New Year, New You means something different to everyone, whether it's hitting the gym more often, quitting your online shopping addition, or traveling the world.
Whatever it is, we have ingredient to add to the mix: giving back. These six organizations want your help in 2018, even if it's just time you have to offer. (And let's be real, by February, when you're sick of the gym and have blown through your travel budget, you'll have more time to give than you do now.)
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Scroll down for six great ways to channel all of that fresh-start energy.
1. The U.S. National Park Service
Making the world a better place to live is one of the most gratifying causes you can contribute to, and when you volunteer with the National Park Service, it's easy to tailor your schedule to your individual needs—whether you just want to help out for one day or commit to a long-term position. For more information, visit The National Park Service's volunteer page.
2. American Red Cross
Whether you're administering disaster relief or donating blood, there's something you can do for the Red Cross at every level—you don't have to be a medical professional to save lives. The organization is known to put a diverse set of skill sets to use, from education to leadership to writing to recruitment. Explore the Red Cross's extensive volunteer opportunities here.
3. An Animal Shelter
Local animal shelters across the country are desperate for your help. If you can't get through an ASPCA commercial without crying, this is the volunteer activity for you. Of course, adopting or fostering a pet is a beneficial way to contribute, but if you're unable to provide housing, there's plenty else you can do, like being a strong advocate or helping out at a nearby shelter.
4. Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
Being a Big Brother or Big Sister is not only beneficial to the child you will be mentoring but to yourself too. The connections you make through program can last a lifetime. Although the application process in metropolitan areas is rather competitive, it's totally worth it to befriend a kid in need who could use a role model like yourself.
5. American Civil Liberties Union
The ACLU needs your help now more than ever. Become a member today through your local branch.
6. Your Local Soup Kitchen
There's no better way to spend a Sunday morning than meeting and serving food to less fortunate members of your community. Some kitchens are always looking for an extra hand. (And hey, you may even pick up some cooking skills along the way.) Organizations that coordinate volunteers for soup kitchens often require you to fill out an application or have a background check done, so make sure to request the paperwork before you show up, ready to serve.