I have been involved with a breed rescue for nearly 10 years and it has been one of the most rewarding things I have done in my life. And yes, a couple of dogs I've fostered who would have been more difficult to place have stayed permanently. Being a "failed foster" is the best way to fail, because both you and the dog win.
Yes, I like volunteering and I try to do as much as I can. I tend toward animal-related volunteering--transports, home visits, events for animal rescues or therapy dog visits when I had my certified therapy dog (my current guy is not there yet). I've also packed bags/boxes for food delivery around the holidays.
I also try to donate to causes I deem worthy--it's not the same as giving time, but I try to make as much of a difference as I can.
Been involved in several volunteer activities over the years from Cub Scouts to hospital volunteers to dog and horse activities, but have bowed out after getting tired of 1) others who volunteer as feathers in their caps, rather than simply getting satisfaction out of giving, who compete to say they've done the most, and will override your efforts to "win" that title (Cub Scouts, hospital work) 2) those other volunteers who use you to help them get ahead by "helping" them write grants, professional letters, solicitations, etc. (hospital work) 3) those taking credit for the work you've done (political volunteering) 4) not being able to make a difference in the role you had because of the red tape in the institution that made logistics impossible (hospital work), and finally 5) volunteering for activities where those supervising pick their favorites to do the fun stuff, and let everyone else do the grunt work (everything ).
Golly, I realize this is sounding jaded, but I have done a lot, and guess I live where there are too many with too much time on their hands. Have actually been looking around lately for something new to just give back, without the social strata/competitions. But if not found, am ultimately happier getting ahead either working for $$, or moving my green horse along.
How can there be so many currents in such a little puddle? National Velvet
Let's see: over the last 30 years I've been a 4H advisor, Cub and Boy Scout leader, Band Boosters, PTO, Social Ministry at church, worked security at the 2010 WEG, helped with the local Arabian club, picked up trash for the park district, worked at food bank now and then, helped with Vacation Bible School. Worked on a few political/levy campaigns too. I like to volunteer.
But without a doubt, the most difficult and yet most rewarding thing I've done is to be a Court Appointed Special Advocate/Guardian ad Litem. I represent the interests of abused and neglected kids who are somehow court involved. It is extremely interesting but also heart wrenching at times. I highly recommend it, especially for retired folks who are looking some something meaningful and absorbing to do.
I volunteer about 6 hours a week at an assisted living center. I do a variety of tasks, but my favorite is spending time with the seniors, reading, playing cards, taking them for a walk or taking them shopping. Quite frankly, I'd pay them to let me volunteer there. The seniors have taught me a lot of life lessons that I thought I was too old to learn.
I think every high school student should have to volunteer at a senior center, a nursing home or an assisted care facility as part of their gradutation requirement. Perhaps then, they'd figure out that they really don't know everything.