Did you know that women are more likely to live in poverty than men? One in 8 women in the U.S. lived in poverty in 2018, according to the National Women’s Law Center. In fact, 70 percent of those living in poverty are women and children
If you’d like to make a difference in the lives of these women, doing one of the following can have a significant impact on real people. And you don’t even have to leave your local community. Call us at 765-457-4357 to learn more about these volunteer opportunities.
Read with a young girl. A child who can’t read proficiently by third grade is 4 times more likely to drop out of high school later on. This is especially true of girls who speak English as a second language or who grow up in unstable homes. A reading program can provide a young girl with a strong adult relationship and reinforce literacy skills they are learning at school. Real Men Read (Don't let the name fool you, women are welcome too!) is a local volunteer reading program in Howard County. Learn more about the program, here.
Visit an elderly woman who lives alone. Loneliness is as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. And the problem is particularly bad for the elderly, who can become homebound and isolated from the community. Check-in on an elderly neighbor or distant family member, or call a nursing home or food-delivery service to find people in need of social connection.
Mentor a teenage girl. You may remember the many challenges that young women face during adolescence. Another adult to provide advice and a sympathetic ear can be a huge benefit, especially to young women living in poverty or who have experienced trauma.
Support women experiencing domestic violence. Watch for the signs in women you meet. Have open conversations about the issue among family and friends. Distribute information about domestic violence shelters and hotlines in public places. However, never confront an abuser in public, as it can be dangerous for you and the woman.
Volunteer your financial knowledge. Women living in poverty are less likely to have bank accounts or access to loans, and many live paycheck to paycheck. Local services can provide financial coaching and classes, as well as free tax preparation. If you’ve learned the financial basics, share your expertise with others.
Advocate for affordable child care. For working women, child care is a huge expense, costing even more than a college education. That burden is compounded for single mothers and low-income families. Many states are considering legislation to help ease this burden and make child care more affordable. Call your legislators and attend meetings on the issue.
Mentor a younger female colleague. Relationships between women in the workplace can be a confidence booster and a source of cross-generational support. Do you know a younger woman who would benefit from your professional experience? Don’t be afraid to reach out for a coffee meeting to get the conversation started.
Donate to United Way serving Howard & Tipton Counties. We fight for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in the community. We help thousands of women and girls learn to read, graduate from high school, get job training and financial coaching, find apartments and jobs, and live healthy lives.