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Ways to get involved in your community this fall

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Once the kids are back in school, my calendar seems to free up immensely. While my evenings might still be filled with field hockey practices and Girl Scout meetings, my days are wide open. For many women who stay at home with their children, fall is the perfect opportunity to get more involved with your community. What can you do and where can you do it?

School volunteer opportunities

Whether your children are five, 15, or 25, there are opportunities for you to volunteer in local schools. My daughters' elementary school is always on the lookout for parent volunteers to ask kids questions about what they've read, help plan events and activities, work on community outreach projects, and help in the lunchroom or on the playground. Not only do these opportunities afford me some time to be a fixture in my children's school, but I can choose activities that I enjoy and fit with my strengths.

Coaching or assistant coaching

I've never played anything but soccer in my entire life, but this year, I'm assisting on my oldest daughter's field hockey team. I don't need an in-depth knowledge of the sport to be able to cheer the kids on, organize the roster and snack schedule, and help them run drills. Coaching and assisting is also a great opportunity for recent high school and college graduates hoping to make time for some community involvement this fall.

Local food bank or soup kitchen

Fall is an ideal time to contact and get involved with your local food bank or soup kitchen, if you aren't already. From making donations of food to devoting your time and expertise to cleaning, packing, organizing, serving, or cooking, you can help make a difference in the lives of local families by helping. If you aren't sure who to contact or where to help, you can search for a local food bank at Feeding America or a local soup kitchen by doing an internet search for your city and the words "soup kitchen."

Community clean-up day

Our community has a clean-up day in the early fall. It's the perfect time to get rid of yard waste, beautify your yard, send some volunteers to the local community center or school to weed and plant, and to do some general community maintenance. Some families also organize a community yard sale to follow the clean-up day by a week or two-so whether you're working inside or outside of your home, there are ample opportunities to get involved and help clean up!

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