It’s a good time to be a geek. The Force Awakens comes out in four short months, geek fashion is finally becoming mainstream, and the fall TV schedule is jam packed with sci-fi, fantasy, and comic book shows. Why not celebrate our good fortune by giving back to the community? There are hundreds (if not thousands) of organizations across the globe who are all working to make this world a little bit better, one person and one subject at a time. With a little bit of work, you can find one that will make the most of your own geeky talents and interests.
You may ask yourself, why should I volunteer my valuable free time? There are so many benefits to volunteering. You’ll not only be giving back, but you’ll gain a valuable sense of accomplishment and almost always feel rewarded yourself. By finding an organization that fits your individual interests, you’ll inevitably start to meet other volunteers that share those interests. These new connections could be new friends, potential dates (if you’re single), possible networking opportunities, or mentors that will help you along your future path. Volunteering is an invaluable way to meet new people and learn new things, so get on out there and get to work!
Image Credit: Volunteer Match
Volunteer Match is a website featuring volunteer opportunities all across the U.S.. They’ve matched almost 10 million volunteers and currently have over 100,000 organizations represented on the site. You can search these opportunities by both city and interest. I would invite you to really think about what it is that you’re passionate about and how you might be able to give back to others while being involved with something that you love.
Here’s just a few examples of some worth-while organizations that may appeal to your geeky interests:
Image Credit: The Planetary Society
For you scientists and engineers out there, a wide-range of groups could use your help. You may want to start small (and local) and tutor underprivileged students in math and science. The Society of Women Engineers is a non-for-profit educational and service organization founded in 1950 which helps encourage and support women in engineering. For my fellow space-nerds, you could look into volunteering at your local observatory or support a national organization like The Planetary Society, chaired by one of our favorite science guys, Bill Nye.
Image Credit: Free Comic Book Day
If you’re a literary fanatic, you could find a local group that encourages children to read like the Los Angeles based group Reading to Kids which brings in monthly volunteers to read books to non-native English speakers. They even host a yearly superhero themed day! Free Comic Book Day has become a huge opportunity for fans to spread their love of comics, so why not volunteer to help out at an event next year or even organize a local event yourself at your neighborhood library? If you’re more of an activist, there’s also the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund which aims to protect the First Amendment rights of the comics community.
Image Credit: Represent.com
Image Credit: The 501st Legion
One of the geek community’s most infamous charitable groups is the 501st legion which supports charitable events in costume throughout the country. See, even bad guys do good.
Image Credit: Geek Girl Con
For you convention goers, there are plenty of non-profit cons in need of volunteer committee members like the charming GeekGirlCon in Seattle. Next year at Comic-Con International, make sure to sign up for the Robert A. Heinlein Blood Drive which has donated over 15,000 pints of blood to the San Diego Blood Bank since its inception almost 40 years ago.
These are just a tiny slice of what volunteer opportunities are available out there, so get those creative juices flowing and think about how you can give back to the community in the way that is most uniquely you. Good luck and get out there and do good!
Cover Image Credit: SweetClipArt.com