Serve Small


Often times, when I am talking about my volunteer work, people state “Oh, I wish I could do that, but I’m too busy” or “That would be a great group to be apart of, but I don’t think I have time.”

The definition of community service is: voluntary work intended to help people in a particular area. This definition allows great ideas for many different ways to help serve the community. An individual can serve largely by helping with natural disaster cleanup, donating time or money, or serving many hours of their time with an organization. All parts of volunteering matter and add up to equal a bigger picture.

For example, if you stop using plastic disposable straws in restaurants or in your home, you can reduce waste in your community landfill and save plastic from entering rivers, lakes, and potentially oceans, therefore helping wildlife. The smallest actions have the biggest chain reactions furthering my explanation of how you don’t always have to serve on a three hour volunteer project each week to make a difference.

A snow storm comes, and you have an elderly neighbor that is physically unable to shovel her driveway. You can serve her by shoveling her driveway, while you are out doing your own.

It’s officially spring cleaning season and you have piles of clothes that you don’t wear sitting in your room. Instead of selling them, donate them to your local shelter for others to use.

A classmate is injured and on crutches and is having a hard time carrying their books between classes. Help carry anything they have or help them get different books out of their locker.

We have encountered all of these situations at some point in our lives, whether we took the opportunity to help and performed an act of service without realizing it or passing by it because it wasn’t considered an act of service worthy enough for your time, it was. The smallest of services usually have the biggest impact.

For example, visiting with your elderly neighbor for ten minutes may not seem like anything to you, but for them it may mean everything.

Babysitting for a single mom so she can shower or go get groceries is another simple way to help others, without taking half of your day.

I always encourage people to become involved in their community by joining volunteering teams to help serve on a greater level, but even the smallest acts never go unaccounted for.

As Whoopi Goldberg said,

“If every american donated five hours a week, it would equal the labor of 20 million full-time volunteers.”

Next time you are leaving practice, ask a peer if they need a ride home. When you are sitting at home playing on Facebook, call that neighbor and ask how they are and if you could come over just to talk. At a restaurant, when the waiter puts a straw on your table, think about the wildlife you could help by not using it. Use a Starbucks reusable cup instead of the plastic disposable one. Make a goal for the amount of times you will start to volunteer a week, even if it is as simple as giving someone half of your sandwich at lunch.

Small ways to serve in your community:

  • Get in touch with the local animal shelter to see what supplies they need
  • Mow your neighbor’s grass
  • Share your lunch or buy someone’s lunch
  • Think eco friendly when buying, or using plastic
  • Give your classmate a ride home after practice
  • Donate your unused clothes to a shelter
  • Participate Adopt-a-Family during the Christmas season
  • Help a neighbor do daily house maintenance
  • Carry an injured classmates books
  • Offer to babysit someone’s kid(s) so they can run errands
  • Help tutor a friend or classmate


Leah Craig is an active youth volunteer with YVC of St. Joseph. She currently serves on YVC’s International Youth Advisory Board and is a YVC Brand Ambassador.




























Photo by Kat Yukawa on Unsplash