When we offer our time and money to worthwhile organizations, our communities notice.

Imagine your home has no dining table. No kitchen table or coffee table, either. No rugs, no art on the wall. Not exactly how we imagine the American Dream, is it? Yet, that is the situation for many people when they transition from homelessness to housing.

I’m fortunate to not face this challenge, but not everyone is so lucky. I volunteer with an organization in my area, Dwell With Dignity, that helps people go from homelessness to self-sufficiency by providing furnishings, art, kitchen supplies, and the other details that make a house a home.

I have seen how powerful these efforts can be. Families who are comfortable in their homes and proud of where they live will invite people over. They build bonds with neighbors. They become energized to give back to their community. They shape their neighborhoods.

I also participate in the efforts of my local association, the MetroTex Association of REALTORS®, to assist food banks and homeless shelters, and I volunteer for Easter Seals and the American Heart Association. I get personal rewards from giving to these organizations. There’s nothing as gratifying as helping others, and it is a great way to meet people and network.

Most of you know exactly what I’m talking about. REALTORS® get involved in our communities at a high rate—66% of us, according to our latest survey. If you are not currently volunteering, a great way to find something enjoyable and rewarding is to show up for a volunteer day with your local association or company. Doing volunteer work as a group is just as satisfying and takes the fear out of not knowing what to do at first.

You can also open your wallet; a donation goes just as far as giving your time. For example, donations from individuals and organizations have enabled Texas REALTORS® to provide millions of dollars of assistance after hurricanes and other disasters have displaced Texans from their housing.

REALTORS® are the backbone of our communities through our day-to-day business, helping people buy and sell and lease properties of all kinds. But it goes so much further than the real estate transactions. When we offer our time and money to worthwhile organizations, our communities notice. It’s a great way to meet new people and grow from our experiences.

There are many opportunities in every area of Texas. If you’re looking to get started—or you want to explore new volunteer roles—you just have to ask. Once you take that first step, it’s easy, and the rewards are endless.