This week I volunteered for two non-profits. One trains volunteers to teach English as a Second Language and has a newsletter they'd like help with. This will both give me writing clips and teaching experience (I'm thinking of teaching to supplement writing income). The second non-profit has no writers on staff and needs help with PR (public relations work should be great for networking & building the resume). They also have a newletter they need articles for. I'm hoping my work in the organizations will help get my name out there in the community; there's also a more personal reason I chose to volunteer at these places. I don't just want to write to see my name in print. I want to write about something I care about and actually make a difference.
After struggling with the German langauge barrier in Austria, I really want to help the immigrants who are having the same problems here. I can't describe how lonely it felt to NOT be able to hold a conversation on the bus, at the grocery store...or understand what the people around me were saying (eavesdropper that I am!). I spent my time in public afraid that someone might talk to me and I wouldn't understand a word they said; I was embarrassed because I couldn't seem to get a grip on the language. I always felt like an outsider & had trouble doing the simplest things: making doctors' appointments, reading the newspaper. I want to help someone else gain language skills so they don't feel so isolated & insecure.
The second non-profit helps people who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness get back on their feet. It seems like people in these situations are so alone and lack family & friends who can help them out. I'd like to increase community support by getting word out and writing articles about them and the program. That's one of the reasons I like writing so much: you can get inside peoples' minds and (at the risk of sounding like a cheeseball) make a difference.