Volunteering, and Not Just for Your Résumé

February 2, 2017

In a time of global unrest, many are searching for ways they can help out the causes they believe should be upheld. However, most cannot upend their lives to find a job in a new field. For those, volunteering (as well as donating) is a viable way to make a significant impact on communities, states, countries, and sometimes, the world. Not only does volunteer work look good on a résumé, it also effects positive change in the communities served. Here are six organizations that need volunteers right now. 

Domestic

Salvation Army: Operating out of 7,546 communities in the U.S., this organization truly epitomizes its slogan, “Doing the most good.” From adult rehabilitation, prison ministries, missing persons services, hunger relief, and housing, the Salvation Army has undertaken the challenge of helping the masses of underprivileged people in America. Thanks to donations and volunteers, the organization has been able to help over 30 million people in the U.S. just in the last year alone. Each volunteer can choose an area of focus and select the number of hours they can commit to volunteer work. In addition to serving in the U.S., the Salvation Army also has an international presence and helps with disaster relief. 

Planned Parenthood: As the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care provider, educator, and advocate, Planned Parenthood serves millions of women, men, teens, and families in the United States and abroad. Volunteers are constantly needed, from clinic escorts to community outreach volunteers. 

Humans Rights Watch: The international human rights organization does not accept government funding in order to maintain its independence; it thrives solely on donations and volunteers. Human Rights Watch exposes human rights abuses like torture, violence against women, and child exploitation throughout the world and is looking for volunteers and interns constantly. 

Abroad:

UNV: The United Nations is probably one of the most noteworthy international organizations in the world, founded over 70 years ago. The United Nations Volunteer Programme directly mobilizes up to 8,000 volunteers every year, 80 percent of whom are from developing nations themselves. Every year, over 10,000 people volunteer over the Internet through the UNV Online Volunteering service, created for those who cannot go abroad. The UNV offers both domestic and international volunteer opportunities. In addition, the UNV has been partnering with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, bringing volunteers to support and protect refugees and internally displaced people throughout the world. Volunteers work on everything from distributing food at refugee camps to helping support the determination of refugee statuses and registrations. In a time when we have hit a global all-time high of people displaced due to war, there has never been a better time to volunteer and aid those in need.

WWOOF: The sustainable food movement is supported in a large part by WWOOFing, a worldwide movement that links volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchange. With farms located in over 120 countries, WWOOF has enabled thousands to volunteer in aiding farmers to grow fresh produce for local communities. The program allows volunteers to grasp the depth and importance of a sustainable food culture and teaches them different ways to cultivate food, all in exchange for their help with growing and farming.

Peace Corps:  The grassroots organization boasts some 220,000 alumni who have volunteered around the world in agriculture, education, health, community economic development, environment, and youth development. There are several volunteer options to choose from, including a full two-year program with three months of training, a three to 12-month program for experienced professionals or returning volunteers, and one-year programs for physicians and nurses. With a volunteer recommendation rate of over 90 percent, the Peace Corps has been heralded as a trailblazing organization that works in communities for prolonged periods of time, pairing volunteers with local community leaders to tackle the most pressing challenges. 

by Kristina Rudic

Chicago City Hall
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