In January President Obama called for a National Day of Service to coincide with Martin Luther King Day. All across the nation people just like you and I spent time that day volunteering in pre-set activities that benefited their community specifically.

The Nationwide Service Initiative is aimed at getting people together to work for the greater good in their own communities, strengthening the tie and relationships within local communities so that communities can change for the better. It is a two part initiative providing for expansion of existing organizations by engaging new volunteers and also encourages individuals and groups to develop their own programs and projects that will benefit the community as well. There is a National Service Day on September 11th each year as well as a National Volunteer Week.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) program was kicked off by the President and First Lady in June of 2009 and has shown steadily increasing support across the nation; each year more volunteers get involved – in December 2012 it was announced that volunteerism was at a 5 year high. With help already on the ground and more on the way, national service participants and volunteers worked feverishly to help storm-ravaged towns in Mississippi rebuild and recover from the aftermath of devastating tornadoes and Hurricane Sandy.

In 2012 the administration also launched Together for Tomorrow (TFT), the joint initiative of the U.S. Department of Education, White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to spur community engagement in turning around our nation’s lowest performing schools, today launched its School Improvement Challenge for the 2012-13 school year on which is a volunteer based program  and AmeriCorps remains a huge volunteer organization.

The website has query to fill in with your interests and location to find volunteering opportunities near you or you can choose to develop your own program by clicking on the volunteer toolkit. Opportunities in my area including reading books to elderly or shut ins, feeding the homeless at an empty bowl dinner, fix it helpers, beautification projects, mentoring and more. There are truly volunteer opportunities that require just a few hours per month that can fit most any skill level or you can choose your own project and get volunteers to help you execute it on the same site.

So…….no matter what your politics or religious preferences are, or where you live there are  so many opportunities, so easy to find or develop there is really no reason not to get involved and start making a difference in your community.