Back on January 15th I mentioned we'd taken the kids to Alley Cat Rescue in Brentwood, Maryland. What I neglected to mention at the time was how we found out about the volunteer opportunity of playing with the cats and kittens still waiting for homes.
In November I'd done some research into places that would allow relatively young kids to "help out." Most places won't let kids play any role until they are in their teens, but Alley Cat Rescue welcomes anyone who wants to spend some time socializing with the felines. After all, a human socialized cat is an easier cat to adopt out.
That's where VolunteerMatch.org came into play. All it asks is where you are, how far you're willing to travel and what your interests are. It will spit back loads of options, both limited offerings like weekend adoption clinics, or long-term efforts like the Alley Cat Rescue. The interest options vary far and wide from animals to politics to refugee support. Most of the opportunities don't require a heavy time requirement from the volunteer either, so they can be tailored to your own availability.
Plug in your zip code and see what comes up. You might be surprised and perhaps you'll find you do have that time and energy to truly give back to the community you live in, doing something you really love.