What Type of Volunteer are You?

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We here at AARP are constantly seeking ways to get more people to volunteer more often. Perhaps missing from our discussion is an emphasis on the different types of volunteers and the fact that opportunities abound, regardless of how much time you have, your skills, whether you like to work with people or solo, etc.
Example: Animal abuse and neglect might be the issue closest to your heart but you are reluctant to volunteer in that area because you're allergic to cats, or you think you'll have to scoop poo, or the sound of a bunch of shelter dogs barking sends you around the bend. But you could help this cause without even leaving home, perhaps by helping redesign a local shelter's Web site or recruiting donors for a silent auction at a shelter fundraiser.
Ditto for any cause you can imagine: child welfare, feeding the homeless, healthcare for war refugees... Every social cause has an excess of victims and a shortage of committed people working to improve life for those victims.
So take some time to do two things: List the three social issues that are most important to you, then make a short (and realistic) list of what you could do as a volunteer to help address them. Be creative and make sure you list things you'd ENJOY doing, at least on some level. If you sign up for work you find dreadful, you won't stick with it, no matter how much you care about the cause.
Now go to Create the Good - or reach out to local organizations in your areas of interest - and put your goodwill to work!

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Lexi Jadoff, 31, is a driven, ambitious Washington, D.C., consultant with a unique way of de-stressing. She volunteers with The Reading Connection (TRC), a nonprofit that promotes reading for at-risk families. Jadoff is among the Read-Aloud volunteers who read each week with children at shelters and affordable apartment complexes.
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