Summer is coming, and whilst your natural post-exam urge is to embrace the sun and lounge around with a jug of Pimm’s, an ice cream cone and other summer delights, this is definitely not as rewarding as giving back to the community and helping those less fortunate than yourselves. So, without further ado, here is Causes’ 20 Good Deeds of Summer!
1. Volunteer at a music festival
Free music, friends, and perhaps just a little bit of mud – volunteering at a music festival is one of the best ways of giving back whilst having a blast. If you need more persuading, take a look at Sara Halliday’s
2. Summer Reading Challenge
I volunteered at a local library for a couple of summers, helping the children with their reading and getting them enthused in literature from an early age, with sticker rewards and finally a medal and certificate – It was an incredibly rewarding experience and one that I will never forget. Check with your local library to see if they are running the scheme.
3. Volunteer in a charity shop
Charity shops are particularly busy over summer, when everyone is looking for bargains for that perfect summer outfit – lend them your time and you’re sure to feel fantastic!
And no, I’m not talking about Shia LaBeouf’s latest viral video (although this can also be applied to volunteering – if you want to do something good, just do it!). Do-It is the website on which I found my first volunteering opportunity. Volunteers Week 2015 may be over for now, but the world of volunteering is always out there, ready for you to ‘be the change you want to see in the world’, in the wise words of Ghandi. With Do-It, finding your perfect volunteering opportunity couldn’t be easier. You simply select the area you’re interested in, where in the country you want to volunteer, and your skills, and you are presented with a vast array of volunteering opportunities before your very eyes.
In a similar vein to Do-It, vInspired is the biggest national youth volunteering scheme in the country. I recently achieved my v50 Award, which is recognised by many employers in the charity sector, for 50+ hours of volunteering. Why not use the summer to kickstart both your benevolence and your CV? They even offer micro-volunteering opportunities which you can do in a few minutes from the comfort of your own home!
6. International volunteering
It may be too late to sign up for any of the DUCK expeditions, but this summer is a good time to be thinking about whether you may want to volunteer abroad next year. There are many potential organisations to go through regarding this.
7. Volunteer in a food bank
The food banks are particularly vital during the summer, when children are out of school and unable to get free school meals, putting a lot of pressure on struggling parents – do as Paige Hickson did
There’s no end to the impact you can have with schemes like vInspired, no matter how small (find more information on http://helpfromhome.org).These small actions could make a big difference…
8. Sign a petition
Change dot org, Avaaz – the list goes on and on. We all know them, but when was the last time you sat down and actually considered the petition you were signing, and then actively searched out more to sign? Take some time out of your day to contemplate the purpose of these petitions, sign a few, or even start one yourself! Every signature helps.
9. Answer trivia questions
Yes, seriously! At http://www.freerice.com/, for every answer you get right, 10 grains of rice will be donated to the United Nations World Food Programme.
10. Buy a Big Issue
We’ve all been guilty of walking past a Big Issue vendor when you don’t have quite the right change on you or you have your hands full of shopping – but it is important to remember that they are working hard to help themselves out of homelessness and will be so grateful when you do purchase one. If you take the time to get to know some of the local Big Issue sellers in your area and frequently help them out, you’ll soon be recognised as a friendly face – and what’s a better feeling than that?
11. Help fundraise for charity
Have a bake sale, sell ice-cool lemonade, do a sponsored event… Summer is the perfect opportunity to raise money for a charity important to you, and with the weather being so lovely, people will be in an even more generous and giving mood to help out!
12. Help change or save a life – donate your hair, blood or marrow
If the last of this year’s rent has left your wallet feeling despondent and you don’t have money to spare, you can always donate something else to make an incredible difference to someone else’s life, or even save it. You can give blood, donate your hair to charities like the Little Princess Trust, or sign up to the Organ Donor Register or the Anthony Nolan Bone Marrow Register.
13. Help start a campaign
Most people have an issue close to their heart or something they feel that needs to be changed or have action taken on – summer is the perfect time to begin planning to make a difference. Whether that’s starting a petition, a large-scale fundraiser, or simply spreading the word about an important cause on social media or through discussions with family and friends, you can make a difference. Change won’t happen unless we make it – why not start now?
14. Help the children in your area
Someone once said that children are the future, and we should make sure that we allow them to flourish and grow. You could set up a community class to teach them a new skill over the holidays, when parents will be at a loss for what to do with their children whilst they are at work, or volunteer in a summer school or day care centre.
15. Help the elderly
See if a local nursing home is looking for volunteers for the summer – the residents will be so appreciative. You can put a smile on their faces and they will be sure to put a smile on yours! Going to check in on elderly relatives or neighbours is another rewarding way of making sure the elderly have someone to chat to in the long summer months.
16. Help to recognise someone’s good work
Do you know someone who has given back ceaselessly to the community, never asking for a thing in return? There are plenty of community awards which you can nominate people for – the perfect way to give back to those who give so much!
17. Help Durham
Just because it’s the summer doesn’t mean you can’t still get involved in Durham causes. Start planning what charitable societies you may get involved with next year (if you’re coming back), or even go about setting up your own society if there’s a gap in the market for a cause close to your heart.
18. Help charities through internship schemes
Many third-sector employers offer the chance to work for them over the summer to gain work experience in the charity industry. What better way to boost your CV and give your heart that warm fuzzy glow it gets when you do something good?
19. Help the National Citizen Service
Take a look at the NCS Opportunity Hub to find ways of helping out with worthwhile causes whilst gaining valuable skills: http://www.ncsyes.co.uk/opphub.
20. Write for the Causes section of The Bubble!
If you have a cause you are passionate about, or a campaign or fundraising event you are involved in, please do get in touch on firstname.lastname@example.org – we’d love to hear from you!