Writing With Charity in Mind...It's Good Karma, People.
I know this may come as a surprise to you all, but writers spend a lot of time writing. Hours and hours of it, actually - and wouldn't it be a great thing if some of that writing was done in the name of charity?
Well, it can be! There are many ways that writers - or anyone who can put words together into coherent sentences, really - can give back to the world.
And although many of us do write in the hopes of bringing insight, wisdom, joy, or what-have-you to others, some ways are more direct than others. Here are a few ways you can do good while doing what you're good at.
Writing to Incarcerated People.
People who are serving time in prisons all over the country have been waiting for your letters... Well, okay, not yours specifically, but they'll definitely appreciate it if you send them something.
The American Criminal Justice System isn't a great thing to be caught up in, after all, and incarcerated people could use some friendly back-and-forth to pass the time.
There are a wealth of options when it comes to inmate correspondence programs. There's PrisonInmates.com, WriteAPrisoner.com, Meet-An-Inmate, and Caged Ladies. Meet-An-Inmate allows you to choose either a male or female inmate to correspond with. Caged Ladies, in self-explanatory fashion, is specifically for women inmates.
If you scroll down on the PrisonInmates site, you have many categories to choose from. Lifers, people who will soon be out, people on death row, LGBTQ inmates, and more are sorted for you. Prisoners simply sign up for the programs, and people like you or me can write to them and bring a little light into their days and nights.
People serving sentences are most often as good as you or I - awareness of this fact is becoming more commonplace, but it still deserves to be said. Whether they are guilty of a serious crime, unfairly being punished due to overly strict minimum sentencing laws, facing the consequences of poverty and addiction, or anything else, it is their basic shared humanity which matters.
Write a prisoner and get the chance to do some real and much-needed good - and you could make good friends along the way!
Write to Seniors.
Right now, more than ever, senior citizens are in need of support, comfort, and love. Why not be a source of all three by sending a thoughtful letter or card to an elderly person who is isolated and looking for a way to connect?
Loneliness is endemic amongst elderly persons in the USA, with many becoming homebound or in need of senior nursing as they deal with health problems and memory loss. A voice of kindness is appreciated by anyone - but hey, old people just appreciate it a little more. They usually come from a time when letter-writing was still a thing that people did for actual, day-to-day contact. Wild.
There are a lot of ways to go about doing this. You can do it through a program such as Love For Our Elders or by going to senior living centers' websites directly. Places like Village Concepts have become well known online for their pen-pal programs, with many of their seniors expressing heartfelt gratitude and joy at the reception of letters from all over the country.
Send Encouragement To Someone Battling Cancer.
Words have immense power, as all of us know by now. They can be an incredible source of strength and healing for anyone who needs it.
Kids battling serious or terminal illnesses benefit immensely from the care and support that a letter represents. Women who have recently found out that they have breast cancer are in need of encouragement from people who care.
Cancer is a disease that takes so much out of you - your energy, your hope, your strength, and often years of your life. Sending letters is a way to give patients some of that back through your words.
Whether it's a short fairytale for a kid undergoing chemo, a bit of poetry for a woman who is facing a long road to recovery, or just a thoughtful paragraph or two for someone whose life has been turned upside-down, writing to those suffering from cancer is a way to bring light into a dark situation.
Girls Love Mail gained some notoriety for connecting breast cancer patients with letters from all over the world, and I See Me! has a great program for sending letters to kids with serious or terminal illness. St. Jude's Hospital also has a letter-writing portal for their pediatric oncology unit, and Snowline Hospice (among others) has been requesting pen-pals.
Writing to people who are battling the odds with their health is a wonderfully compassionate way to spread healing and kindness across the world.
Write For Human Rights With Amnesty International.
The Amnesty International "Write for Rights" campaign connects concerned global citizens with important causes all over the world. Whether it's writing to free a 15 year old boy from death row - which ended in success - or give support to people who are facing famine and war, your writing can be a force for change.
The 2020 Write for Rights campaign will begin on October 1st. You can find out more on their website, but the basic idea is that you choose from their available or featured causes, take a short course provided by them, and then get your pens to paper (or keys to...board?).
A Amnesty International has achieved great things in practically every country on Earth. Their work is vitally important, and putting your skills behind them is a powerful action on behalf of justice and peace for people of all races and creeds.
Volunteer to Inspire Young Writers.
Young people from all backgrounds often lack access to affordable writing programs. We all know what it's like to have words inside of you, banging on the door and demanding to bust out into the world - imagine if you lacked the skills and knowledge to open those doors?
I think I'd go crazy. In the interest of preventing such a fate for kids in all 50 states and beyond, you should consider teaching pro-bono for a program such as 826 National, the Big Brothers Big Sisters of America organization, or Mighty Writers.
Most programs have virtual options now, so you can teach students to tell their stories right from home. This service brings opportunity to the next generation of writers, and that's a mission close to the hearts of many authors, poets, and storytellers of the world.
Find a program and get teaching! You never know who you'll inspire.
In Conclusion - It's Easy, I Made It Easier, And You Have No Excuse.
Look, for most of these options you literally just need to click a link. That's not so hard, right? Do you really want me to guilt trip you with 2 more paragraphs of A+ content? I didn't think so.
Doing good is something that's been on everyone's mind, lately. The world is on fire and we're all tired of the bullsh** - we just want something positive to cling to like a koala on a Eucalyptus tree. So why not be that positivity?
There are people all over your community and beyond who need your words. So give - give the things you have to give, and do it in the spirit of the humanity we all share. Whether you're telling stories, expressing compassion, or giving someone a lifeline in the depths of a life-or-death struggle, you have the chance to make a real difference.
Reach out and take it.
If you have any ideas to add to this list, comment on this post or send me a message! Until next time, everyone!