Every time an individual or small group recognizes a problem that could be addressed in the community, country, or around the globe, and decides to do something about it, the spirit of volunteering ignites. America has a history of volunteering, and many unpaid positions serve vital needs in our cities and towns.
Groups often start by raising awareness around a cause or issue, attracting other individuals who share the vision and re willing to do the work involved. Sometimes these grass roots efforts evolve into large organizations with extensive read. For example, the American Red Cross began in 1881, when founder Clara Barton rallied a small group of friends with a common interest in protecting those injured in war. Over one hundred years later, the American Red Cross still relies on volunteer service in times of crisis and dire need. For example, the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, the devastating hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast area in 2005, and international disasters such as the Indonesian earthquake in 2006 have called for American Red Cross intervention and help.
The Sierra Club, another grass roots effort, started in 1892, and has now become the oldest and largest organization of its kind. Created to protect marine and public lands, the Sierra Club today supports pro-environmental candidates, promotes clean air and energy efficiency, and is involved in the battle against global climate change. Local and national chapters rely on volunteers for fund raising, office work, and even educational services such as designing curriculum teachers can use in their classrooms.
Match Your Volunteer Style
Once you decide to volunteer, determining where, when, and how to serve is the next step. Is it your nature to join a larger, more established organization like the ones discussed here? Or are you more likely to find a small group that is addressing a local issue or need? Could a hospital, hospice or school inspire you to donate your time and talent? Perhaps you have the pioneering spirit and passion to start an organization of your own with a specific mission in mind. Volunteering takes so many forms and has so many faces! Your sign of the zodiac may have a bearing on the kind of work you're most suited to and the type of cause you're motivated by.
By exploring your Sun sign, you may see how your personality is best matched to volunteer opportunities. Are you an air sign suited to people-oriented work or an earth sign preferring a hands-on position? An independent sign like Sagittarius might engage in activities varying in time and purpose, while a Taurus, for example, may thrive more on regularly scheduled hours and work. According to each sign's traits, there are some suggestions ahead followed by your volunteer horoscope.
Aries, as the first sign of the zodiac, you're a born initiator. Being involved at the launch of a volunteer group will be most exciting for some of you. Other Aries may be good at getting new projects started within existing organizations. With Mars as Aries ruler, you can draw on your energy and courage for rescue work, crisis intervention, or volunteer fire fighting. As the sign of the child, you may dedicate your talents to coaching, assisting in schools, or organizing sports and games in after-school programs. In the political world, you assume the role of presenter if your group has a voice in city council, school board, or other government meetings.
As an earth sign, you're matched for hands-on, active volunteer roles, Taurus. Ruled by Venus, many of you have talent in the arts and can lend your skills in music, dance, crafts, and design in a variety of ways. Your patience makes you a great candidate for work with young people, the physically challenged or the elderly. You might entertain them with your songs, stories, or other performance art, donate your time for painting and beautifying, or use your green thumb to plant in parks or community gardens for all to enjoy. Strong and able, you also find building and constructing appealing. You could be a great asset to Habitat for Humanity, an organization dedicated to building affordable housing for those in need.
Gemini, your versatility makes you a great volunteer! Finding the cause to commit yourself to may be your greatest challenge since you have so many interests. People-oriented work that keeps you on the move is likely to suit your personality well. Meals on Wheels or another service involving visits with older people or shut ins keeps you interested and makes good use of your conversational skills. Job coaching, resume writing and tutoring for people who need a boost academically or professionally would also be a way to share your expertise with others. Ruled by planet Mercury, you could also consider becoming a literary volunteer.
Your nurturing nature opens you to many volunteer roles that require caring and compassion, Cancer. How can you best express that urge to help? If you're the typical kitchen-loving Cancer, cooking, donating, and serving food are major ways to serve your community. Cancer is the sign of family and home, so you may find reward and meaning in working with the homeless at shelters or soup kitchens. Another way to tap into your caring side is to help in a local hospital where volunteers are needed in so many departments. You could rock babies in a birthing center, deliver messages and mail to patients, or even work in the gift shop, for example.
Leo, you're naturally generous and people-oriented, so many volunteer positions will appeal to you. Generally, you like being on the front line, and may even accept leadership roles in either new or established foundations. Since you understand children and young people, coaching or directing youth in music, art, or performances could be your calling. Community organizations devoted to kids need volunteers in most every city and town. Athletic Leos might be inspired to work with charity marathons or triathlons for worthy causes.
As the most service-oriented sign of all, you take community involvement and volunteer work seriously, Virgo. Hands on positions that show tangible results are particularly rewarding for you. Your skills might be well suited to organizing or working with a food co-op, helping plant a community flower or vegetable garden, or tutoring adults working for GEDs, or children who need extra attention. As an earth sign, environmental causes attract you, too. Many Virgos are great with animals, and shelters and rescue organizations need reliable volunteers for a variety of positions.
Your people skills are your greatest asset as a volunteer, Libra! People tend to trust and open up to you. Any position requiring a calming influence, attentive listening, and good advice is Libra oriented. Answering a hotline requires that kind of Libra skill. You could help mediate or provide legal advice if you're trained in those fields. You're also well matched to volunteer positions that tap into your creative side.
Scorpio, crisis intervention and hospice work require a strong, confident personality, and with the depth of understanding and strength your sign is known for, you may have what it takes. Ruled by marks and Pluto, you're more suited to face humanity's shadow side and to confront life and earth situations with grace. Suicide, substance abuse, and domestic violence hotlines save lives. If you're a strong, steady Scorpio, maybe you're up for this kind of challenge.
Sagittarius, you're known to be independent and worldly. Ruled by benevolent Jupiter, you also have the spirit of generosity. Volunteer work that allows you freedom and an active role will be most rewarding for you. Since you love animals, a shelter is a natural place to devote your time. Your interest in world culture may also lead you to ethnic centers that provide a variety of services and special events.
Capricorn, your work ethic and resourcefulness is just what every volunteer organization needs. From the hands on work of Habitat for Humanity to business coaching for young entrepreneurs, you have so many valued skills to share. You could contribute to career-oriented groups that help people get back to work. Aiding the homeless or poor will appeal to you provided you can teach others to help themselves in the long run.
Aquarius, your vision, sense of community, and commitment make you a great volunteer! Your forward thinking and leadership skills make you an initiator, but you're equally happy to join an existing organization with a cause you have a passion for. Either independent or team positions can suit your style. Sharing your knowledge, from tutoring to technology coaching, would be enjoyable for you.
You have the empathy and generosity to make an excellent volunteer, Pisces, as well as to work with animals, in community gardens and co-ops, and in the arts matches your natural gifts. You could be suited to work with the sick, homeless, or drug addicted as well, but you are very sensitive and need to set good boundaries if you do.
Excerpted from Llewellyn's 2009 Sun Sign Book. Click here for current-year calendars and almanacs.