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8 community service organizations to consider joining this year

News Source: Philadelphia Inquirer

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Now that we’ve officially kicked off 2013, it’s time to make some fresh starts. Recently, my mom and I decided to take on a community service project together. Doing the research made me realize that there are so many great opportunities for volunteering in Philadelphia, and a lot of them need our help.

Volunteering is an important, respectable and much-needed service. So, for those of you who are interested, here are 8 community service projects to start this year:

1. Philabundance
Philabundance believes that no man, woman or child should go hungry. Their growth and eventual integration with the Philadelphia Food Bank in 2005 has made them the region’s largest hunger relief organization. They now address hunger through direct service programs and a network of 500 member agencies. They also contribute to a broad spectrum of social services through food cupboards, emergency kitchens, shelters, daycare and senior centers and beyond.

Take a look at their volunteer opportunities here.

2. Graduation Coach Campaign
The Graduation Coach Campaign is an initiative of the Mayor’s Office of Education. Their mission is to equip and empower Philadelphia’s adults to help youth earn a high school diploma and succeed in college and careers. They believe that all Philadelphia youth should have a supportive, knowledgeable adult who can coach them to succeed in high school, college and careers.

If you’re interested in becoming a Graduation Coach, take the pledge here.

3. ASPCA
The ASPCA was the first humane organization in the Western Hemisphere. Their mission, as stated by founder Henry Bergh, is “to provide effective means for the prevention of cruelty to animals throughout the United States.” The ASPCA works to rescue animals from abuse,  pass humane laws and share resources with shelters nationwide.

There are many ways to volunteer. The ASPCA is looking for pet photographers, walkers, transportation help, and more. Get involved here.

4. LIFT
LIFT is a growing movement to combat poverty and expand opportunity for all people in the United States. LIFT currently runs centers staffed by trained volunteers in Boston, Chicago, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, to serve low-income individuals and families.

LIFT volunteers work one-on-one to find jobs, secure safe and stable housing, make ends meet through public benefits and tax credits, and obtain quality referrals for services like childcare and healthcare. Simultaneously, the LIFT experience pushes volunteers to grapple with our country’s most challenging issues related to poverty, race, inequality, and policy. Since LIFT’s founding, over 6,000 volunteers have served more than 40,000 individuals and families.

Sign up to volunteer today.

5. American Red Cross
The American Red Cross exists to provide compassionate care to those in need. Their network of generous donors, volunteers and employees share a mission of preventing and relieving suffering, here at home and around the world, through five key service areas: disaster relief, supporting America’s military families, lifesaving blood, health & safety services and international services.

Here is how you can volunteer.

6. Big Brother Big Sister
Big Brothers Big Sisters is not your typical organization. They help children realize their potential and build their futures by nurturing and strengthening their sense of community. 83% of former Littles (children) surveyed agree that their Big (mentor) instilled values and principles that have guided them through life.

Become a big brother or sister here.

7. Hospice Volunteer Program
Compassionate, dedicated people join VNA’s Hospice team of volunteers to provide companionship and support to the many patients and families who are facing the most difficult time of their lives. Devoting 2-4 hours of personal time on a weekly basis can make a world of difference to a patient and their family in the hospice program. Volunteers play an extremely important role in hospice.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities here.  

8. Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit, ecumenical ministry founded on the conviction that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They build with people in need regardless of race or religion.

Learn more about volunteer opportunities here.

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