Take a Philanthropic Staycation

Summer is winding down. (We know, it went by way too fast.) If you’re running low on time to plan a vacation, consider setting up shop in town and helping others. Make it a family affair or go it alone, but either way before the summer is up take some time off to give back.

Whether you can donate a week of your time or just one day, hundreds of charities in your town are looking for willing volunteers. And the best part about this vacation? It won’t cost you a dime. And we promise it will be fun and rewarding—you may even get a tan in the process!

Need some locations to check out? Hospitals, schools, soup kitchens, mentorship programs, churches, meal delivery services, animal shelters, and community centers are all places to look. But we can guarantee that you won’t have to look long or hard to find an awesome cause to support.

Not only will you be helping others, you’ll be helping yourself. That’s right, volunteering is proven to lead to self-improvement in more ways than one:

Volunteering helps you make new contacts. Looking for a new friend, job, or just community of really great people? Volunteering can help you acquire all of these things—it can strengthen existing relationships as well as build new ones. It’s also a great experience to put on a resume if you’re on the lookout for a job.

Volunteering develops social skills. Bonding over helping others is a great strategy if you’re looking to brush up on your people skills. Volunteering gives you an awesome opportunity to meet a group of people with a common goal, making it easier to branch out and make new friends. Hello, improved communication skills. (This is great for young, shy teens or kids as well.)

Volunteering boosts self-confidence. This vacation keeps getting better and better. It can boost your confidence, self-esteem and overall life satisfaction. So rather than spending money on something you don’t need, save and boost your health in the process. Your efforts as a volunteer will give you a positive outlook on life and keep you motivated to work hard.

Volunteering combats depression. It’s a powerful feeling, helping others. If you or a loved one is battling depression, consider getting them to volunteer. Being around other people prevents social isolation, a key factor for developing depression. And studies have shown that people who volunteer rank themselves as happier than those who don’t.

So go on, start asking yourselves what type of cause you’re passionate about. What causes are important to you? How much time can you commit? What skills can you bring as a volunteer? What types of people would you like to help?

Good luck, and enjoy your staycation—we’re pretty confident it will be the best one ever.

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