It’s a well-known fact that participating in a creative exercise helps decrease stress and encourages stronger thought management, communication skills, focus and meditation. That’s why if you’re an artist, you have a unique set of skills and training to inspire change in the lives of seniors, children, hospital patients or people living with a learning or mental disability. The best way to apply art to volunteer work is through specialized activities like art, music, gardening and even animal care because these hands-on practices allow people to express themselves in a more personal way. So if you’re an artist or creative-minded person living in Atlanta, make an effort this holiday season to give back to your community with these creative volunteer initiatives.
If you’re a visual learner who loves arts and crafts and decorating Pinterest boards, try spreading the joys of art to people who need it most.
If you’re a team player … help out along Atlanta’s infamous Beltline by managing social media, handing out brochures or working directly with an artist to rehabilitate a location.
If you like working with kids … look into Kashi KidArts, an extension of Kashi Atlanta Urban Yoga Ashram. This ashram partners artistic volunteers with child hospital patients to lift their spirits through crafting paper bag puppets, mobiles and multi-media paintings.
If you're interested in art therapy … there are several ways to help out at The ArtReach Foundation in Atlanta. Use dance, art, music, drama and writing to help traumatized children boost their self-esteem and imagination through sensitivity training, a supportive community and creative expression.
If you’re a great listener and can play an instrument, use your musical talent to bring peace of mind and joy to those who are lonely.
If you like lighting up a kid’s face … visit the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta as a music therapy volunteer. Encourage sick kids to play an instrument, compose a song or even just sing or hum along to a tune to help manage pain, increase social skills and decrease stress or anxiety.
If you prefer spending time with seniors … then your talents can be utilized at the A.G. Rhodes Health and Rehabilitation Center Songs for Seniors program. Connect with a senior citizen through music and observe how the power of song can help someone fight dementia and other cognitive and physical diseases.
If you enjoy being around animals and believe our four-legged friends can turn someone's day around, then pet therapy might be for you.
If you have a special connection with your dog … Happy Tails Pet Therapy is a wonderful organization to get involved with. Volunteer as a handler/pet team and visit healthcare facilities, libraries, schools and special needs programs to help people relax and provide companionship.
If you’re obsessed with horses … then your horse knowledge and enthusiasm are perfect for helping out at Chastain Horse Park. As a volunteer, you’ll work closely with trainers, therapists and staff members in assisting with rider’s lessons and training. The bonds you make with the riders, your co-workers and, of course, the horses will last a life-time.
If you’re not afraid to get down and dirty to grow something extraordinary, then share your love of gardening with those in need of nature's touch.
If you enjoy working with seniors … the A.G. Rhodes Healthcare and Rehabilitation center also has a gardening program called Seeds for Seniors that is always in need of volunteers. By working with senior citizens to foster and care for a plant, you’ll help increase their fine motor skills, sensory stimulation and avoid isolation.
If you want to reach out to someone with a mental illness … Skyland Trails offers a stellar horticulture therapy program. Volunteers assist therapists in helping patients build Zen gardens, fairy houses and balancing stones to increase mindfulness and fine motor skills. Skyland Trails also offers therapy programs in art, music, recreation & leisure and social enrichment for patients.