People who volunteer with the at risk or underprivileged population in Florida make an enormous impact on the health of communities. When the presence of violence, gang disputes, substance abuse and crime enter a community, it is hard to reverse their trends. The impacts are felt in a multi-generational way, and retraining the community to function in a healthy way, peacefully, selflessly and in accordance with the law, can be very challenging. Volunteer organizations and individuals, such as Kiwanis, Boys & Girls Club and many more, work to address these issues at every age level to restore the bond the community has with one another. This is done in a variety of ways:
- Cleaning up parks and neighborhoods. Volunteering labor and man hours is one very important way of restoring a community and giving it a sense of pride. Often in at risk neighborhoods, pride and care for the appearance and the working order of the neighborhood has gone by the wayside, usually because of the low morale that neighborhood disturbances have caused. Someone volunteering to assist in these abandoned projects, such as trash removal in public parks, the painting of public and private property that has been neglected and weed removal from public spaces is invaluable to the pride of the community.
- Fighting addiction and substance abuse. The prevalence of intoxicating, mind-altering substances within a community is a sign of its deterioration. Addiction and substance abuse are signs of mental unhealthiness that are deeply rooted. These types of disorders warrant professional counseling, but in poverty stricken areas, professional counseling is typically not an option. The community relies on its members and volunteers to support addicts and substance abusers to encourage their sobriety.
- Helping the elderly and the needy. Every disadvantaged community has members who cannot help themselves, either because of age or disability or physical limitations. Those who volunteer their time to these individuals, in the form of shopping for them or helping them get chores done or some other type of provision, is enormously helpful. This creates trust and accountability within a community, as well as a sense of peace and gratitude.