I haven't had a regular paid job in several years, but I have found worthwhile ways to spend my time. It feels like I have several jobs even though I don't get paid. I am glad to have the opportunity to give back to my community through volunteering. I want to encourage others to get involved.
Several years ago when I moved to my semi-rural area, I found that we were surrounded by many ranches and there was certainly no shortage of horses. I told my husband that I would love to find a way to be around horses. Sometime after that I found an ad for an equine therapy ranch. They were looking for volunteers and no experience was necessary.
Photo property of the Faithful Homesteader.
I decided to give them a call and I set up a time to tour the ranch and I went through the training. It was great to get hands on with the horses. I learned how to groom and tack a horse. The ranch works with a variety of students with disabilities. It is great to see the connection between horse and student. Equine therapy ranches are a great place to volunteer. I know from my personal experience and hearing about other places that they are always in need of volunteers.
Another area that I have become involved with is in helping fight human trafficking. A couple years ago we had a speaker come to our church and talk about her ministry that was started to join in the fight to help human trafficking victims. The ministry is involved with education and there is a safe house as well where girls can come and have a chance at recovery and healing. Another aspect of the ministry is doing outreach with posters of missing girls who are at a high risk of being sex trafficked.
Equine therapy and human trafficking are both important causes that are always in need of volunteers. However, there is no shortage of ways to give back to the community. Meals on Wheels provides an important service for people who are unable to purchase or prepare their own meals. There is always a need at food pantries and for helping the homeless.
In my area there is a great non-profit center that helps connect people with volunteer opportunities. They put out a monthly newsletter that lists the opportunities. For anyone looking for ways to give back, non-profit centers are a great resource. Jewish Family Services in my area also lists volunteer opportunities.
One thing for me about volunteering is that it gets my out of me comfort zone and around people. I spend a good amount of time alone, but when I volunteer, it gets me out there. Volunteering at the ranch also gives me another chance to get fresh air. I figure a bit of manual labor is good for the soul and body too.
Volunteering can open up a whole new world of experiences. It brings us all closer together. It can be a way to discover new passions. I certainly never imagined being involved equine therapy or human trafficking ministry a few years ago.