How to avoid a pointless summer

Everyone loves summer – the season of vacations, weekend barbecues, and relaxing nights spent with friends. For those of us who are on break from school or are graduated and hunting for jobs, summer is also a perfect time to try new ways to get involved and give back to the community.

For those of us who are on that 9-5 grind, volunteering can help liven up a routine week and help you make non-work friends. Plus, if you’ve recently relocated, volunteering is a great way to meet fellow world-changers who might know a bit more about your new city than you do. (Hello, new favorite brunch spot!)

But it’s not always easy to take that first step and find something you would want to do. We get it. We’ve been there. That’s why we’ve compiled this nifty list to make your search a bit easier 😉

If you’re in Columbus, Ohio, pick an interest, and we will give you a way to get involved! Easy, quick, and to the POINT. 

Don’t call CBus home? Carry on! We invite you to steal our ideas and look local – or ask us for help!

For those that love doggos and kittens

The tasks: dog training, dog/ cat/ rabbit care, special events, and administration
The perks: tail wags, puppy kisses, cuddles, new friends, dibs on adoption for the new pups and kittens that come in, and stress relief
The process: fill out an application and complete STEPS training
The location: 3015 Scioto Darby Executive Ct., Hilliard OH, 43026

The tasks: 
dog walking, grooming, adoption counseling, showing off the dogs on radio or TV spots, photography, and more
The perks: being surrounded by dogs, exercise (goodbye unused gym membership), helping a little kid pick out their first pet, potential big break as a TV star
The process: Fill out an application, attend an orientation, complete training
The location: 4340 Tamarack Blvd., Columbus, OH 43229

The tasks: 
helping at the shelter, transporting pets to adoption events, fostering
The perks: cat cuddles, handshakes from eager pups, temporarily having your own pet
The process: fill out an application, attend orientation – the first or third Thursday of the month
The location: 629 Oakland Park Ave., Columbus, OH 43214

For the ones who like to get a little dirty

COMMUNITY GARDENS (there are hundreds in Columbus!) 
The tasks: 
weeding, watering, planting, harvesting, fertilizing
The perks: fresh and healthy snacks while you work (sugar snap peas straight off the vine are a winner), getting a nice tan, unintentional arm work outs, meeting people who can give you great new recipes for the food you harvest
The process: find a community garden near you on this directory, and contact the garden manager to find the best time to go
The location: your own community! 

The tasks: 
litter clean up, invasive species removal, tree planting, special events, office upkeep, research
The perks: getting some fresh air, meeting environmentally-conscious friends, helping keep Ohio beautiful, saving the planet
The process: pick the closest watershed group and contact the director
The location: Olentangy (Friends of the Lower Olentangy Watershed | info@olentangywatershed.org), Alum Creek (Friends of Alum Creek and Tributaries | service@friendsofalumcreek.org), Darby Creek (Friends of Darby Creek Association | 614-562-8317), Big Walnut (Friends of Big Walnut Creek and Tributaries | (614) 233-4124) 

For the helpers and caretakers

The tasks: provide support to patients and families, work the information desk, keep kiddos safe in the sibling clubhouse
The perks: helping families get through rough days, helping a sick kid have fun, giving the parents a break from watching their other children, hugs and thank yous
The process: fill out an application (if you apply this month you can start volunteering in July), background check, orientation, TB test, Tdap and flu vaccination, purchase a volunteer polo
The location: 700 Children’s Drive Columbus, Ohio 43205

The tasks: 
home visits, outings, running errands, having good conversations and lively banter
The perks: building a relationship with someone you wouldn’t have interacted with otherwise, hearing cute stories about grandkids, possibly getting access to an amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe
The process: call 614-457-7876 ext 244 to learn more and begin the screening process
The location: Hilliard, UA, Dublin, Lewis Center

The tasks: 
holding and soothing drug-addicted babies, literally just snuggling the tiny humans
The perks: stress relief, the joy that comes from holding a baby, helping a child who was born addicted to heroin or methadone get healthy
The process: fill out an application and attend orientation
The location: Akron’s children’s hospital

For the ones that love serving families in need

The tasks: 
providing a safe space for a refugee family to transition to life in the US, help them adjust to US customs and social norms, help them locate resources available to them, help them feel welcome for their first few days in a new country
The perks: making a friend from a very different background, learning words in a new language, trying some new foods and introducing others to your own classic cuisine
The process: apply online and get a background check
The location: Columbus/ your house! 
*if you can’t host a family, check out these other awesome options 

The tasks: 
helping prepare and serve lunches, playing with kids, help with special events, donating food and supplies
The perks: children everywhere, helping make sure your community is well-fed, becoming a friend and mentor to children
The process: fill out this online form 
The location: Hilliard, Ohio

The tasks: 
donate old furniture, help move it in to homes, organize storage spaces
The perks: get rid of that old couch that doesn’t match the decor, get a good workout in from moving furniture (remember to lift with your legs!), basically be like one of the team members from Extreme Makeover Home Edition
The process: you can apply to volunteer here, or request a free pickup for old furniture here
The location: homes in Columbus 

This summer, make a POINT to give back to Columbus in some way. 

And if you live in a different city, let us know and we can help you find places to volunteer there! So many neat opportunities come from volunteering – you might meet your soul mate, or your best friend, or be introduced to someone who can help you find a new job doing something you are passionate about. 

Let us know where you volunteer by tagging us on Instagram or Twitter (@pointapp) and using the hashtag #makeapoint ! 

Photo Lindsey Schad
Lindsey Schad
Head of Communication Team

No guilt trips, no sad stories. Just a chance to do something good.