People gardeningThe Ticket to Work Program supports all kinds of career development. Volunteering is a great way to get involved in your community while helping you better prepare for your job hunt and the workforce. Volunteer work can also help build important skills and relationships that help you land the job that best suits you.

Read more ...

Finding Your Own Opportunities Through Volunteering

Sep 24, 2020

People gardeningIf you think you're ready to try working but feel overwhelmed about where to start, consider becoming a volunteer. Volunteering is a great way to prepare for your job search, gain valuable experience for your resume and connect with people in your community all at the same time.

Finding and applying for a volunteer position is a lot like finding and applying for a job. Think about the type of work you'd like to do. Do you like working alone or in big groups? Do you want to spend time outdoors or are you more comfortable working from a desk? What causes matter most to you?

Once you know the types of organizations you want to work with, ask yourself if there are specific skills you'd like to learn or improve upon that can help strengthen your resume. Volunteering opportunities are a great place to hone your soft skills, which are always in demand from employers.

Then, put your searching skills to work to find the perfect match for you. Reach out to people in your community, or use online sources like:

  • Volunteermatch
  • All for Good
  • Idealist

Or start your own volunteering opportunity.

Each community's needs are as diverse as the people who live there. If you see an issue that needs fixing or have a cause you're passionate about, network with your neighbors or others who are facing similar issues in your area to find a solution. This can also help you grow your professional network as you get to know more people with similar interests in your area. Once you have a plan of action, start your own project, to give back to the people around you.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Work with a local food bank or pantry to collect donations.
  • Sign up to be a mentor or tutor.
  • Beautify a local park or community space – fall is a good time to plant trees and spring blooming bulbs.
  • Check with your local fire station and see if you can organize a fall clean-up or serve, or partner with your local fire department to install smoke alarms.
  • Spend time with veterans online. You can also check with your local veteran's center to see if they need personal care items and launch a collection drive.
  • Learn how to be a first-responder when help is not available right away. Check out these FEMA resources to learn more or organize training for your community.
  • Winter is coming, and you may have neighbors who could use assistance preparing their homes for colder weather. Here are some tips from the Department of Energy on steps you can take to make sure you and your neighbors are ready.
  • Make homes safe and accessible by installing safety bars in bathrooms, building a wheelchair ramp, or making minor repairs that eliminate a safety hazard.

Taking on your own volunteer project builds important skills employers are looking for in future employees. Like project management, problem solving and interpersonal communication. It also shows that you are an active and involved member of your community while allowing you to experience some possible future career paths up close. In short, volunteering allows you to explore your career goals, develop valuable skills and expand your network all while giving back to the community.

Success through volunteering and with Ticket to Work

Social Security's Ticket to Work (Ticket) Program supports career development for people ages 18 through 64 who receive Social Security disability benefits (SSI or SSDI) and want to work.
The Ticket Program is free and voluntary. It helps people with disabilities move toward financial independence and connects them with the services and support they need to succeed in the workforce.

On his road to full-time employment, Jesus volunteered with Telecare. Telecare works to improve the lives of people with serious mental illness. As a volunteer, Jesus learned the important work the organization does in his community and found a career path he was passionate about. His role grew, and later that year, he accepted a paid position as a part-time case manager. Read more about Jesus to find out how volunteering and the Ticket Program helped him find his way to a full-time career.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket Program, visit choosework.ssa.gov or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket Program Find Help tool.

Learn More

To learn more about the Ticket Program, visit choosework.ssa.gov or call the Ticket to Work Help Line at 1-866-968-7842 or 1-866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. Ask a representative to send you a list of service providers or find providers on your own with the Ticket Program Find Help tool.

Stay Informed by Subscribing to Texts from Ticket to Work!

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. You can opt out at any time.

If you're interested in receiving text messages from the Ticket Program, please text TICKET to 474747. Standard messaging rates may apply. We'll send updates from our blog, identify steps on the path to employment and more. You can opt out at any time.

Receive Blog Updates
  Opt in to receive information about the Ticket program via text. Text the word "TICKET" to 474747