It's almost Spring here in the Hudson Valley, one of the most beautiful times of year in this area, as we all know. The weather is finally getting warmer, time to get over cabin fever and experience new beginnings and opportunities. SO…. how about by getting out and volunteering in your community? I promise it’s worth it!

It’s a feel-good thing that works hand and hand: You give a little and get a little back, or maybe get A LOT back. Would you believe it if I told you that I volunteered with cats EVEN THOUGH I’m allergic? Oh yeah, I love cats, they’re my life.

Luckily, volunteering doesn’t take any experience and there’s always an organization that could use help. Anyone can volunteer and depending on the organization, a parent may have to accompany a minor. Often, boy scouts and girl scouts troops could donate their time and talents to fulfill the requirements of earning a merit badge. If you’re recently retired, consider giving a few hours to those in need. High school and college students would benefit by having volunteering listed on their resume.

I’ve set up a list of volunteering ideas to hop into spring, let’s go!

  • Brush a cat, walk a dog:Animal shelters are always taking in new fur babies. Many shelters are at their capacity and would welcome extra hands to help out with daily chores. They’re always looking for volunteers to help socialize, feed and care for the animals. I can say its a lot of fun helping cats and dogs find their fuuuurever homes (emotional too).

Did you know, being an animal shelter volunteer is good for your physical, emotional and even mental health? (I can vouch for this). It is scientifically proven that spending time with animals helps blood pressure and lower stress levels.  Walking dogs can benefit your physical health by staying active. Caring for pets and creating a bond with them can help you deal with anxiety, depression and stress.

  • Giving back to mother nature: Our parks could sure use some help especially after winter so why not plant new flowers or simply pick up trash. Anything big or small can totally make a difference.

My sister is such a history buff and not only helped me with history homework when I was in school but is always visiting national parks and luckily takes me along. The National Parks are a great source of many unique volunteer opportunities.  We actually went to the Roosevelt and Vanderbilt National Historical Sites in October. I would recommend checking out national parks to help out and you never know it might open the door to further opportunities!

  • Catch a tan: How much fun would it be to join Habitat for Humanity, in the Spring and help to build someone a home?
  • Local libraries for the win: I enjoyed volunteering at my local library for a few hours a week when I was in elementary story. I can imagine for book lovers this would be relaxing. Libraries always need help organizing shelves and books and possibly book fairs at local schools. Ask your local library if you can help design their ads and then later you have something to add to your resume… or BUCKETLIST!
  • Retirement homes: When I visit my family member’s retirement home, I always look to see the upcoming events they have! I have to say the activities program is so on point and the residents do more activities than I do. They love when the yoga instructor comes in and the piano player especially when it encourages them to sing along. Why not volunteer your time and share your talents to brighten up their day. I promise you the stories you listen to from these amazing, wise friends will make you appreciate your time there.

If nursing homes aren’t your thing, Meals on Wheels is an organization that helps seniors stay independent while making sure they are provided with free, hot meals and socialization.

Just REMEMBER, don’t be bummed if you can’t volunteer. DONATE to homeless and animals shelters; they are always looking for goodies to keep everyone healthy and full. Spring is also a good time to clean out your house and drop off your treasure to any organizations that will pass them along.

In the comments section below, be sure to let me know where you have or will begin to volunteer, I’d love to hear and share some stories!