Introverts Guide to Helping Communities and Protecting Civil Rights
Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the number of individuals interested in protecting and promoting civil rights. The state of women’s reproductive rights, LGBT rights, immigration and illegal immigration rights and religious rights are always, to some extent, in precarious water.
If you’re at all concerned about civil rights, now might be the time to get involved. Join the thousands of Americans that volunteer their time and money to international, national, state or local non-profits.
As an introvert, volunteering can be an intimidating and stressful prospect. You need to go to a public place, talk to strangers, and potentially navigate new tasks. It’s bad enough prospects for many introverts without a long work week filled with conversations with co-workers, managers, and customers.
If your gut instinct is to hide out at home when both work and volunteering fall within the same week, I get it. Don’t give up on the idea of volunteering yet. There are strategies that introverts can utilize to alleviate the social pressure and stress of volunteering.
Volunteer Through College
If you’re an introverted college student, there are a variety of different ways to volunteer without the prospect of being surrounded by total strangers that don’t share a common affiliation. (You might not know anyone at the volunteer or social event, but at least you will have a common bond of attending the same school. That can be an easy conversation starter.)
How can you volunteer at college?
- Join a volunteer based club. (Eventually, you will become familiar enough with your fellow club members, volunteering won’t be that painful).
- Sign up for summer or winter holiday volunteer events. (ASU, for example, has a 9-day Taste of Peace Corps study abroad event).
- Ask friends or close classmates to volunteer with you at student, professor, or college planned civil rights or general volunteer events.
Don’t worry if the events or volunteer opportunities aren’t directly tied to civil rights. If that’s why you’re getting involved, think of general volunteer opportunities as a training ground to get you comfortable for other volunteer opportunities.
Volunteer Through Work
Here’s a bit of truth. Usually, it grinds my gears when co-workers, managers, or the company as a whole, try to push me into volunteering. I get enough social pressure to give in my free time, I don’t need it at work! (It happens fairly often in most workplaces because corporate volunteering can be a way for the company to give back and cultivate a positive brand image.)
Despite my own issues with corporate volunteering, it can be an easier way for introverts to ease into volunteering. You will most likely be surrounded by at least one co-worker, you’re comfortable with. And chances are, at least one or two of the participants, will be able to show you the ropes. Both prospects will ease what could be a stressful situation.
Various Other Manners to Volunteer to Help Your Community
If even the prospect of volunteering with fellow students, co-workers, or work friends seems too stressful, there are many other ways to volunteer your time that can effectively help communities and civil rights movements.
- Donate money to local, state, or national organizations.
- Pay for subscriptions to local, state, or national newspapers or news sites. (They’re often the civil rights watchdogs.)
- Write guest posts or become a contributor at sites that will occasionally allow you to write about social or community issues that you believe are important.
- Write or call your state and federal representatives about important issues.
- Do your homework on officials up for election in future elections and votes (even if you live in a state that historically votes for a party that doesn’t align with your beliefs).
It’s important to remember that maintaining ‘basic’ civil rights is a continual battle. The more people who volunteer their time, their money, and their skills to aid local, state, and national organizations that help local communities and protect our civil rights, the better our society will be. Even introverts who might find the prospect of volunteering intimidating and exhausting can find ways to give back.
Samantha Stauf is a freelance writer who spends her time reading, writing and snowshoeing. You can find her on Twitter at @samstauf.
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