10 Ways to Give Back this Summer

by Jon Aguilar, CFGD Communications Assistant

There comes a special time every year when the trees turn green with life and the sights, smells, and sounds of summer are alive. Amid the barbeques, family reunions, and fireworks, here are ten ways you and your family can give back to your community this season:

1. Buy fresh, buy local

My all time favorite thing to do each summer is to take a walk through my local farmers' market. There's nothing quite like biting into a fresh salad made with local ingredients or tasting some local wine.

2. Coach a youth team

Make getting involved fun and active.  This is a great opportunity to give kids some pointers and become a role model for area youth.

3. Volunteer

In the summer, there's no shortage of ways to become involved. Volunteer at a local food pantry, adopt-a-highway, or walk animals at an area shelter.

4. Plan a volunteer vacation

A new trend for many travel agencies is a volunteer vacation. To this day, one of the most memorable trips I've ever taken was a trip to inner-city LA with my college wind symphony to mentor youth. We gave youngsters the opportunity to play some of our instruments and even conduct our group in front of a live audience.  Imagine seeing the joy on that kid's face as we followed her every whim with every wave of the baton!

5. Help build a house

Home is where the heart is. Spend a Saturday building for a local organization.

6. Become a summer mentor

Find an opportunity to make a difference in a child's future.

7. Volunteer to read at your local library

Many area libraries offer summer reading programs and are always searching for new storytellers.

8. Visit a retirement home

There is a sad reality that many individuals in retirement homes may not see family often or at all. Whether it's playing cards, painting nails, or listening to life stories, paying a visit is something that they’ll always remember and appreciate.

9. Plant a tree or a vegetable garden

Help make your community more beautiful by giving Mother Nature a hand.

10. Donate to a cause you care about

What’s your passion? The Giving Center is a place where you can discover and explore nonprofit organizations while learning more about the issues that matter to you.