Volunteering is the New Book Club


I can’t remember when or how book clubs became trendy, but I think Oprah had a huge part in creating a mainstream market for this type of socializing.  It makes sense that America’s best friend and the guru of self-improvement would be involved—book clubs are a great vehicle for creating friendships while cultivating your mind.  And there are usually drinks involved.  (Bonus points!)  I have had several incarnations of book clubs over the years—the multi-genre, the book-to-movie centric, the haphazard.  No matter what the spin, a book club is a perfect antidote to a stressful week.  Disclaimer: I am a HUGE nerd!

But sitting on your bum and reading/chatting for your own edification can start to feel a bit self-indulgent after a while.  I recently watched a documentary on happiness and it got me thinking about community and fulfillment.  One of the things I most enjoy about book clubs is the sense of camaraderie and connection that comes from our group dynamic.  What if you could magnify this sense of community by creating ties with those near to you and those not so near to you?  It’s not a novel idea, but it can feel that way when you are a young urban professional trying to have it all.  (Ugh, I know, cliché.)

There’s no better way to foster a sense of community with your friends than by becoming more involved in your community.  If you live in New York City you can find excellent volunteering opportunities on newyorkcares.org/volunteer.  If you live in the Bay Area or elsewhere volunteermatch.org allows you to search for opportunities based on location, interest, age group and other categories.  Or maybe you and your friends have a cause that is near and dear to your hearts.  Most organizations welcome volunteers, so don’t limit yourself.  Reach out and see if an organization you are passionate about could use your help.



If you’re stumped, here are some organizations that might pique your interest.


Step Up Women’s Network

Humane Society

Boys & Girls Club

Earth Watch

Museum of Modern Art

Local Parks and Recreation Office

Local Soup Kitchen


Volunteering clubs will help you create memories with friends while serving your community.  I think that’s pretty much a win-win.  And it beats listening to that one person go on and on about a fictional character you can’t stand.  You know the one…



Books photo courtesy of jlz via Flickr

Boys and Girls Club photo courtesy of BeachComberDestin via Flickr

Gloves photo courtesy of Nancy Regan via Flickr

Wendy Cortez

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