By Courtney McEllen
Alexandria, VA – On the fourth Saturday in October each year, volunteerism is celebrated by individuals, friends, and family when they get together to make a difference. This is known as Make A Difference Day, which falls on October 24 this year. Volunteer Alexandria would like share some ways people can help celebrate and make a difference individually, with family, or in a group within their community!
Volunteering is not only great for the community; it is also benefits the person doing it. Volunteering is good for your body, mind, and soul. It has been proven to help your health. A study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies recently cited in The Washington Post found that people who had volunteered in the past year were more satisfied with their lives and rated their overall health as better when compared to people who didn’t volunteer. They also found that people who started to volunteer became happier over time.
There are several ways to find an opportunity: visit www.VolunteerAlexandria.org to search our database of opportunities. Or join us in creating a wreath. Families, friends, and individuals are welcome to schedule a time to drop by to create a wreath, which will be donated to a senior through Senior Services of Alexandria’s Friendly Visitor Program. Many seniors have had to self-quarantine from their friends and families in order to stay safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The wreaths are a small act of kindness to let them know that they are being thought of and to help them connect to others while at home.
Bring your family or friends together to create a wreath out of reusable/recycled materials, provided by UpCycle Creative Reuse Center, to help spread joy and connect the community through art for a small fee.
Register at www.VolunteerAlexandria.org to volunteer in person. If you are unable volunteer in-person and still would like to participate in creating a wreath for a senior, email me at [email protected]
There are many ways to get involved on Make a Difference Day! Additional ideas are:
– Pick up trash in a park
– Help rake leaves in your neighborhood for neighbors
– Vote in your local elections
– Create or donate masks to help others who need to stay safe (enter masks in search engine)
– Make/donate sandwiches or hot meals with local organizations to help feed the homeless (enter Make Bag Lunches or Become a Home Cook Hero in the search engine)
– Create care packages for people who have been affected by COVID 19 (enter Create COVID-19 Care Packages in the search engine)
– Spread kindness by writing encouraging words to seniors, neighbors, and others throughout your community
Courtney McEllen is Database & Volunteer Manager, Volunteer Alexandria.