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The Best Volunteer Gig for Your Personality

The Best Volunteer Gig for Your Personality

Deciding to be a good person is difficult, mostly because first you have to decide what kind of person you are. Matching yourself with a volunteer gig that's right for you requires peering deep into your soul and asking the question, "How do you feel about cleaning up dog poop?" Because the best volunteer experience, for you and for the people you're helping out, is one that you genuinely enjoy doing and that utilizes your natural talents (sadly, we have yet to find a charity for cheese eating, but we continue to look, focusing our search on the lactose intolerant in Wisconsin). Take this quiz to see which volunteer gig is right for you. We're pretty sure Mother Teresa took it before she opened her Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, and she's a saint now, so....

1. When an SPCA commercial with a Sarah McLaughlin song comes on, you...
a. Weep uncontrollably.
b. Feel sad, then get up to find more Cool Ranch Doritos.
c. Laugh.

If you answered A, you should work with animals. Some options: Volunteer at your local animal shelter or the SPCA, foster an abandoned animal, help out a local wildlife center, be a docent at the zoo, raise funds for local or international animal welfare organizations, like the World Wildlife Fund.
If you answered B, keep reading.
If you answered C, where are you? I'm coming to slap you in the face right now.

2. You believe children are...
a. Our future.
b. Cute only when they're sleeping.
c. Great free labor.

If you answered A, you should work with kids. Some options: Assist in a local Head Start classroom, become a Big Brother/Big Sister, tutor through your library or area schools, work at a children's hospital, volunteer at a community center or a Boys & Girls Club, donate your time or toys to an organization that cares for abused children.
If you answered B, keep reading.
If you answered C, let us suggest condoms or voluntary sterilization.

3. You think old people...
a. Have got this whole life thing figured out.
b. Smell kind of funny.
c. Are the weakest link in the evolutionary chain.

If you answered A, you should work with the elderly. Some options: Spend time with residents at a retirement home (I volunteered in an Alzheimer's and dementia unit in high school and college, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life), candy stripe at a hospital, set up a class teaching senators seniors how to use a computer, deliver Meals on Wheels, join an intergenerational mentoring program, help seniors record their stories for the StoryCorps oral history project.
If you answered B, keep reading.
If you answered C, you will regret it one day.

4. You think the term "disabled"...
a. Should be "differently abled."
b. Might be on your next vocabulary quiz.
c. Only refers to alarm systems.

If you answered A, you should work with the disabled. Some options: Volunteer at a veterans hospital, drive a van for a group that organizes special needs transportation, raise money or volunteer for the Special Olympics, get involved in an organization that offers recreational activities for the disabled, like Riding for the Disabled or Achilles International.
If you answered B, keep reading.
If you answered C, you probably have a police record.

5. You think living in a tent...
a. Is something no person should have to do.
b. Looks like this.
c. Sounds like a super cool idea.

If you answered A, you should work with the homeless. Some options: Volunteer at a local shelter or church that hosts temporary shelters, serve food at a soup kitchen, organize a clothing or food drive, offer administrative support at a local street newspaper, build a house through Habitat for Humanity, raise money for a hunger relief organization, like Feeding America, or an advocacy group like the National Coalition for the Homeless.
If you answered B, keep reading.
If you answered C, read this book.

6. You think books...
a. Change lives.
b. Make good movies.
c. Make good kindling.

If you answered A, you should work with literacy efforts. Some options: Sign up as a giver for World Book Night (I'm doing it, too!), tutor an ESL (English as a Second Language) student, read to kids at your local library, set up a book drive, start a community library or a borrow-a-book case at a local coffee shop, get books in the hands of kids by fundraising for First Book.
If you answered B, keep reading.
If you answered C, go back to Nazi Germany, where you came from.

6. The jeans in your closet...
a. Haven't fit for three years.
b. Match last year's prom dress.
c. Wait, what are jeans?

If you answered A, you should donate them to Teens for Jeans.
If you answered B, you should donate the pants to Teens for Jeans and the dress to Donate My Dress.
If you answered C, we give up, you sociopath. Look here for more ideas on finding volunteer opportunities.

Do you volunteer? Tell us about it!

Topics: Help Out!
Tags: quizzes, volunteering, teens for jeans, giving back

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About the Author

Kathryn Williams is the author of three YA novels but only one with an Oxford comma in the title. She is a Taurus and hates writing bios. Check out her website,, and follow her on Twitter @kathrynwauthor.

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