Serving With Your Skills

"We teach human dignity best by serving it where it is most likely to be disregarded, in the poor and abandoned." – Father Hesburgh

How can we use our own talents and skills to improve the lives of those less fortunate? The answer is different for each of us. What is important is that we do not sit idly, but rather actively seek opportunities to use our skills to address the needs of the poor and marginalized in our communities. The opportunities are endless, but here are some ideas:

Leadership: Non-profit organizations that work to meet the needs of the poor and marginalized often have opportunities to serve on their boards. If you have business acumen, consider serving on a board for a nonprofit organization. Particularly helpful skills include strategic planning, budget management, succession planning, and human resources.

Tax Assistance: Tax preparation is a stressful event, particularly for those with the least economic resources. Help those in need by offering free tax preparation services.

Carpentry: If you observe a dilapidated home, or are aware of a poor or elderly family in need of home repair, offer your artisan skills for free. If you are skilled at making furniture, consider making basic pieces such as beds or dressers and donating them to organizations such as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

Tutoring: For children and adults alike, tutoring is a gift that can be both given and received. Help empower others through education. Consider teaching Adult Basic Education classes or offering to tutor a child in a subject in which you excelled. Volunteer at an after-school program in a poor school or tutor for free in a library.

Marketing: Nonprofit organizations and/or fundraisers with a mission to serve the poor generally operate on very limited budgets. If you enjoy promoting and advertising events or initiatives, consider offering your marketing skills for free to a cause aligned with your values.

Financial Literacy: Offer to teach high school or college students about how to set budgets, maintain a savings account, manage credit, and avoid debt.

Music Lessons: If you sing or play an instrument, consider offering free lessons to a school in need.

“As each one has received a gift, use it to serve one another as good stewards of God’s varied grace.” – 1 Peter 4:10