few years reveal spending time helping others can increase happiness and confidence, help build social skills, and contribute to a more stable and positive mental state and overall peace of mind.
Volunteer to Connect with Others and Your Community
Many people who have moved to new locations or cities discovered volunteering provides an opportunity to connect with their new community and meet other like-minded individuals who may become acquaintances or friends. Likewise, volunteering in your hometown or longtime place of residence can increase the sense of community and support you experience.
Volunteer to Stay Active
Volunteering your time and skills to help others in need is a far better way to spend your time than binging on multiple episodes of a Netflix show for the fifth time this week. Enjoy the outdoors and get some fresh air by taking a walk with an elderly neighbor or offering to take a friend’s dog for a stroll. Spend time exercising your mind by volunteering to complete tabletop puzzles or logic puzzles with individuals in nursing homes or hospice care.
Volunteer to Build Your Resume
Volunteering is a great way to increase work experience and build your resume. Many non-profit organizations welcome volunteers interested in completing necessary office work such as answering phones and filing papers or light housekeeping duties. This experience will help you make connections and also understand more about the world of nonprofits and other businesses.
Volunteer for College Credit
If you’re a high school student looking to add relevant experience and information to your college applications or a college student hoping to gain academic credit for school, volunteering is a great way to spend your free time. It helps others while allowing you to create more opportunities for you to succeed in school and in life, which in turn allows you to give back to others now and in the future.
Where to Volunteer
CareLink offers services to caregivers and elderly adults throughout Little Rock and Central Arkansas. Volunteers are active in helping provide meals for homebound seniors, providing respite care for caregivers through senior companion opportunities, and through various volunteer opportunities at local nursing homes and senior centers. Young people especially can play a role in brightening the day of an elderly individual who would love nothing more than to spend time chatting, solving puzzles, and interacting with others. While there are requirements to be a volunteer with CareLink like age, there is no requirement to join a family member or friend who volunteers with CareLink. Other volunteer opportunities include helping out at events like Cupcakes for Goodness Sake in the fall and At the Table in the spring.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity allows volunteers to help provide safe and affordable housing for underprivileged communities throughout Arkansas. From advocating for fair housing policies to providing homes for hundreds of families throughout the state and abroad, Habitat for Humanity of Central Arkansas works with volunteers to build new homes and renovate existing ones for families and individuals in need.
Little Rock Compassion Center
The Little Rock Compassion Center offers assistance for Little Rock’s homeless and disadvantaged population by providing breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week and beds for 40 women and 200 men each night. In 2017 alone, they provided 52,000 bedtimes and 183,000 meals for the homeless and displaced people of Little Rock. The Compassion Center also offers recovery and support for alcohol and drug addiction for anyone hoping to find a new beginning.
The Arkansas Arts Center
From culinary arts to performing arts, the Arkansas Arts Center partners with volunteers who provide assistance at events by fulfilling various roles, including usher, docent, support staff, host, greeter, and others. Volunteers can also sign up to work in the museum shop at the Arkansas Arts Center as a museum shop assistant throughout the year, but particularly the busy season during November and December. Volunteers can also enjoy great perks, like free tickets to local events, exhibitions, and lectures, and free museum membership and discounts in the museum shop and restaurant after meeting a minimum number of volunteer hours.
To learn more about volunteering in Arkansas, click here.
To sign up to volunteer at CareLink, fill out this form. We are always accepting volunteers for Meals on Wheels, Senior Companions and more.
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