By: Cara Parenti, Work and Travel Intern

The Greenheart Club combines cultural exchange and volunteerism to benefit the global community and environment. By volunteering you can take your cultural exchange experience to the next level by getting involved in your local community! Finding a volunteer opportunity in your area can be difficult, so here are a few ways to start looking:

something1. Talk to Friends, Colleagues, and Employers

Some of your friends, colleagues, or employers might know of, or have volunteered at an organization near you! Asking them is a great place to start finding volunteer opportunities in your area.

2. Check Your Local Library

Checking for volunteer opportunities at your local library is a great place to start. Usually, volunteering at a library includes helping at the information desk, reading stories to children, shelving books, and doing fundraising events. Not only will some libraries have actual volunteer opportunities, but some will have great resources to find outside opportunities and other organizations in your area.

3. Search for a Local Food Bank

A great volunteer opportunity is feeding the hungry at your local food bank. Finding a food bank near you is super easy! FeedingAmerica.org has a food bank locator. To use this locator, all you have to do is enter your zip code/state, and you will get a list of food banks in your area.

4. Visit Volunteer Match

VolunteerMatch.org is a great website to help you find volunteer opportunities in your area. Searching for volunteer opportunities on this website is very simple and straightforward. Just type in “what you care about” in the search box, and your zip code, and you will get a list of matches! You can also browse different causes in your area to find the perfect match.

something25. Check out CCI Greenheart’s Cultural Flyers

CCI Greenheart provides participants with cultural flyers that have a list of volunteer opportunities in different communities. Visit the website to find the cultural flyer for your community! View the map, click on your state/city, and CCI Greenheart will direct you to more information about your community and volunteer opportunities in your area.

6. Create Your Own Opportunity!

If you are having trouble finding a volunteer opportunity in your area, and you see something that needs to be done, then create your own! Examples of this would be picking up trash or doing a local clean-up.

Get in Touch with the Organization

Once you find a volunteer opportunity that interests you, it is important that you contact them as soon as possible. First, check the organization’s website for an email address or phone number that you can contact. If you are looking to volunteer immediately, contacting them by phone is the most efficient way.  Then, call or email the contact and let them know your availability and how frequently you would like to volunteer. So you are prepared when you contact them, be sure to research the organization beforehand, and remember to let them know that you are an international participant working in the area during your summer break.

All of these are great ways to start searching for volunteer opportunities in your area. Remember that you are not alone in your search to find a volunteer opportunity on your CCI Greenheart program. If you have tried all of these ideas and you are still having trouble locating an opportunity, email greenheart@ccigreenheart.org for help. Have fun volunteering and Go Greenheart!