Get involved in your new community
My friend Elizabeth volunteers at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department Animal Care and Control. She attended a half-day training class to get started and helps by socializing with the cats and dogs.
Civic clubs such as Shriners, the Masonic Lodge and Rotary all have volunteer activities to improve the local community.
Hands On Charlotte connects volunteers with organizations that have needs. My friend Sara started volunteering there in 2004 and has since become a board member. Hands on Charlotte gave her flexibility to try different projects, and she found her calling as an adult literacy tutor. There are Hands On chapters in Winston-Salem and Greenville, and Activate Good organizes corporate volunteer projects in Raleigh.
Take advantage of local activities.
To learn more about your city, sign up for a walkabout. The Tour De Food, offered in Charlotte, Davidson, Greensboro and Winston-Salem, is a gourmet food tour with tastings focused on local chefs. Eat, drink and walk your way through your new city.
Meet-up Groups can be found almost in any city with groups focused on hiking, eating, biking, singles – and even a bourbon club. These groups help you meet others who enjoy what you enjoy.
Local recreation centers and YMCAs offer CPR, swimming and exercise classes – a great way to improve your health AND make new friends.
Don’t limit your resources to online.
Community newspapers provide information on community events, ads for local stores and restaurants.
Local magazines, free in local shops or grocery stores, are a good source for restaurant reviews, local music and theatre.
Don’t forget libraries or other places where you can find community bulletin boards and local maps.
Make your own opportunity.
If you don’t find something that strikes your fancy, get creative. I volunteer at a local high school teaching motorcycle safety awareness, a required part of the Drivers Ed course in North Carolina. I am a member of a Harley Davidson motorcycle club and they were looking for volunteers to assist in schools. Not only do I enjoy working with the teachers and students, but it’s rewarding to know that my efforts are hopefully making our highways a little safer.
Whatever your passion, there is a group of people out there just waiting for you to join. Don’t be afraid to get involved and have fun!