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Image / Editorial

Don’t just sit at home, here are easy ways to make a difference


by Brenna O'Donnell
01st Apr 2018
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Your hobbies don’t have to just be a way to pass idle time, they can be used to help better the world around you. Activities like volunteering, activism and fundraising for causes you’re passionate about are not only good for your community, they’re good for your health. Numerous studies have shown that those who volunteer have lower rates of depression, visit the hospital less, and generally have a brighter outlook on life.

It’s easy to look at the problems of the world and get overwhelmed, but with these hobbies you’ll be working towards a positive impact. Your horizons are broad and your options endless. Here are some ideas to get you started

Your local community:

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Simon’s Soup Runs
Started by Dublin Simon Community in 1969, Simon’s Soup Runs go out 365 nights a year to deliver soup, sandwiches, tea and conversation to those on the street in need. Often the soup run volunteers are the first point of contact where the homeless learn of the Dublin Simon Community and all the services they provide.This is the perfect part-time volunteer opportunity for those looking to lend a helping hand in their community.

 

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The Homeless Period Ireland
Being homeless is made even harder if you’re a woman on her period. Homeless Period Ireland is an organization that believes all women should have access to feminine products, regardless of their situation. They accept pads and tampons as donations from the community, and volunteers go out and deliver them. Take your free time to donate and hand these products to women in need.

 

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Friends of the Elderly
A health concern that people might overlook when they think of the elderly, is loneliness. Being alone is proven to have a negative impact on mental and physical health. Friends of the Elderly is an organization that connects you with elderly members of the community to spend time with them in their home or nursing home, take them out shopping and to eat, or drive them to events. You can also volunteer at their social club, and also use your skills in IT or social media to help this organisation. This is an especially flexible opportunity: you can have regular visits or shift times in your schedule to volunteer.

Mental Health:

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Samaritans Ireland
Samaritans Ireland is a hotline where volunteers can help those struggling to cope and need someone to talk to. The hotline receives calls at all times of day and night, and you can pick up a shift that works with your schedule. Samaritans also need volunteers to assist with PR, fundraising and establishing partnerships in the community.

Physical Health:

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Irish Heart Foundation
Cardiovascular disease is Ireland’s number one killer, and Irish Heart Foundation aids in spreading awareness of this through community engagement and fundraising events. You can help organise the events, or just volunteer at them, whatever fits your availability.

These kinds of volunteering opportunities are available aligning with lots of different health issues, so there’s most likely an organisation dealing with something you feel passionate about.

Sports:

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Coaching Sports Clubs
If you enjoy sports and being a role model to children, coaching might be a good fit for you. Sports play a pivotal role in the lives of children, offering a support system, teaching them teamwork and healthy values. The Community Coaching Program through Sport Ireland offers courses in coaching and can connect you with opportunities depending on your sport. Many local sports clubs couldn’t run without volunteers coaching, and this is a great way to get active yourself while helping children do the same. Although many coaching programs offer special opportunities for the unemployed, you can also volunteer on your downtime.