1. Turn a kid into a crime-fighting superhero.
Bam! Biff! Pow! What better way to teach a youngster about self-empowerment and creativity than strapping on a cape and mask? The Brooklyn Superhero Supply Co. is a powerhouse of a playhouse on its own, but it also doubles as a secret lair for 826, home to some of the most inspiring workshops and classrooms around. Volunteers are always welcome — and actively encouraged — to swing by after work and spend some time with a few pint-sized crimefighters.
2. Bring a private concert to those in need.
Whether you’re a master of the six-string, a pop-punk prodigy, or a life-long roadie, Musicians On Call lets you bring the healing power of good tunes to healthcare facilities across the country. Rock on.
3. Become a part-time big sibling.
There are few things more inspiring than an active big sibling, and Big Brothers Big Sisters lets you play an influential role in the life of a child facing adversity. Volunteers create unbreakable bonds with their little brothers and sisters, and have the good fortune of watching them grow — even if it’s just for a handful of hours each week.
4. Contribute to a community garden.
It goes without saying that there’s a hunger crisis across the globe that’s affecting millions of families each year. The good news? You can do something about it. Planting a community garden is a great opportunity to give back to your neighborhood and contribute fresh, home-grown food to those who need it.
5. Shave your head to support sick children.
Let’s be honest: you’re hair’s been lookin’ a little shaggy, anyway. The St. Baldrick’s Foundation holds numerous events each year, where droves of volunteers — that means more than 230,000 shavees — have shaved their scalp in solidarity with brave children fighting cancer.
6. Teach young writers to tap into their creative talents.
There’s little more creatively liberating than a pen, a pad, and a spark of imagination. There are countless creative writing programs across the country created with the intention of nourishing children’s innate creativity, and offering them an outlet that they might not otherwise discover on their own. Whether it’s journaling for an hour or two or brainstorming spooky stories, just think: there’s a kid somewhere who could really use a creative kickstart.
7. Walk dogs at a shelter.
So here’s the thing: you’re browsing BuzzFeed, so there’s a pretty good chance you’re a fan of sweet, slobbery pooches. What better way to de-stress from a hectic workday than to drop by your local shelter, grab a leash, and help a pup stretch its legs? You get the serenity of a happy mutt bouncing at your heels, and the pooch gets exercise it otherwise wouldn’t. Talk about win-win.
8. Become a puppy cuddler.
You know what’s even better than walking pups? Snuggling with ‘em. Assistance dogs need to be socialized with from a young age, and select assistance dog programs are seeking volunteers to help get their little bundles of fur acclimated to human interaction. Which means, yes, endless snuggles.
9. Or a baby cuddler.
Hey, human babies need love too! Newborn babies have a lot to get used to, so it’s understood that they might be a little emotional from time to time. Trained cuddlers are on-call for a couple hours each week to cuddle and comfort the little critters when they most need it.
10. Help out a student with a place to stay.
If there’s one things students shouldn’t have to worry about, it’s keeping a roof over their head. If you’ve got a room to spare, why not think about offering it through a program that helps high school or college kids who needs a place to stay? Who knows — you could end up lodging with the best I-took-out-the-trash-and-did-the-dishes-too roommate you never knew you wanted.
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