by Kate Lewton, 2021/22 Healthy Lamoille Valley High School Intern
Have you ever wondered what resources exist in your community? Maybe you want to help plan fun events for you and your friends? Or maybe you want to find community service opportunities during the summer? Well good news, in this article, you will learn how to get involved in meaningful opportunities in your community!
If you want to do more, take a chance! Community organizations and people are always excited to have more help and will usually welcome it! Check out the list on Healthy Lamoille Valley’s youth resources webpage to see all the different community organizations, clubs and committees that exist in Lamoille Valley. Fill out a volunteer application or send the organization an email letting them know you’d like to be involved. You are not limited to formal volunteer opportunities! Though it is great to get involved in already established organizations, you can always start a fundraiser, run an online game night, or do acts of kindness. Volunteering is a great way to give back to your home and community, and comes in many forms.
There is no one way to get involved, as leadership can look different for everyone. A good rule of thumb is to think about what you want to accomplish and how you will get there. For instance, if you are passionate about animals, you can get involved with a local animal shelter, like North Country Animal League (NCAL) and run a pet food fundraiser. First, research what already exists in your area. You can search for non-profits in your town or county and see what comes up. Once you have found an organization, review their volunteering protocol, then email or fill out whatever online application exists. If the organization does not offer volunteering, you can always host or do a project (bake sale, car wash, silent auction, etc.) to benefit the organization. Promote your project through social media, your school community, Front Porch Forum, by putting up posters in town, or see if other local organizations can promote it through their newsletters or websites. There is strength in numbers, so getting the support of others will help a lot. Every impact counts, no matter the size or funds of a volunteer effort.
In addition to getting involved with local organizations and clubs, you can also create your own opportunities. For example, if you are a student, you could create your own leadership in or outside of school. In school, you can start a club or leadership project. The club can work towards an effort you are passionate about, or be a fundraiser for school events. Outside of school, you may notice something your community lacks, like a food pantry. With the help of others, you could create a community box for non-perishable goods that are taken as needed. Teachers, coaches, parents, community members, and organizations are great resources to help get you started with these projects. Reach out to one or more of these resources and let them know your ideas and how you’d like their support.
To see what local organizations, clubs, and committees are in your town, visit: www.healthylamoillevalley.org/youthresources#opportunities