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How to find your volunteer niche this November

With so many organizations to get involved with in the Tampa area, Executive Director, Jackie Griffin of LiveFree! asks community do-gooders, "Where do you start?"

What are you thankful for? Most of us are quick to answer—health, family, friends and warm winter weather are the most common responses of Tampa dwellers—but how do you give thanks to these wonderful blessings? Local coalition, LiveFree! Pinellas suggests a fun, simple way to show your gratitude for all of the above: Volunteer in your community with family and friends!

LiveFree! Pinellas encourages residents to take their involvement to the next level this Thanksgiving and volunteer at a charity organization within the community.

“We can give thanks and give of ourselves by taking time to volunteer.  There are several area non-profits that could use the additional contribution,” comments LiveFree!’s Executive Director, Jackie Griffin.

“Volunteering with family and friends improves our neighborhoods and strengthens our prevention services since it builds personal relationships.” Griffin says. 

LiveFree! has partnered with Starling and Sumter Daycare to facilitate a healthy harvest in St. Petersburg. Cultivated by local families, the LiveFree! family club’s garden is ready for the inaugural harvest. Everyone involved has high hopes for a plentiful garden and can’t wait to share its bounty with family and friends. Sprouting in three bay area locations—New Beginnings at Sumter Daycare, Sumter Daycare and Starling Daycare—the gardens are a fun, easy way to volunteer with family and friends.

No green thumb? No worries! There are plenty of other volunteer opportunities in the Tampa Bay area. Griffin emphasizes volunteering for a cause you’re passionate about and recommends checking out a few different organizations during your discovery process. Here are a few more tips from Griffin for finding your volunteer niche:

  • Don’t feel pressured to make a big commitment. There’s no need to join a committee or black out the sign-up sheet with your name right away. From once a week to once a month, organizations appreciate every second of your time.
  • Field Research. Surf the web, ask around or simply drop by the organization
    you’re interested in working with. By doing a little extra leg-work, you’ll be
    able to find a philanthropy that will engage and stimulate you.
  • The Buddy System: Invite your family and friends to come along! Volunteering is a
    cool way to spend quality time with loved ones of all ages.
  • Share your strengths. There’s more to volunteer work than manual labor. Communications,
    accounting and other behind the scenes departments are always on the lookout
    for volunteers too!

Whether you’re looking to share your culinary skills at a Thanksgiving feast for the homeless, or help out at a community event, visit www.livefreeblog.org for a listing of additional partners.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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