what volunteer or charity programs should I look into
February 16, 2010 11:54 AM Subscribe
I'm 21 years old. No college degree, no money, no recent references, no job and few feasible prospects for one. I want to try something new - make a fresh start. How can I do it?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (18 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I've been fighting depression for a long time. One of the biggest contributors to my malaise is a sense of stasis and stagnation. I am sick of living with my folks, feeling unproductive, wishing I could find something that really interested me. I am reasonably intelligent, but when I was growing up I felt that my parents' acceptance was conditional -- it depended on obedience and reticence and excellent academic performance. As a result, I don't know how to learn and practice and enjoy a subject for its own sake (or for my sake!). I have a casual 'armchair interest' in lots of topics, but I'm frightened of actually selecting one to major in and then being stuck in that field for the rest of my life. We also might not have the money to pay for the rest of my bachelor's degree, but right now I consider that a secondary concern to WANTING a bachelor's degree -- if I wanted one badly enough, I think I could find a way to get it.
So I can't convince myself to seriously pursue an education in my current frame of mind. (Right now I am taking one class at a local college. My interest in it is lukewarm.) My last job ended eighteen months ago, and aside from learning to tolerate a job I disliked, it provided nothing but a paycheck and the same sense of stagnation that I've felt before and since.
Is there anything else can I turn to? I would love to do something along the lines of Peace Corps, but that seems to require a bachelor's. Americorps isn't quite as stringent, but they still have a pretty low acceptance rate (I've heard it's about 25% on average). I looked into teaching English in foreign countries, but that seems to have even more requirements than Peace Corps. (Is there a formalized, universal standard or requirement for teaching a given subject, or does it depend on where you look?) I am considering the armed forces, but only as a last resort. It's maddening, because I have a feeling there are lots of places in the world that could use a helping hand, even an unskilled one. But charitable organizations have reputations to protect, so, understandably, they practice their compassion with caveats -- with regulations and prerequisites on the supply side. Are there programs out there that combine the inclusivity of the armed forces with the helping-people-not-killing-them mentality of the organizations I've mentioned? I just want to feel that I'm changing something for the better, in my own life and in someone else's. Getting away from home would be nice too. Thanks for any advice you might have. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
(Yes, I have a shrink. He recommended that I try volunteering as a way of getting out of my own head. I live in Washington DC. If you know of any good local volunteer organizations, go ahead and say so.)