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How to Help and Uplift People in Need

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

Volunteering, giving back and devoting time to causes you care about can do so much good for the world and help you use your time and energy for others. Whether you’re a college student looking to get involved for the very first time or you’re a veteran volunteer, human rights organizations and nonprofits can always use your helping hands. There are so many human rights organizations near you, whether they’re on your campus or just around the corner.

Whether you’re looking to volunteer just for a few days or you’d like to start a regular practice of volunteering, it’s never too late to start. In fact, some of the top human rights NGOs (non-governmental organizations) have made their home on plenty of college campuses, are accessible online or are available in various locations — and you can take your pick.

When to Volunteer — Human Rights Day!

Let’s say you’re on the hunt for a bit of motivation. You’re ready to check out the human rights organizations on college campuses and beyond, but you need a bit of a push. Whether you’re looking for a day to start your volunteer work as a sustained habit in your life or you simply want to show up and give it a day’s worth of effort, December 10, 2020, could be the perfect springboard.

In 2020, the theme for Human Rights Day is “Recover Better — Stand Up for Human Rights.” There are so many causes that support this goal, and you can get involved with whichever ones strike a chord in you. Plus, you can even get your friends involved and volunteer together. Even if it may not be your usual habit, Human Rights Day can be a special time for you to get involved together on a wider scale.

Whether you want to spread out your efforts and try a few organizations or commit to one that really strikes your fancy, here are a few worth looking into — either right on your college campus or close by.

1. NAACP

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People — often shortened to The NAACP — is America’s largest human rights organization fighting for racial equality, specifically with a focus on the Black experience and African American people. If you’re looking to volunteer, many college campuses have chapters specifically devoted to developing leadership and intellectual skills to increase social and political activism in students.

If your college campus has a chapter, see what they have to offer. If your college campus doesn’t have a chapter, there are plenty of ways to volunteer both locally and remotely. During elections, you can get involved in phone banking or even text banking for the organization.

2. Human Rights Campaign

If you’re looking to fight for LGBTQIA+ justice, the Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest LGBTQIA+ advocacy group and political lobbying organization. They’re dedicated to fighting for equality for all people in policy and in practice. Much like the NAACP, many college campuses have a chapter. If your campus has one, that can be a great way to get involved.

If your campus doesn’t have an HRC chapter, you can still offer your time. You can attend an event in your area, join up with local efforts, or even do some remote volunteer work. While phone banking is a part of their remote work, they also offer other kinds of digital volunteering opportunities all-year-round.

3. Amnesty International

Amnesty International is a global non-governmental organization and nonprofit with an aim of fighting abuses of human rights worldwide. They spread their focus to a variety of international causes, from Indigenous Peoples’ rights and police brutality to reproductive rights, armed conflicts and climate change. They cover a lot of bases and could be a great organization to volunteer for if you have a variety of passions and causes you want to devote time and energy to.

Amnesty International is also a great organization to get involved with because they have a robust presence on many college campuses. There are lots of local groups and chapters you can choose from. However, if your campus doesn’t have a group, you can always start your own! They even offer a student group starter guide with everything you need to know about starting your very own chapter on campus. If you have a knack for leadership, this could be perfect for you.

 

Lookin For More Ways to Help?

4. Bold Hope

Based physically in Pennsylvania but operating international initiatives for children, families and communities, Bold Hope is a mission-based organization that offers a fantastic opportunity for students who may be passionate about both religion and human rights — or any student who wants to make a difference in children’s lives. 

If you feel strongly about getting involved in the fight for human rights empowerment and better worldwide communities, you can transform lives in a hands-on way by applying to volunteer on a mission trip to Jamaica, Zimbabwe, Belize, Nepal and so many other locations.

If you’d rather contribute in another way, you can also donate online — or look into sponsoring a child from your college or student group. Starting a campus fundraising campaign for sponsorship is an amazing way to make a difference. 

5. Children’s Defense Fund

If you’re dedicated to fighting for the rights of children everywhere, especially those in disadvantaged situations, you may want to turn your attention to the Children’s Defense Fund. They’re dedicated to helping children and families in many different ways, especially when it comes to racial justice, COVID relief and disability support.

While the CDF finds most of its support through donations — which you can contribute to if you have the resources — you can also attend one of their many events if you’re looking to show support through your actions.

6. ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union is a nonprofit organization that’s consistently devoted itself to fighting for all kinds of human rights. From disability rights to LGBTQIA+ rights to religious liberty to voters’ rights, the ACLU does quite a lot, which makes it another perfect organization for those who want to support a variety of causes in their volunteer work.

If you’re looking to volunteer for the ACLU, there are a few ways to go about it, and the volunteer work can even shift with your schedule and availability. On their website, they give the option to choose whether you’re “up for anything” — an option which will lead you to phone banking, text banking, events and organization — or you can choose “I have just a few minutes,” which takes you to articles and petitions to sign.

Volunteering for Human Rights on or Near Your Campus

No matter which organizations you choose to gravitate toward, using your time and energy to volunteer for humanitarian causes will help make the world a better place, a little bit at a time. You can get started on December 10th this year, or you can get moving right away.

Even if you can only spare one day, it’ll be a day spent changing the world for the greater good. Who knows? You could fall in love with a cause and get hooked for life! 
 

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