Whether you wear all black to mourn the day that you feel like a have-not—like all the other Sneetches have stars on their bellies and you have not…or if you are wrapped in a cocoon of love and romance…You might be impatiently waiting for chocolate to go on sale tomorrow, sneer at the commerciality you see in a made-up holiday, or fervently wish to share it with another. We all have different, and complex relationships to Valentine’s Day. Regardless of whether it is a card from Grandma, a bag full of construction paper hearts on your classroom desk, or a hand-made representation of true deep feelings, most every expression of this day comes with a heart.
In that vein (yuk yuk), here are some volunteer opportunities tied to the heart. I say ALL volunteering is tied to the heart…but these have “heart” in their name…
American Heart Association needs volunteers to create a world free of heart disease and stroke. You can help create and work events large and small, support international conferences and programs, work in education and resource development, teach or support CPR training, offer support to stroke survivors and their families and caregivers, start an advocacy campaign, or choose from so many other volunteer roles.
Heart to Heart International focuses on global aid and medical logistics, especially in areas hard hit by disasters. They need volunteers for typhoon relief in the Philippines as well as ongoing opportunities in clinics in Haiti, plus volunteers to do administrative work, assemble care kits, warehouse work, and more.
One Heart Source works to empower young people in Tanzania and South Africa through education and quality care. The focus is on abuse victims, those affected by HIV/AIDS, orphans and abandoned children, and street kids. Volunteers work in local communities to educate and create positive social uplift with a dedicated and passionate international team.
Volunteer Heart Ambulance of Staten Island, New York, is a 100% volunteer ambulance/Emergency Medical Services corps.
Open Heart Kitchen in Livermore, California, relies on volunteers to serve 750 meals every day to those who are hungry in the community.
Project Angel Heart makes a critical difference in the lives of people living with life-threatening illnesses. Based in Denver and Colorado Springs (though I bet there is a similar project in your area too!) they bring nutritious meals to the homes of clients throughout those communities. Volunteer opportunities abound for adults, youth, teams and classes, internships, and special events.
Mended Hearts is a national and community-based organization offering support for heart patients and their families. Volunteers can do hospital visits, lend support and involvement in local chapters, health information leaders, newsletter assistance, and more.
Heart of L.A. uses wonderful volunteers to serve the youth in the Rampart District, giving kids a chance at a great life via mentoring, organizational support, and special events teams.
Art With a Heart is an Indianapolis-based organization serving underserved youth. Volunteers teach art classes, summer camp, work behind the scenes, do weekend creativity classes, and more, to help kids facing challenges find freedom through expression.
…and the list goes on and on…
Again, I say ALL volunteering is heart-based, and of course there are as many volunteer opportunities and needs as any interested one of us could throw ourselves into–many many more, in fact. As you are surrounded by hearts today, look into yours and sign up for a new, inspiring way to express your love through service. It’s even better than chocolate. I promise.