The desire to become socially involved lies dormant in many of us. But it is not so easy to decide which volunteering activity suits your own interests and abilities. To make your decision a little easier, we present 7 ideas for your volunteering activity in this article – maybe there is the right one for you?
Would you like to discover other areas for your volunteering activity? Then take a look at vostel.de for more ideas!
1 I Cold Relief & Homeless Aid
Especially in the cold season, people without shelter or a fixed abode are dependent on support. Every year on 1 November, the cold aid programme starts, with organisations providing emergency overnight accommodation and cold buses throughout Germany. The emergency shelters offer people a warm and safe place to sleep, hot meals and usually the possibility to take a shower. The support buses, on the other hand, are on the road in the cities during the cold months to keep an eye out on the streets for people suffering from the cold.
The organisations depend on (your) support. Whether it’s serving food in a shelter, supervising a night shift or touring with the support buses. There are many ways you can get involved. In our blog post on this topic, you will find detailed information, including emergency numbers for the cold buses, an overview of the organisations in each city and what other opportunities you have to support homeless people.
2 | NATURE & ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Preserving nature and the environment in the coming years and decades will be a mammoth task. And yet everyone can make a small contribution. The possibilities for volunteering in this area are incredibly diverse. They range from active gardening in participatory gardens or parks to organisational support for climate projects and ecological education projects at schools.
If you care about your environment, maybe even have a green thumb and want to do your part for a green and living environment, getting involved in nature conservation and environmental protection could be just the thing for you.
3 | EDUCATION
Education is an essential building block of a functioning democratic society. But unfortunately, educational opportunities are very unequally distributed. By getting involved in education, you can change this and support one or more people on their way. The target group you work for can be just as diverse as the type of commitment.
How about a reading mentorship for primary school children? Or rather tutoring for pupils in higher grades? Or perhaps you would like to support people who are currently looking for an apprenticeship? Or a language tandem with newcomers?
4 | CLEANUPS
Our urban nature has been neglected for far too long and, especially in big cities, litter has become an integral part of the street scene. Not only does it harm nature and animals, but ultimately also ourselves – one example: every carelessly discarded cigarette potentially contaminates 40 litres of groundwater. And plastic lying around in nature is often washed into the sea via rivers.
Fortunately, more and more organisations have emerged in recent years to tackle this problem and organise regular cleanups. The beauty of cleanups is that you don’t need more than a rubbish bag, a pair of gloves or a pair of tongs, and maybe a few friends to go out with you. Or you can join a cleanup in your city.
- e.g. GET INVOLVED WITH CLEANUPS IN YOUR CITY WITH OZEANKIND (GERMANY WIDE)
5 | SPONSORSHIPS
Sponsorships are not entirely dissimilar to volunteering activities in the field of education. Often, sponsorship is about learning together and supporting a mentee on their educational journey. But sponsorships can also go beyond that.
How about, for example, sponsoring an elderly person in a senior citizens’ home, where you keep them company and talk to them? Or a sponsorship with newcomers who you support with everyday things to make their arrival in a new city as pleasant as possible?
6 | UPCYCLING & ZERO WASTE
The unnecessary discarding of items and food that are actually still perfectly good is an enormous problem. Mountains of rubbish are becoming bigger and bigger, and the constant production of something new is wasting incredible amounts of resources.
There are now a lot of organisations working in food saving, repair used items or generally raise awareness of Zero Waste.
7 | DONATIONS IN KIND
Hand on heart: how many things do you have lying around at home that you don’t really need anymore? Whether it’s clothes, old books, games or tech gadgets – you can give many things that you have almost forgotten a new life. And at the same time, you can make social organisations and other people happy.
For example, find out if there are local organisations in your city to which you can donate things – for Berlin, for example, you can find a good overview here. You can easily find other cities and organisations by searching for “donations in kind + city”. Important: Check with the respective organisation which things are really needed before you bring items.
On vostel.de you can also find specific requests for donations in kind from our social partner organisations, which you can browse through. Maybe you’ll find a way to put a smile on someone else’s face. (You need to be logged in to use this site).
We hope you have found a volunteering activity that suits you. If not, you can find many more ideas on vostel.de.
Your vostel.de team hopes you have fun finding the right volunteering activity for you!