Utahns consistently top national studies for having the highest percentage of residents who volunteer. For the past seven years, in fact, Utah has been listed in the No. 1 slot, according to a report from Volunteering and Civic Life in America.
Whether those charitable opportunities come through sharing of talents, time spent or monetary donations, an average of 40.9 percent of adults in Utah volunteer, compared to the national average of 26.8 percent. And more than half — 52 percent — of Utah parents volunteer, compared to the national average of 34 percent.
Provo also tops the list as the top volunteer city in the nation with Ogden and Salt Lake City ranking No. 2 and No. 4 respectively, according to a study by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
With those stats consistently ranking Utah at the top, it should be no surprise that this industrious Beehive State is also rich with a volunteerism spirit and multiple opportunities for individuals, religious groups, civic organizations and even businesses to easily give back to the community.
Seeking out the best volunteer opportunities can potentially become overwhelming when presented with the multitude of options. Instead of leaning toward the most popular charities — food banks, shelters or thrift stores — that are often already inundated with assistance, look to unique companies, non-profit businesses or youth organizations for some inspiration.
With a little self-analysis everyone can find a volunteering perfect fit. Ask yourself a few questions to help identify where you will make the biggest impact. For example:
• What are you passionate about?
• What is your favorite pastime?
• What are some of your talents?
Are you an insatiable book lover? Why not take your love of literature to the local schools and help teach elementary students to read or assist in the Storytelling program at the Orem City Library.
Have you always longed to be on stage, singing, dancing and acting in the spotlight but suffer from severe stage fright? Why not volunteer as an usher or ticket taker for the Covey Center for the Arts. Or maybe you could serve up buttery popcorn behind the concession counter at SCERA Center for the Arts.
Do you love working with children who might have special needs? Clear Horizons Academy loves volunteers at their school for autistic children. Or maybe you want to help youth who might be homeless. Juvenile Justice Services is looking for people to help collect items used to build Fresh Start Moving Kits for those young men and women.
If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen and baking is a particular passion, there are even volunteer opportunities for you. In fact one volunteer listing found at www.unitedwayucv.org calls for someone willing to bake weekly birthday cakes that will be delivered to hospice patients in the valley.
Handy with a sewing machine? Volunteers are needed to sew pajama bottoms, quilts or pillowcases for pediatric patients, according to the Utah Valley Healthcare Foundation. Afterall, no one likes to walk around in just a breezy hospital gown, especially kids.
Companies, too, can make an even larger impact in the community when they gather employees for regular volunteer days. One example would be enlisting employees to assist the lunchtime meal service to the patrons of Provo’s Food and Care Coalition. Or maybe your company could host a clothing drive for people needing warm winter coats.
Habitat for Humanity, Kids on the Move, Community Actions Services and Food Bank and the Boys & Girls Club all have an abundance of options for large groups of volunteers.
For a complete listing of charitable opportunities in Utah Valley, contact The United Way. By revealing what your passions are and with The United Way’s volunteer listings, you are sure to find amazing, affirming options that will help Utah continue to top national volunteer studies.