It’s important and rewarding to volunteer, but sometimes it can be challenging to narrow down the scope of your interests.

Here are five wonderful places around Washington, D.C., that are definitely worth your volunteer efforts -- and each has a vastly different cause!

Suited for Change

If you love fashion and want to put your amazing styling skills to good use, you should contact Suited for Change. This organization collects and holds an inventory of business professional clothing for low-income women. They are looking for stylists who can aid in helping these women dress for interviews and new jobs. Suited for Change also provides ongoing educational training and support. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can learn more about their mission here, and see volunteer options and fill out their questionnaire here. And if you just don’t have the time to come in and help out, you may also donate your gently used work clothes to the organization. [caption id="attachment_6608" align="aligncenter" width="300"]volunteer Courtesy of razoo.com[/caption]

Humane Rescue Alliance

Dogs are our best friends, and if -- for whatever reason -- you can’t have one of your own (or maybe you already have two but you just can’t get enough!), consider volunteering for the Humane Rescue Alliance. If you’re willing to make more of a commitment, you can foster dogs in your home until they find their forever homes. If you’re looking for something a little more casual, there are also opportunities to walk dogs or play with them in the park. To learn more about your options, you can visit the organization’s website here. Also, if you’re looking to adopt a pet, whether it be a dog, cat, or hamster, the Humane Rescue Alliance is the perfect place to do it. You’ll be saving an animal’s life and adding love and happiness into yours. You can learn more about adoption here. [caption id="attachment_6609" align="aligncenter" width="300"]volunteer Courtesy of wjla.com[/caption]

Reading Partners

Whether you like children or reading or both, tutoring kids at low-income schools may be a great way to volunteer without a big-time commitment. Most volunteers with this organization dedicate an hour out of their week to go to a public school in the D.C. area and read to an elementary school student. Reading Partners will train you on their one-on-one tutoring model to make sure you have all the resources you need to make a difference in your student’s life. By being with the same student all semester, you’ll be able to build a personal connection and track progress. To learn more about Reading Partners, and how you can be matched up with a school and a student, you can visit their website here. [caption id="attachment_6610" align="aligncenter" width="300"]volunteer Courtesy of twitter.com[/caption]

Hostelling International USA

Washington, D.C., is a very international city, but many of us don’t get to meet and connect with as many international folks as we would like. It’s hard to make friends with people from other countries if we’re not in an easy opportunity to do so. This is where HI Washington, D.C., (short for Hostelling International) comes in, by offering volunteer opportunities at a hostel -- either as a front desk and concierge attendant or as a Washington, D.C., tour guide. As a HI volunteer you’ll be a “citizen-ambassador for Washington, D.C., acquainting travelers with the unique experiences and traditions of the capital city, and building cross-cultural understanding and socially aware travel.” This is such a fun volunteer opportunity -- and who knows? Maybe you’ll have a few friends to visit abroad soon! You can learn more about the organization and how to get involved here. [caption id="attachment_6611" align="aligncenter" width="300"]volunteer Courtesy of booking.com[/caption]

Bread for the City

This is one of the more classic ways to donate your time to those in need. The mission of Bread for the City is to “provide food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services to reduce the burden of poverty” in the local community. With an organization like this, you can be very flexible with the way you volunteer. If you’re thinking something quick and easy, you can donate your non-perishable food or maybe spend a weekend helping out at a homeless shelter or food bank. You can also become much more involved by participating in advocacy and providing expert social, medical, and legal services. To get a better sense about what all you can do for Bread for the City, you can visit their website here. [caption id="attachment_6612" align="aligncenter" width="300"]volunteer Courtesy of grassroots.groupon.com[/caption] Have you volunteered with or donated to any of these organizations before? Let us know your experiences in the comments below!

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