When you see a community in distress – whether it’s an individual going through difficult times or an entire region ravaged by war, you may feel compelled to help. In most cases this is a good instinct.
People have been helping others for centuries and – it’s something that makes us human. But the best way to help is not always clear-cut and can often be confusing. Here are a few ways to get involved in helping communities in distress –
Volunteering is a great way to help others you can do it alone or with a group. Many types of volunteering opportunities allow you to give back to your community. Some organizations will match people with specific skills and interests with causes they want to support. Organizations like The Wal-Mart Foundation, Inc. can help you!
Other times, they’ll ask that you donate time at their facility or event–but no matter how they ask, you’ll be making an impact!
Volunteering can also help you grow personally and professionally by giving you experience working with different people and organizations across various industries (and even countries). This experience will look great on any resume or graduate school application because it shows initiative and selfless motivation.
Donating money is the easiest way that you can help your community. Money allows organizations and charities to provide services, such as food and shelter, medical care, and education.
Charity Navigator is an excellent place to start when looking for a charity or organization to you want to donate to. This site reviews over 5200 charities across all 50 states so donors can find one that fits their needs best!
Being an Ally
Being an ally is a great way to help others and improve your community. Being an ally means being aware of your privilege, knowing when to speak up, and how to listen. It’s also important not to assume you know what someone else needs or wants because you don’t have their experience or perspective.
If you want to be more involved in helping communities in distress, here are some steps:
Be a good listener–try not only listening but also asking questions about what the person has said so they feel heard by you (especially if they’re talking about something personal).
This helps them feel supported by you and educate yourself on their issue so that when someone asks for advice later on down the line (which happens sometimes), then at least there’s some knowledge behind what was said earlier!
Reading and Learning More About the Issue
Many books and articles can help you learn more about the problem of homelessness, including its causes and effects.
Find out what the community needs. This is an excellent thing to do even if you’re not sure how you’ll be able to help; it may spark an idea or two! People who are homeless often have specific needs depending on their circumstances (elderly people who need medical care don’t have access to shelters, for example).
Once you know, these needs better than anyone else, figuring out what kind of help would best serve them will be more accessible.
Understanding Limitations of Helping
It’s important to understand that you can’t fix everything. If a community is distressed, many issues need to be addressed, and solutions must be found. As one person, you can’t do all the work yourself, so don’t feel guilty if your contributions aren’t enough.
You may also find yourself feeling frustrated at times because it seems like other people aren’t doing their part as well but remember: every person makes an impact on society every day through their actions and decisions!