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One thing most people want to do when they move is to become part of their new community. There are many ways to do this, and one of the most effective is to volunteer your time in benefit of others.

Volunteering is a great way to help people, support causes and meet some new people. And parents can use volunteerism to teach their children lessons on the importance of public service if the family volunteers together.

And once you start sharing your time and energy with one cause, you’re likely to find out about others, and, before long, you could find yourself making a real difference. Here’s how to get started.

Town Hall: Your local government is sure to have information about all sorts of organizations in your area that are looking for volunteers. There may also be opportunities to serve on local committees or help out with community events.

Senior Centers: You can thank your neighborhood’s older citizens by going to senior centers to read to them, play games with them or just talk. If you have a talent, like singing, playing an instrument or performing magic, you may also share it with seniors. Senior centers also organize many trips, which you may be able to join in order to help out.

Schools: If you have young children, you’ll want to be involved with their schools, and volunteering is a great way to do that. You can chaperone dances and class trips, or maybe assist with school plays or help coaches of sports teams. Other options include working the concession stand at sports events or joining the PTA.

Animals: Animal shelters and rescue groups are often looking for help. This work can get kind of messy at times, but if you love cats and dogs, you’ll take great reward in helping those that don’t have homes. If you are a pet lover, you can even foster animals.

Town History: Your community may have a local historical society, historic house or even a museum. Donating your time supports the important mission of preserving the story of your area, and will also lead to a better understanding of the town you’ve moved to.

And, in return, your new community will appreciate that you’ve joined their efforts.

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