Summer of Service_DSC4057_RS

From snuggling with stray animals to giving blood, here’s how you can make a difference in the lives of those around you, all summer long.


As a teacher, you know how powerful small acts of kindness and empathy can be. Consider carving out some time this summer to be of service to your community. What might take an hour of your time can make all the difference to someone else.

1. Give blood

Did you know that a one-time blood donation can save up to three lives? (Bring a few friends along, and you’ll save a dozen.) Visit the American Red Cross’s website to find a drive close to you. You’ll be surprised at how many you see — that’s how in-demand blood donations are.

2. Clean out your closet (or your garage)

There are countless places to donate unwanted clothing, gently-used furniture, or even an old vehicle. Check out this comprehensive list of where to donate any kind of item (and who you’ll be helping).

3. Build homes

Play a role in providing one of your community’s most essential needs: housing. Habitat for Humanity is one of the most respected nonprofits around. Volunteer your time as an individual or a group.

4. Volunteer at a homeless shelter

From canvassing for donations to serving meals, there’s always something you can do to help the most vulnerable people in your community. Phoenix Rescue Mission, Circle the City, and Central Arizona Shelter Services all provide vital services to people throughout the Valley, and are always in need of more volunteers.

5. Walk a dog (or snuggle a cat)

Love animals? The Arizona Humane Society and the Arizona Animal Welfare League could use your help. Make a homeless pet’s stay in the shelter environment less stressful by giving them an afternoon of your time; chances are, you’ll benefit from it as much as they do.

Pro tip: Pick your passion

Regardless of how you choose to serve your community, you’ll get more out of it (and be able to give more) if you pick something you’re passionate about. Don’t see something that sparks your interest? Check out the VolunteerMatch database — you’ll see opportunities ranging from one-day projects to regular commitments, hosted by organizations of all interest areas and types.

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