During your winter break, you can go home, hang around, watch TV and tweet all your friends. You can also opt to make good use of that free time by helping others. Whether you’ll be at home or remain on campus, there are various ways to volunteer. Some suggestions could get you away from TV’s so-called reality shows and into some real life experiences that will make you feel much better about yourself.
1. Help at a homeless shelter or in areas where homeless people can be found. Winter time is especially tough on people who live on the streets. Various volunteer tasks for you to tackle could include being part of a crew that takes food and clothing to areas of the city where the homeless live. Returning to the shelter, you could also pitch in to serve food, pass out clothing and aid in other necessary work.
2. If there are facilities of the type in your city, check on similar volunteer opportunities. For example, offer your services at a live-in shelter for battered mothers and children. There is much need for young, responsible volunteers who can play, read and relate in other ways to children. Many will have been exposed to domestic violence and other disturbing home environments, and would appreciate young persons who will give some time and affection to them.
3. Check with your local school, family church or synagogue for volunteer needs in winter social events, including children’s programs. You could conduct classes for pre-schoolers, accompany groups on trips and be useful in other ways.
4. Volunteer to help on a one-to-one basis. Whether it involves physically-challenged family members, neighbors or nursing home patients, offer your help. It could be a friendly-face visit for an hour or two or a stroll to a nearby store for a wheelchair-bound shut-in. You could also show off your baking or cooking skills by bringing some tasty samples to your new-found friends.
5. If winter means lots of snow where you’ll spend your winter break, volunteer to shovel snow. Help clean off walks and driveways for seniors, shut-ins and others who’d appreciate your help.
If you’re a college student, and have free time during winter break, there are many ways to help other people. Your volunteer efforts will not only serve an important community need, but you’ll be rewarded by an uplifting educational experience you can never get in a classroom.