Do you ever wonder how you can make a difference without joining the Peace Corps? Although a mission abroad can be an invaluable experience for those who serve and for the communities who are served, more often than not scheduling, financial resources or personal commitments keep you at home. But you can stay stateside and still make a difference.
Faith in action. What about the Jesuit Volunteer Corps? Its mission is to “engage passionate young people in vital service within poor communities.” Spirituality, a simple lifestyle, community and social justice are its hallmarks. Or consider AmeriCorps’s shorter domestic placements and financial incentives toward future education.
Plenty of fish. If months or years of volunteering is still not doable, check with non-profit organizations that may offer mission opportunities at home and abroad for durations less than two weeks.
Connect with Catholic Refugee Services. The U.S. takes in many refugees, and Catholic social service agencies are often the local partners working with government agencies to help resettle. Refugees need help financially and with cultural integration until they can get on solid footing in a new country. Volunteer locally to help with their transition into your community, or donate to support those that do.
Language love. Learning English is one of the most important skills that refugees need to be successful in America. Local non-profits or community organizations provide training and can connect you with eager students. Formal English as a second language (ESL) training and certification skills can be transferred to teaching abroad later on.
Newman Center or cultural connections on campus. Check out the Newman Center on your campus for food, relaxation, prayer, worship and volunteer opportunities. Some universities offer programs that connect international students with locals to become friends, learn about American culture, and have somewhere to celebrate the holidays. Volunteer to create a friendship that will last a lifetime.