No Need to Hibernate This Winter!
Though winter weather can make it difficult to get out and about, if you have a plan in place, you’re more likely to follow through. Set yourself up for success by get involved in neighborhood activities, happenings at your place of worship, the local elementary school, or with a deserving nonprofit organization near you.
If colder weather and shorter days make traveling out of your immediate area too challenging, why not plan some activities with your neighbors? A progressive dinner is a fun, low stress way to entertain and stay in touch with folks across the street or right next door. Have one household host the appetizer course, the next person could host soup and salad, and the final stop could be for dessert. Sharing the cooking and party prep responsibilities with a group makes it easy and less expensive than hosting an entire meal on your own. It’s too easy to just stay inside and lose track of those who live closest to you during the winter months. Take turns with neighbors to plan monthly events to help stay in touch.
Have Fun With Your Faith Community
Chances are your place of worship has a community room that could serve as a gathering place for group events over the winter. Depending on the facilities available, consider organizing a “tailgate” party for the Big Game, a Valentine’s Day celebration, Mardi Gras or St. Patrick’s Day festivities, or other non-holiday related fun. Make it a pot luck affair, where everyone contributes with food and drink to share. Some simple decorations, music, and games or activities for the group, and you’ll have a party planned in no time at all.
Tell Me a Story
If you live close to an elementary school, there are probably a dozen ways that teachers could use your help in the classroom. One of the most popular volunteer opportunities in elementary schools is “story telling time” where volunteers come in for just an hour or so to read to young students. Many schools list their volunteer opportunities online, and your local school district may also have a list of schools looking for help. Chances are, you’ll learn a thing or two from your young students when you visit their school, too.
Share Your Gifts
Nonprofit groups are generally operating on a shoestring budget, and always in need of volunteers to field phone calls, organize and assemble mailings, and help with all sorts of administrative tasks. If you enjoy sharing skills you acquired during your career, many nonprofits will be more than happy to accept help with business plans, writing and editing, database management, website maintenance and more. If you’re not already involved with a nonprofit or other volunteer organization, look for one whose mission you support to make the best match. If you’re passionate about hunger issues, your local food bank or pantry may be a good fit. If you’re concerned about homelessness, there are lots of groups devoted to affordable housing. If you’re interested in serving a specific population like children or seniors, there’s undoubtedly a volunteer opportunity with your name on it.
Bottom line – keeping busy at any time of year, doing something you truly enjoy, is a great way to strengthen your community, stay social, and gain opportunities to make new friends and acquaintances in all aspects of your life.