A Helping Hand with Hands on Atlanta

There is more than one way to serve, and opportunities abound to give of your time and resources. Atlanta is a city bursting with life and growth, and part of that is the spirit to help, to make better. Hands On Atlanta is an organization that helps non-profit companies find volunteer helpers for their good works. If you’re interested in civic works and community service, Hands On Atlanta can help.

My protracted fling with Hands On Atlanta began several years ago, in 2007. It was late summer, if I remember correctly, and I wasn’t feeling very satisfied with my volunteer efforts up to that point. I usually applied to work at a place alone, and was one of a few volunteers working alongside employees and feeling like I should get paid for the work I was doing, same as them. I was not getting the moral support I really needed, as none of my friends or family are the volunteer type, and they could not understand why I was wasting time working for free.

Bear with me here; it gets better.

So, there I am, feeling lonely and unappreciated and pathetic, and along comes a request for groups of volunteers to help Habitat for Humanity, through Hands On Atlanta. It sounded intriguing, so I went to Google for more information, never having heard of Hands On Atlanta before. Lo and behold, Hands on Atlanta is a local project that helps organize interested people in various non-profit projects around the Greater Atlanta area. I was especially impressed by TeamWorks, where they group several people into teams, and the teams can volunteer together. It was a great way to meet people and make a difference! I signed up immediately. This is how I found a like-minded group of people who understood the particular draw of fulfilling one’s civic duty. Not the whole team needed to work together every time, but as each opportunity came up, usually 2 – 6 of us committed together, and occasionally, the entire team would commit to a project. So, over the next few months, I would see the same increasingly familiar faces all over Atlanta, and it made the whole prospect a little less lonely and self-sacrificing.

So, speaking of laziness, I love the internet, and here is where it shines: connecting people of vastly different places or races or languages or religions or backgrounds, people who would otherwise never meet…finding commonalities without being restricted by those differences. Hands On Atlanta is part of the Hands On Network, an international association of many volunteer service coordinators. And they have numerous resources to establish ties between interested volunteer individuals and groups. It’s a simple thing to search for particular types of projects you would be most interested in working on by location, focus, skills required, level of need, or time. They keep an extensive database accessible on their website or monthly print magazine. And if that’s not enough, you can sign-up for the email newsletter. The people in charge are easy to talk to and passionate about this type of work.

If you are at all interested in donating your time, skills, or more, visit Hands On Atlanta’s website at www.handsonatlanta.org.