7 Ways You Can Help Your Community this Summer

7 Ways You Can Help Your Community this Summer

Making your summer to-do list? Don’t forget to add volunteering!

Volunteering is a great way to help right here in the St. Louis community by building capacity for local nonprofits and deepening their impact. And, this year, volunteering is more important than ever as nonprofits across the St. Louis region face increased demand for services and other challenges due to COVID-19.

It’s also a chance to get out of your comfort zone, gain skills that could help your career and boost your sense of purpose knowing you’re making an impact.

Here are 7 ways to help here by volunteering this summer.

1. Get crafty with DIY projects

You can let your creative side shine while helping meet critical needs in our community – all without leaving home! Our step-by-step guides will show you how to create things like cards for seniors, blankets for shelter pets and reusable tee-shirt bags.

These do-it-yourself projects can be completed anytime, anywhere. They’re a great pick for kids, families and groups to come together to make a difference in the community.

Don’t forget to take a photo of your project and tag us on social media at @UnitedWaySTL!

2. Help neighbors facing food insecurity

Did you know that food insecurity impacts nearly 1 in 5 kids in Missouri and Illinois? The summer months can be particularly challenging for families who typically rely on school meals, and COVID-19 has created additional financial strains for many. Seniors who cannot leave home or who live on fixed incomes may also struggle to access enough healthy food.

You can help by collecting food donations, sorting at a food pantry or bank, helping at food distributions and delivering meals. Find an opportunity to help fight hunger today!

3. Bring value as a skills-based volunteer

Whether you’re a number cruncher, organizing whiz or event planning extraordinaire, your unique skills can help local nonprofits expand their mission. Skills-based volunteers bring huge value by helping to complete important operating tasks – in fact, just one hour of volunteering has an estimated value of $27.20! And, your career may benefit, too, as these opportunities can be great resume boosters and networking opportunities.

Many local nonprofits need help with specialized tasks like writing grants, graphic design, administration and more. Use our quiz to help you discover a volunteer opportunity you’ll love, and then head over to United Way’s Volunteer Center to search for the skills you have to share.

4. Make our community beautiful

Summertime means longer days and warmer weather. Why not take advantage by heading outside to help the community? This is great opportunity for young people, families and groups who are ready to dig in!

From gardening projects to community cleanups, you can make our community more beautiful, help the environment and have a blast in the fresh air.

5. Make a difference on a nonprofit board of directors

Joining the board of directors at a local nonprofit can be one of the best ways to make a significant impact in our community. A board member typically defines and supports the nonprofit’s vision, goals and mission by setting policies, planning and evaluating.

By sharing your expertise, you can help the organization become even stronger in the long term, while practicing leadership skills and expanding your network.

Ready to get started? Find out where you can share your expertise as a board member.

6. Mentor the next generation of leaders

A mentor helps young people develop a sense of security, navigate life’s challenges and focus on what’s important. A relationship with a mentor can lead to less risk behavior, higher self-esteem and better academic performance.

And for the mentor, the relationship helps develop communication and leadership skills, while opening up new perspectives and opportunities to be a kid again.

Find the perfect opportunity to mentor a young person today and a build a brighter future for our region.

7. Connect with other community-minded people

With so many causes to choose from, it can be hard to know how to get started, but joining a group can help. For example, with United Way’s Leadership Giving Societies, you can connect with other passionate, community-focused philanthropists who want to serve St. Louis and develop as leaders for change.

For young professionals, United Way’s United Young Leaders offers monthly volunteer opportunities, along with networking and other engagement opportunities for young professionals ages 35 and younger. In addition to giving back, members have the chance to practice new skills and learn about community needs and causes.

No matter what you’re interested in or how you’d like to help, our free Family Summer Volunteer Guide has an opportunity for you! This free online tool features virtual and safe in-person volunteer opportunities for families and youth to give back all over the St. Louis community this summer.

Get started helping here today!

Take action now:

James Taylor
James Taylor