2013: New Year, New Resolutions
The Christmas season is over and it’s back to the grind. Cheer yourself up in the dark months of January and February, and do something to make a difference. With a computer or smartphone, you can go online and discover hundreds of different microvolunteering activities to get involved with, and often have fun along the way. Activities can be completed in just a few spare minutes – you can do them on your journey to work, in your lunch break, or even from the comfort of your bed. Microvolunteering is a New Year’s resolution that doesn’t have to be broken – it’s so quick and easy to do.
The volunteer organisation, Help From Home, has over 800 different microvolunteering tasks on offer from a huge range of charities and voluntary organisations in the UK and overseas. Its site is designed for people with busy lives who want to give something back to the community, or support a worthy cause.
“Microvolunteering has evolved with the popularity of home and mobile computers,” said Mike Bright, founder and director of Help From Home. “People can get involved with different causes without any special training or feeling that they have to commit. It’s entirely fluid – many people log onto microvolunteering sites when they have a few spare moments at home or on their journey to work.”
A popular activity is participating in scientific research. Cancer Research UK’s ClicktoCure scheme is looking for volunteers to help accelerate the analysis of their data research by classifying archive cancer samples. At fold.it you can help to solve puzzles that predict the structure of proteins involved in human body functions and find cures for many diseases. You can even play your part in plotting maps of Mars through cerberusgame.com.
Other websites enable you to raise money for charity through their advertisers. At playforpencils.com (now defunct – Feb, 2016) you can help provide third-world schools with writing materials by participating in trivia quizzes.
To help make underprivileged or seriously ill children happy, you can send them messages or gifts via postpals.co.uk, while at Care2 Petition Site you can support a worthy cause by signing petitions or appending a message to your email signature. The RSPCA is particularly active, and is currently running a “Give animals a voice” campaign against animal cruelty.
There are many more ideas on the Help From Home website. They also include more active, off-line activities such as taking photos or baking cakes for charity, or participating in plant and wildlife surveys. And if you need inspiration to be healthier in 2013, you can participate in Cardiff University’s “Web Well-being Experience” research where you’ll undertake a meditation and light exercise training course over four weeks. Your feedback will help them assess the comparative effectiveness of the two activities to support future health policies.
First published in December, 2012
Author: Jan Schapira – Help From Home Press Officer