Ways to Give Direct Service
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Direct Service Work


Direct service comprises hands-on involvement and the implementation of organization’s program. Direct service can be one-time only projects, an on-going commitment, working with a group, working alone, in a set location or moving from place to place, the category holds tremendous variety. Many direct-service assignments consist of very basic activities but are very badly needed by the people or causes served. It encompasses anything from sitting with the elderly in a nursing home to complicated technical work. The possibilities are endless.

Ways to Give Direct Service is the last part in the volunteering series. By this time I hope that I have inspired you to become a volunteer or to rededicate some of your time and talents to volunteering again. This month you will find ideas for giving direct service but don’t be limited to the suggestions on this page. Tap into your own creativity to find new and exciting ways to give. Direct service is easy to give and is something both adults and children can do. It’s something that you can do on your own or with your family. Below is a list of direct service you might perform. My hope is that this list will jog your awareness of your desire as well your abilities: Here are ideas to help you get started:


□ Become a companion at a hospital.
□ Give minutes of companionship. Bring cheer to a nursing home for a few hours or weeks.
□ Provide medical or paramedical care at a shelter for batter families.
□ Assist animal keepers at your local zoo.
□ Become a mentor to a young person.
□ Sing songs. Lead a monthly sing-a-long at a hospital.
□ Provide advice on mortgages, property management and insurance at community center.
□ Assist a crime victim with sustained personal support.
□ Conduct nature walks at a botanical garden or park.
□ Read to children at a nursing home or hospital.
□ Provide nutrition advice at a community center, soup kitchen, or homeless shelter.
□ Lead a bicycling club at a youth center.
□ Become an ombudsman for a nursing home, monitoring his or her care and practical affairs.
□ Give up your afternoon cappuccino for a month and donate the money you save to your favorite charity.
□ Organize the slide collection at a museum or historical society.
□ Do the bookkeeping at the community center.
□ Provide paralegal assistance in a court or public agency.
□ With your kids, make greeting cards for the nursing home bound.
□ Assist with patient care in a hospital.
□ Set books in braille for visually handicapped readers.
□ Perform I musical or theatrical presentations in hospitals, prisons, and schools.
□ Make greeting cards for sick children who will have to spend the holidays in the hospital.
□ Work with animals and pet in a pet-assisted therapy program.
□ Become a buddy to a person with AIDS.
□ Teach photography in an after school program or at a youth center.
□ Offer to help teenagers with college application essays.
□ Play with children at a community center.
□ Provide business counsel to a beginning entrepreneur.
□ Prepare beds and meals at a homeless shelter.

□ Tutor kids in math or algebra.
□ Provide pro bono services in law, medicine, management, taxation, or real estate.
□ Care for a child in a day care center.
□ Work as a probation aide with a person recently released form jail.
□ Join a Bg Brother/Big Sisters program and be a role model.
□ Provide support and reassurance for patients and families in hospitals emergency and waiting rooms.
□ Provide career counseling in a school or community center.
□ Work in a rape crisis center.
□ Encourage your children to save their pennies for a charity they care about.
□ Read text books to a blind student.
□ Work with families to stop child abuse.
□ Read and discuss books and magazine articles in a nursing home.
□ Clean out your garage and give away out grown bikes and sports equipment.
□ Be a receptionist at a clinic or hospital.
□ Teach child care or housing skills at a community center for those in need of the services.
□ Collect and separate trash in a recycling center.
□ Circulate a petition and collect signatures concerning an issue that is important to you.
□ Help to rehabilitate housing for the elderly or disabled
□ Join a clean up project in a neighborhood, inner-city district or park.
□ Help relocate families that have lost their homes.
□ Spend time at the hospitals holding failure-to-thrive babies whose survival may depend on simple human contact.
□ Do remedial tutoring with a college student.
□ Offer your clerical skills to a school’s art groups or social-service agency.

□ Join a group that rescues animals endangered by pollution.
□ Train to staff a crisis hotline.
□ Run a card party or bingo night at a nursing home.
□ Assist in a clinic or blood bank.
□ Become a school volunteer, helping out in a classroom, cafeteria, office or playground.
□ Remodeling your office? Offer discarded cabinets and shelves to a non-profit organization that needs it.
□ Share your experiences at a drug or alcohol abuse program.
□ Coach a local sports team.
□ Socialize with guest in a homeless shelter.
□ Encourage children to collect cans and bottles and donate the deposits to charity.
□ Collect food in a reclamation program
□ Sort and distribute mail in a nursing home or hospital..
□ Arrange and “exchange” program with a family of a different religion: Have them come over for you next holiday celebration and then join them for theirs.
□ Spend holidays with institutionalized people.
□ Comfort children in a hospital.
□ Sponsor a troop of Girl Scout, Boy Scouts, or Camp Fire Kids.
□ If you speak a foreign language: Offer to tutor students.
□ Organize a stamp, coin, or baseball card club at a youth or senior citizen center.
□ Donate your computer programming skills to non-profit group.
□ Support th families of the ill, the handicapped or the mentally challenged.
□ Volunteer to work at you local Special Olympics program.
□ Test blood pressure in a community health campaign.
□ Conduct tours in a museum.
□ Provide tax counseling for senior citizens.
□ Offer to spend time helping out at your kids school.
□ Teach English to recently arrived immigrants.
□ Participate in conflict resolution for the community, neighborhood, or family disputes.
□ Teach job skills to the disabled.
□ Share ideas for community service with others.
□ Teach religion classes at your church, synagogue, or mosque.
□ Cook for a soup kitchen, shelter, or meals-on-wheels program.
□ Teach yoga, aerobics or modern dance at a community center.
□ Gather with your friends to repaint a classroom.

□ Join a telephone reassurance project, calling elderly or developmentally challenged people once a day.
□ Counsel dropout or troubled youth.
□ Be an operate at a teletype deaf hotline.
□ With your friends an/or family offer to run errands for the home-bound or drive them where they need to go.
□ Organize a theater group in a youth center.
□ Become a court appoint advocate for a child in the foster care system.
□ Assist in physical or speech therapy in a hospital or rehabilitation center.
□ Suggest tat the neighborhood kids organize and odd-jobs pool. It’s a great way to keep the community beautiful.
□ Serve as a trail guide in a park or nature preserve.
□ Run a crafts class in an after school program.
□ Transport elderly people to and from hospitals and doctors’ offices.
□ Donate a unit of blood at the local school or church drive and bring a friend along to do the same.
□ Usher at a performance of a dance or theater company.
□ Provide crisis intervention for families in conflict.
□ Become a volunteer firefighter.
□ Volunteer to lend a hand at a battered women’s shelter.
□ Participate in a voter-registration campaign.
□ Teach daily living skills to mentally challenged youth and adults.
□ Join a walk-a-thon.
□ Whenever you and your friends entertain ask guest to bring one item for the local food pantry.
□ Welcome people who’ve moved in your community.
□ Deliver meals or food packages to home bound/ sick and shut in people.
□ Donate your word processing skills or knowledge of computer software to a non-profit organization.
□ Regularly visit a hospice.
□ Participate in a bike-a-thon for charity.
□ Work as a counselor in a summer camp for inner city children.
□ Help with a local or national fund raising activity.
□ Distribute food to the homeless.
□ Donate useful goods (books, clothes, shoes, and/or games) to a local charity, thrift store, homeless shelter, Goodwill Industries, Salvation Army or similar group.
□ Ask your company to encourage employees to devote a paid work day to preforming community service.
□ Organize a drive to collect donations (for example: food for Thanksgiving, or toys for Christmas).
□ Join an emergency medical service.
□ Serve dinner to the poor for Thanksgiving or Christmas.
□ Donate old office computers to a non-profit organization.
□ Accompany a group of elderly or children to the beach on Memorial Day.

□ Escort hospital and nursing home patients on outings.
□ Collect food and clothing for victims of an earthquake.
□ Make a deal with your employer. If the employees in your company can raise a certain amount of money (say, ) for charity, the company will match it.
□ Help clean up after a local fire or flood.
□ Assist in an exercise program for disable individuals.
□ Commit with your co-workers, family and/ or friends to help serve meals at a soup kitchen.
□ Provides financial counseling at a community or senior center.
□ sk your co-workers to give up their afternoon candy bars and turn the savings over to charity.
□ Work with a local rescue group to find homes for stray animals.
□ Get you office to adopt a park and help keep it clean.
□ Teach first aid or water safety.
□ Participate in a read-a-thon for charity or a cause.
□ Take a group of underprivileged kids to the circus.
□ Welcome a foreign student into your home.
□ Organize a carpentry repair team for a leaky school roof.
□ Become a friendly visitor to a home bound or institutional person
□ With co-worker, family and/or friends organize a tea party at a local nursing home.
□ Supervise a game room in a hospital or community center.
□ Organize your colleagues to landscape a vacant lot.
□ Develop an enrichment program for gifted students.
□ Offer to find new homes for animals at the pound.
□ Take underprivileged children on outings.
□ Place bins at store to collect clothes for the needy.
□ Do grounds keeping work for a zoo or botanical garden.
□ Start a coat drive now for those who may be cold next winter.
□ Assist in group therapy sessions at a youth center or halfway house.
□ Start a shoe drive and collect shoes that are in good shape to donate to an organization.
□ Help a prisoner study for a high school degree.
□ Ask grocery shoppers to buy extra canned goods for the local food pantry. Collect donations as they leave the store.




□ Help kids at a drop out center with their homework.
□ Collect toys for the hospitals pediatric ward.
□ Give classes in home nursing at a community center.
□ Start a blanket drive for a homeless shelter.
□ Work in a hospice program for the terminally ill.
□ Do landscaping or gardening for your community, church, library or school.
□ Host an inner city child in your home.
□ Organize a kids basketball shoot-a-thon with sponsor donating $1 per basket to local youth sports.
□ Answer hotline calls.
□ Hold a count-the-jelly beans-in-the-jar raffle charity.
□ Help at a Special Olympics.
□ Organize a comedy night to raise money for a charity.
□ Join a program to improve police-community relations.
□ Sponsor a bake sale for a local volunteer organization.
□ Instruct expectant mothers in childbirth techniques and pre and postnatal care.
□ Hold a neighborhood car wash for a local shelter.
□ Help integrate an immigrant family in the community.
□ Organize 100 people to walk a walk/run a 10k race for charity.
□ Interview and test applicants for job training for the unemployed.
□ Serve as an ambulance aide.
□ Act as a language interpreter in a hospital.
□ Write a lobby letter for a social action group.
□ Answer the telephones at a telethon.
□ adopt a child from abroad.
□ Maintain the library at a literacy center.
□ Write a letter to a person in prison.
□ Make clothing for newborn babies in hospitals.
□ Correspond to people in need.


If you volunteered in a new, creative and fun way that is not listed here, PLEASE e-mail your ideas to me at SouthCookCounty2002@lycos.com and I will include them in this list.


Strength In Numbers
Remember if you find a cause that is important to you that requires more time and man power than you have, tap into the services and help of those in organizations you belong to like: fraternity, sorority, 4-H Club, Girl Scouts/Boy Scout, religion affiliated groups, block association, youth organizations, etc. This way an effort can be more successful.

Kiddie Corner: Direct Service Ideas for Kids
☺ Start a project with your church, synagogue, school or scout troop.
☺ Start a just say no to drugs and alcohol abuse club in your community.
☺ Donate school vacation hours to helping a cause you care about.

Kiddie Corner: Helpful Volunteer Hints for Kids

☺ After calling a place you are interested, your call may not be returned as soon as you like. If you so not get results the second time you contact the organization have an adult call for you. Sometime adults don’t take kids seriously or may not realize that the organization has a children’s division. So always be patient, polite and persistent.

☺ You can also contact an organization by writing a letter. Be sure that your letter is neat with correct spelling and punctuation. If your handwriting is not good, it would be best to type the letter. Mention in your letter that you are interested in volunteering and be sure to include you name, phone number, address and a self-addressed stamped enveloped so that the organization can easily reply to your request.
☺ Many organizations ant you to fill out an application to volunteer. List all of your hobbies and other experience that relates to the volunteer job. Highlight you accomplishments like honors, awards and good grades. Tell them about any winning team or project you were involved in. List all organizations you belong to like church, youth groups, and sports. Don’t be modest, but be honest. Organizations may check what you put on your application.

☺ Getting hired for a volunteer job is an accomplishment. Although you will not be paid, it is a BIG responsibility that you must take seriously. It means showing up on certain days and times and for a specific amount of hours. So, unless you are sick or have an emergency, make sure that you are there. When you can not be there be sure to tell the person in charge so that arrangements can be made for someone to take your place.

☺ Remember before you start to volunteer, think about how much time you’ll have after you completed your chores at home and other commitments to your school family and friends.
Now, you have a wealth of information, a list or organizations you can check out and ideas for giving direct service. So, all I have left to say is......”get out there and volunteer!!!”

NOTE: There will not be a Monthly Matter article next month. Monthly matter articles will resume in January 2003. This is not a complete list of things you can do to give direct service. The list is endless. All you have to do to find other ways to give direct service is use you imagination. As always, there’s tons more ideas out there all you have to do is look.
—Catherine Jackson