5 Ways to Use Your Professional Skills to Give Back
Offer your hard-earned wisdom to benefit young people in need of guidance and encouragement, from school kids in your neighborhood to new graduates just entering the workforce. Everyone is qualified to be a mentor, and the experience is just as rewarding for the mentor as the mentee. You can do this informally with someone you know or through an organized program such as Mentoring USA, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Experience Corps and New York City's Middle School Mentors program. Students, children and younger people in your industry could all benefit from your mentoring.
4. Act 2: Devote Yourself to Citizenship
As baby boomers begin retiring, some are looking back on the turbulent yet promising days of their youth, wondering what happened to their dreams of reshaping the world. Instead of winding down in retirement, today's active citizenship movement offers retirees the opportunity to apply their restless energies to the pressing needs of society. For many, the new activism may hold the answer. They can join the thousands of retirees who are shifting from the business world into the non-profit sector. They are using their talents and skills to help young people and the disadvantaged, as well as programs that support culture and the arts.
5. Become a Digital Citizen
If you are searching for ways to connect, there are thousands of worthy organizations that use the Internet to engage supporters, mobilize resources and solicit ideas. You can discover projects in your own community and around the world that excite you. You could participate in a digital forum about a public issue you care about, donate electronically to support a charity you believe in or share information about a topic you're an expert on—all for the benefit of thousands of other citizens like you.
Many not-profit organizations, citizens' networks and community groups already use the Internet to leverage their knowledge, connections and power—but many are not doing so. Take a look at the groups and causes you support, and evaluate how effective their digital presence is. If they don't have one, or if you can see ways in which their digital activities could be made more appealing, engaging and impactful, why not volunteer to research and develop those improvements? You don't need to be an expert in programming or web design. Volunteers or paid professionals with those skills can be recruited later. As long as you have imagination and a passion for the cause you're serving, you can contribute something meaningful to the project.
Jonathan Tisch is the author of Citizen You: Doing Your Part to Change the World, The Power of We and Chocolates on the Pillow Aren't Enough. He is co-chairman of the board and a member of the office of the president of Loews Corporation, and chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels. Tisch has appeared on The Today Show, The Early Show, Larry King Live, Charlie Rose, CNN, CNBC and Fox News Channel. He is also the host of the Emmy-nominated Bloomberg TV and Plum TV show Beyond the Boardroom.
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