Think back to just two short months ago. When the holiday spirit surrounded everyone and giving back to the community and those in need seemed so obvious. Now it’s February, the country has been hit by hellacious amount of snow, ice and cold, and everyone is back in their own routines. Not everyone. Chandni Patel is one person who decided to continue her efforts through the entire year.
A quick thought in early December 2010 turned into the 365 Project for Patel. She decided to volunteer in one way or another every day in 2011. Because she works full time and travels, she wanted to take the opportunity to incorporate volunteering into her friends’ and family’s lives as well. If there’s a day she just cannot volunteer, she has someone take her place.
“My most successful outreach has most probably been SafeHouse Outreach,” she said. “It’s my current favorite. I like the flexibility of it; I love the fact that I can just go talk to someone and make a difference in their day. And because of the nature of this one you build relationships with the people who come there so you really get to know people and their stories.”
Many of her volunteering initiatives have taken place in Atlanta, but she also does virtual volunteering online at sites like FreeRice. Her first day of volunteering, January 1, took place at Global Soap Project, an organization that recovers soap from American hotels and sends it to refugee camps. In her blog, she mentions that people suggested picking a focus area to volunteer in, but she couldn’t pick just one. She also acknowledges that the burn-out rate might come quickly if she picked only one focus, so she will continue to help in a wide variety of areas.
Patel said that January was a success. Although she did end up snowed in for a few days (like a good part of the rest of the country) she worked with SafeHouse, FreeRice, signed petitions to save dolphins in Japan, helped sanitize & recover soaps, sorted books to send to Africa and even volunteered via Care2. Starting this month, she will be adding a volunteering event to her calendar and plans to round up as many of her friends and family (this could include you, especially if you’re in the Atlanta area) to volunteer together one day each month.
To read more about Patel’s efforts each day, visit her blog: 365 Days of Giving. Patel also mentioned that finding opportunities was not difficult at all, so if you find yourself with the desire, check into the many volunteering opportunities in your area.
via Flickr by Carol Browne