We all count down the days until we are finally on holiday. It’s the point in our year that we most look forward to, especially escaping our mundane routines. I know personally I love engaging with new communities when I’m abroad and even getting involved in activities that will benefit the location I’m in with various volunteer jobs. Then it hit me, when did this thought ever cross my mind at home and why am I so quick to jump in and volunteer with international communities, but barely believe I have the time for my own?
I’ve now decided to embark on an initiative I’m calling ‘Giving is Good’ in my own hometown with my free time, as building a loving and supportive community always starts with one idea. The best thing is that so many others have already come up with the ideas, we just have to join them to help out! If you’re interested in options yourself, there are endless places you can lend a helping hand or give back to in some shape or form, but here are a few interactive and rewarding ideas I thought I’d share. You never know, maybe having a purpose, such as giving back to your community will make you look forward to your weekend a whole lot more, not just your next holiday!
Volunteer At A Pet Shelter
If you follow my Instagram you will know that my dog is the love of my life, my cat too when she’s not being a brat. I love them like Kanye love Kanye. The problem is that there are so many animals out there who haven’t got someone to adopt and care for them in this way. If you’re into puppy pats and kitten cuddles then volunteering at an animal shelter is an amazing way to make your mark in a small, but monumental way. Shelters always need a rotating roster of staff that can volunteer their time to not only providing love to the animals, but cleaning our their kennels, feeding them and taking them on walks if necessary. The happier and active the animal, the more likely they’ll be adopted!
I’ve signed up to start volunteering with my local animal shelter as they are open for people to come as often and for as long as they like, so you aren’t stuck to a specific routine if you have a rotating work roster like I do. If you’re keen to get involved then get in touch with your local council or Google shelters in your area and give them a ring. It’ll be your first step to rehoming a beautiful fur baby!
(Image: The Creative Fringe)
Knitting For The Homeless
Now my whole stick is being the #StylishGlobetrotter. I didn’t get that fancy degree in fashion and styling, then work my butt off in London for nothing and my love for the fashion world had to start somewhere. That somewhere was cross stitching and long stitching as a kid, which lead to textiles in high school, which then set me up for a life of design both through study and work. Now I am happiest when I can use my hands to make something special. My Mum feels the same way when she is knitting and has told me about a wonderful initiative by The Creative Fringe to knit squares for the homeless. So… now I’m learning to knit!
The basic of this initiative is to knit 20cm x 20cm squares and donate these to The Creative Fringe where the squares will be knitted together to make lovely patch work blankets for the homeless to use in winter. Fucking fantastic idea, right? If you can knit, get those needles clacking together real quick as they need to be receive by June 30th! Even if you can’t knit and want to get involved they offer workshops, so jump on their websites and book yourself in the event ASAP!
Don’t though fret if your fingers aren’t magically gifted for the creative world, they can still pick up a ladle. If you’re great at holding a conversation of the human variety, why not volunteer with the homeless or disadvantaged in another way such as setting up a food drive or spending some time giving out warm food at your local shelter.
(Image: The Pajama Foundation)
Reading Aid For Disadvantaged Kids
Do you know how many kids struggle to read, not just due to a learning disability, but because they weren’t given the opportunity to learn within an unstable household? I’m going to tell you a story, story about a girl named Lucky. Early Morning, she wakes up… Just kidding, but I always wanted to use that line.
When I was a senior in high school we offered a program to help juniors with learning disabilities, or lacking a strong capability of reading and writing by spending 30mins every morning with our paired junior. We would select different books to read each week based on their literacy level. I of course was matched with the dubbed ‘naughty boy’ of the year 7 grade and you can be certain after his first term with me he straightened himself out and became the best little reader because he was given a chance. I stuck up for him when teachers (yes teachers) called him stupid and a waste of space. It was through his own determination that he found not only that he could do anything he put his mind to, but also a love of reading.
That may seem like a waffling story, but to offer a child nothing but your time and patience, means the world to them. You have no idea the difference it can make to their lives and confidence. There are so many amazing places offering this kind of help and accepting volunteers not only at a children’s level, but for adults as well. We are a multicultural society and if you want to help someone better understand the English language then by all means get involved. When you see the light bulb click in your students eye it’ll give you the warm and fuzzies of a job well done!
A community I recently discovered is the Pajama Angels. There are a lot of processes to go through with this foundation but they take their role seriously in the community. You can be a Pajama Angel in Queensland, NSW and Victoria and the basics of this program is to work with children in foster care to assist them with their reading and become a buddy they can rely on. You have to be able to commit to a set time each week for a minimum of 6 months, but preferably 12 months is better as you are dealing with children that require stability in their lives.
This is such a beautiful foundation, but if you can’t commit to the time, but like the idea, again look to your local council for reading and writing assistance groups where you can become involved and maybe change the life of a little one.
Clean Up The Community
We are seeing that rubbish is becoming an issue and can effect our wildlife drastically. It is estimated that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. That is a bloody terrible statistic, so what can we do to make a difference? Well Clean Up Australia have made themselves the biggest environmental event for Australia since 1990 and are still going strong, but you don’t just have to volunteer one day a year.
For starters recycling our rubbish, as well as not purchasing items that aren’t bio degradable, including using plastic bags will begin to decrease the human impact, but also joining this group or other community based clean up crews will help reduce the damage already caused. Depending on where you live there will be weekly walks of the bush or the beach to remove the rubbish thoughtfully left behind. The best thing is that you’re not picking up trash in your area because you did a crime, but because you want to.
Maybe the outfits aren’t glamorous, but the people you meet are quality and really care about changing our environment for the good. After all, we want there to be a liveable world for our next generation, but that can only happen if change starts with us.
I guess the main thing to take from this is don’t use a perceived lack of time or laziness as an excuse, if we can get involved on an international scale, what is stopping us from helping out our neighbours? If one person changes the life of another and then that person changes the life of another, think how far the chain reaction will go!
♥ Love from Leah