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Do good: Where to volunteer in Miami

As the New Year edges closer, giving back to the local community can be a great resolution for 2016. Figure out what makes you tick and donate a little time once a week or even once a month to make Miami a better place for everyone. If you’re having a little trouble finding the right opportunity, check out HandsOn Miami, a comprehensive resource for volunteer opportunities in Greater Miami. Another option is VolunteerMatch, which is a national organization that lists volunteer opportunities all around the country. To get you started, here are a few organizations looking for helping hands over the holidays and in the New Year.

Animals

Courtesy of angela n./Flickr Creative Commons

Humane Society
The Humane Society makes sure our furry friends are off the streets and in loving homes. Cuddle with some puppies and pet some kittens for a few hours a day before they are adopted. If that’s not your thing, there are plenty of opportunities to help, from pet biography writing to dog walking. And if you want to open your home to a new furry friend, join the foster care program and care for orphaned animals until they are adopted.
Contact: 305-749-1843, [email protected]

Children and Youth

Big Brothers Big Sisters
Change the life of a kid in need by becoming a mentor and confidant to a Miami child or teen. Help them, teach them, take them on adventures, and, most importantly, be a positive role model in their lives. Build a relationship that can last a lifetime, one afternoon at a time.
Contact: 305-644-0066, [email protected]

Courtesy of carvalho/Flickr Creative Commons

Florida Guardian ad Litem
As a Florida Guardian ad Litem, you can become an advocate for children who have been victims of abuse, abandonment, and neglect. During monthly visits, guardians gain valuable perspective into their lives which can program attorneys with an objective voice in court. Volunteers are critical to making sure these children are in healthy and safe homes.
Contact: 305-679-2222, [email protected]

Environment

Urban Paradise Guild
Urban Paradise Guild works to make Miami-Dade a better place to live for both people and wildlife. They recreate and protect native habitats for nature, and help low-income families by planting vegetable gardens and fruit trees. The guild has volunteer opportunities 6 times per week, with the ultimate goal of helping combat the causes and effects of sea-level rise in Miami’s future.
Contact: [email protected]

Trash clean-up hosted by ECOMB. (Courtesy of ECOMB)
Trash clean-up hosted by ECOMB. (Courtesy of ECOMB)

VolunteerCleanup.org
VolunteerCleanup.org is an organization that works to gather groups of people to clean up trash along the coastal waterways. There are a number of local cleanup events posted on the website and updated frequently. Just find the cleanup that works best for you.
Contact: [email protected]

Homelessness and Housing

Lotus House
Since opening its doors in 2006, Lotus House has helped give more than 1,700 of Miami’s homeless women a second chance. Miami-Dade County has more than 30,500 homeless people, and nearly 34% of them are women, some with young children. They are always looking for volunteers to help with weekly events. They also accept clothing donations for their thrift store, with proceeds benefiting the shelter.
Contact: 305-438-0556, [email protected]

Camillus House
Serving Miami-Dade’s homeless community for more than 50 years, Camillus House offers a full-service center for Miami’s poor and homeless. This includes meals, showers, shelter, drug treatment, rehabilitation, and career help. They are always looking for volunteers to help with everything from serving food, to teaching classes, to writing letters.
Contact: 305-374-1065 ext. 438, [email protected],

Habitat for Humanity
Almost 1,000 families in Miami-Dade now have a home thanks to Habitat for Humanity’s presence in the county. The organization has helped build homes in Liberty City, Miami Gardens, Highland Park, South Miami, and Homestead, among countless communities across the world. Put on a hardhat and help create a new home for a community member in need. If physical labor isn’t your thing, don’t worry — the organization also needs help running ReStore, a shop that sells donated building materials, appliances, and household furniture to the public.
Contact: 305-634-3628, [email protected]

Senior Citizens

Courtesy of Ben Smith/Flickr Creative Commons
Courtesy of Ben Smith/Flickr Creative Commons

Hospice Care of South Florida
Help the elderly by providing company and friendship to an older member of our community. These senior citizens have helped us build Miami into what it is today — listen to their stories of the past, and it just might help you appreciate the present. This non-profit center also needs administrative and organizational assistance.
Contact: Maria Castro, 305-591-1606

Have more ideas for giving back? We’d love your suggestions for other organizations doing good in Miami.