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How does one begin to write about ways that we can give back and share with our fellow humans? It seems like this should be an innate instinct. It should be something we always want to do and can easily think of ways to do it. Maybe one feels that there is so much pressure to just succeed and get-ahead, whatever those things mean. Young kids, I mean toddlers, seem to have greater ease when it comes to just helping out someone. They see your mouth open and they’ll put something in it! Oh, if you hang around the little ones long enough, you’ll know what I mean. They’re just trying to help!
Now that we’re a little older, and hopefully a little wiser, how can we help? How can we make our experience useful to other people who could use a little wisdom? We can’t all go and mentor at the local school, or help out with resource centers, but if you’re reading this you’ve got a tool for leveraging the wisdom of your experiences the likes of which has never been known.
There are a great number ways to help others online – websites where you can put your life experiences to good use helping other people out. Some you get paid for – those aren’t going to be covered here because this article is about altruism not consumerism. Giving back – not getting, except maybe that warm fuzzy feeling inside. With a lot of these sites, you just volunteer and do what you can.
I wrote about this site way back in 2009 in the article 4 Sites to Get Good Free Advice From. It is still a great resource. Not much has changed over there, not even the site design, but if something works then I guess we should stick to it.
What the Elder Wisdom Circle is, is a site that accepts questions from younger people and connects them with seniors who might have some life experience in the area you’re having troubles in. It’s anonymous, and you don’t have to give strangers your name. How many times have you seen somebody struggling with life and you just wanted to let them know that you’ve been there too, and maybe there’s a better way? But that person just clings to the anchor that’s drowning them and keeps on sinking. It’s heartbreaking. But if you can help out with Elder Wisdom Circle, you can help people that are ready to cast off that anchor and get back to living. Here’s a quote from one of their volunteers:
“Whenever I encourage others to join up, I make it a point to emphasize that their experiences in life have given them a perspective that others don’t have. And that having dealt with these experiences – successfully or not – has given them wisdom which they can pass on to help others have an easier time in life.”
It’s so true. Even if you aren’t a senior but you know someone who is, you can be a facilitator. They send you the question, you take it to your friend and have them answer it, then you come back to the computer and post it. This has a double-effect. You’re helping someone who needs advice and maybe visiting a senior friend or relative who might have thought the world forgot them.
If you are looking to help out people in crisis in their lives or having thoughts of hurting themselves, this might be the opportunity for you. IMAlive is seeking people who are willing to pay for and do the work to get certified and to give 200 hours of service in their first year. You also have to be willing to pay for and submit a criminal record check. It might seem like a lot to ask, but peoples lives are on the line when they contact IMAlive.
The world’s first 100% online with 100% of volunteers certified is an initiative of The Kristin Brooks Hope Center, founders of the 1-800-SUICIDE hotline. They’ve partnered with To Write Love on Her Arms, PostSecret, and the QPR Institute to bring IMAlive to you. That’s some pretty serious partners, so this is likely to be an initiative that really helps save lives. Patch Adams, yes THAT Dr. Patch Adams, is also a supporter.
If you like the idea of IMAlive, but maybe aren’t ready just yet to go through the volunteer process, you can donate to other volunteers to help them pay for their certification. There are also some other great resources probably looking for some assistance that you can read about in Mark O’Neill’s 7 Online Resources To Help Those Who Are Depressed & Suicidal.
UNV Online Volunteering
Want to help the world out? UNV Online Volunteering is a program with the United Nations. Basically, what the UN is doing is providing a service to match volunteers with certain skills or experience to provide help with projects for its member nations. From what I’ve seen the majority of nations seeking your help are developing nations or nations in crisis. One particular example that struck me, was the ASTRA Anti Trafficking Action. Two professionals came together online to help put together a resource for survivors of human trafficking in Serbia. There are many things that humans do to one another in this world that makes my mind just want to implode and give up, and human trafficking is one of them. Can you fathom the thought of just selling your child or your sibling to someone else who thinks they are only worth some money?
You can search the UNV database for opportunities that might benefit from your unique skills and experiences. Check back with it frequently as it is often updated.
Yes, YOU Can
If you’re reading this, chances are you are amongst the top 10% of the world in your prosperity. That doesn’t always mean we have a lot of money to give, but it does mean that we can read, we can write, and we can share our hearts and minds with others. Call me a pollyanna, but I think that this sort of giving back is just one more step toward a world where needs are met accordingly by those who have the ability to give.
Do you know of any virtual volunteering opportunities? Have you taken the chance to share your experience and help others online? Perhaps you’re looking for a hand yourself. Let us know in the comments. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, we’re all in this together.
Image Credits: The Power of Giving via Shutterstock