Did you know that April is, among other things, Community Service Month? So we thought, what better way to celebrate the month of April than to find out ways to get involved in our local community? When I think of the term “volunteer opportunities,” all that comes to mind is picking up trash on the side of highways or working in a soup kitchen during Thanksgiving and Christmas – both great ways of contributing to the community, but those aren’t all-encompassing.
Did you know there are 77 opportunities to volunteer within Polk County alone? I didn’t either – at least, not until I stumbled upon www.volunteermatch.org. So what are these 77 options to volunteer? Glad you asked. Let’s talk about a few.
- Mentors for Elementary Students – This is kind of like a Big Brother/Big Sister type of relationship. According to www.mentoring.org, students who meet on a regular basis with mentors are less likely to skip school, start using drugs or start drinking.
- Homework Helpers – Mostly for elementary-age students, this is similar to tutoring, but all you do is sit down, help the students with their homework, and review concepts or terms the student may have just learned in school that hasn’t quite sunk in yet. Think what a difference it could make!
- Magicians or Karaoke Performers/Leaders for Nursing Homes – Just imagine how many smiles you could inspire by pulling a rabbit out of a hat or singing a rousing rendition of “I Will Survive.” You should probably make sure you can actually do either of those things before you apply, though. =)
- Office Assistant or Greeter Volunteer – Many times, all that’s needed to brighten someone’s day is a cheerful voice on the other side of the phone or a smile to greet you when you walk into a doctor’s office.
- Speak Up for Children – Across Florida alone in 2016, the Department of Children & Families reports that 135,728 children experienced child abuse. Many of these children need an advocate or a voice when they have none. Maybe you could be that person.
These are just a few of the ways to get involved and volunteer in our community. For more information about opportunities and who to contact, please visit https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/org13105.jsp.
And, as a tax office, we would be remiss if we didn’t address the obvious question – is community service tax deductible? Find out by reading our blog post entitled, “Community Service – Can I Deduct That?”
So what about you? Do any of these volunteer opportunities interest you? How are you getting involved this “Community Service Month”? Let us know in the comments!