IndyVolved 16: Volunteer in the Indianapolis Region

Crowd of people attends IndyVolved 14

Both Indianapolis and the Indy region are growing by the day. People across the nation and around the world are noticing our city for our sporting events, our food scene, our affordability, and our amazing job opportunities. But Indianapolis has another major thing going for it, and that’s a strong volunteer community! In other words, Indy offers endless opportunities for you to get involved, support the causes you care about, and make a meaningful impact in our community.

One of those opportunities is the annual IndyVolved event—the largest civic engagement event in Indianapolis. Every year, IndyHub brings together over 100 non-profit and civic organizations in one place, so Indy residents can easily explore new ways to volunteer and serve their community.

The latest iteration of this event—IndyVolved 16 Presented by AES Indiana—took place on Tuesday, October 12 from 4:30-8 p.m. at Victory Field in downtown Indianapolis.  

IndyVolved is Indy’s premier volunteer event.

Whether you’re just starting your civic journey or you’re a pro-volunteer, IndyVolved is the place for you! Each year, around 2,000 people attend IndyVolved to meet and connect with organizations that make a difference here in Indy. You can learn how to volunteer your time, serve on boards and committees, and make your mark as a community leader.

Over the years, I’ve heard people describe IndyVolved as a “farmers’ market” for local non-profits and community organizations. You can explore row after row of booths that showcase our local non-profits and the causes they support. These organizations are involved in the arts, the environment, youth services, social justice, education, parks and trails, charity efforts, and everything in between. So, no matter your interests, you can find your civic match!

IndyVolved also includes food trucks, live music, art installations, photo opportunities, games, and more. So, whether you come alone or bring friends, you’ll have a great time discovering your new passion project!

There’s never a bad time to get IndyVolved.

IndyVolved is the perfect opportunity to find new ways to volunteer and put down deeper roots in our community. But why should you get involved and engaged? After a year-and-a-half of living through a pandemic, it’s pretty reasonable to be hesitant to put yourself out there. It’s easy to just fall into a routine and spend your night after work relaxing on your phone or the TV.

However, the truth is that giving your time, talent, and treasure to meaningful causes isn’t just good for the community. It’s good for the soul!

Over four years ago, I had the opportunity to meet the IndyHub team here in Indianapolis. Back then, I was still finding my place in the Indy community, after spending four years at Butler University and a year away in Austin. And what I found in IndyHub was life-changing! I learned that their work is essentially the business of connection. They connect people to each other, to arts and culture, to experiences in the city, and to opportunities to leave an impact for generations to come.  

Indianapolis is full of people who want to help each other and make a difference in our city. And putting yourself out there is worth it just to catch some of that infectious positivity! When you take the time to volunteer, you become part of something much larger than yourself. You can help clean up the city with Keep Indianapolis Beautiful. You can experience the joy of music at Indy Jazz Fest, or you can work towards a more equitable society at one of our local activist organizations. However you choose to give, it’s that feeling—that sense of camaraderie and community—that’s so good for the spirit.

Find friends that share your passions.

In 2010, Julianne Holt-Lunstad—Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience at Brigham Young University—led a study that equated a serious lack of social connection to the damage of smoking 15 cigarettes a day. So, it’s safe to say that this past year has been rough on people’s health, even if you’ve never touched a pack of cigarettes.

Even before COVID-19 entered our everyday vocabulary, loneliness has been a serious issue facing society, especially 20-and-30-somethings. Here’s what else we know:

  1. 50% of Americans report feeling alone some or all of the time.
  2. 43% of Americans feel that their relationships aren’t meaningful.
  3. When residents move to a new city, they need to feel connected within 90 days, or else they’re likely to move yet again.

That means one of the best ways to fight loneliness (and improve your overall well-being!) is to build meaningful connections to your community. During my time with IndyHub, I’ve attended or volunteered at five iterations of IndyVolved. And I’ve not only found ways to give back, but I’ve also found a strong sense of belonging! I’ve found mentors and confidants, I’ve met professional contacts, and I’ve made life-long friends that I love to spend time with.

Getting involved with a cause or organization is a great way to find like-minded people and start making connections. So, whether you’re fighting a battle with loneliness or just looking to meet some new friends, IndyVolved is the perfect place to find your community. 

Help build a better future for our community.

The truth is that time waits for no one. One moment, we’re kids. The next, we’re in college. And in the blink of an eye, life is moving on again. That’s why it’s important to think about the kind of world we want future generations to inherit. And we all need to ask ourselves what we can do (or start doing) to help make that world a reality.

After all, the future may be daunting, and the news headlines can make us feel stressed or hopeless. But the best medicine is to get on your feet and do something about it! Indifference and apathy are the eternal enemies of progress, and the time to act is always now.

If you want to create a world with less food insecurity, then come talk to the organizations at IndyVolved. To just name a few, there are non-profits like Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana and the Million Meal Movement that help feed hungry Hoosiers. You can also meet organizations like Growing Places Indy, which supports urban farms across the city.

If you’re passionate about building a more equitable world, then you can come chat with organizations that support marginalized communities, help refugees and immigrants, and promote gender equality. At IndyVolved 16, there were exhibits from the Asian American Alliance, Exodus Refugee Immigration, and Women4Change Indiana. And again, these were just a few of the 100+ organizations in attendance! You can check out the full line-up here.

IndyVolved exhibitors pose in front of the Indy sign

You’re invited to IndyVolved!

I sincerely hope that you’re able to join us for IndyVolved—whether you come this year or the next! IndyVolved is free to attend, although RSVPs are required either in advance or through registration at the door.

But don’t worry! If you’re busy, working late, or simply not ready for more commitments, that’s okay. The opportunities available at IndyVolved will always be there for whenever you’re ready to get involved.

IndyHub believes that an engaged community is the strength of Indy’s today and tomorrow. That’s why they provide countless opportunities to shape the future of our city with their free volunteer resource guide. So, you can discover your civic match and start making our community a better place to live, work, and play. 

We can’t wait to see you down at Victory Field and all around the Circle City, wherever your passions take you!