Nowadays it is easy to get caught up in your work and career, but part of leading a meaningful life is connecting with your community and leveraging your skills to help those in need. You can help in your neighborhood or you can help half way across the world! As an Architect &/or Designer, your skills are even more desired, considering you have the know how to be able to design and conduct construction to create affordable housing and community centers. 🙌
Since the beginning of the COVID Pandemic, we have been thinking about ways to assist our community and leverage our skills to help you. So we have done some research to look into other ways you might be able to make a meaningful impact in the world! Listen up! 👍
1.) Organizations that seek assistance from Architects &/or Designers
Although there are many different organizations that help build affordable housing and structures, there is a variety in the size and types of organizations. Habitat for Humanity is a popular destination and does not require much experience to join and make a difference. If you are seeking to travel more, then you may want to look into Build Abroad.
Their mission aims to “…focus specifically on construction volunteering… they feel that construction volunteering is the best way to serve a community. There will always be a need for building projects throughout the world, which is why we have chosen to connect volunteers with these opportunities.”
They currently have active projects in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru and they continue adding locations every year. Another option that you can apply to for volunteer work abroad is Building Trust International.
They assist with a wide range of projects all over the world and have a workshop happen every year. In Building Trust they focus more on the design process and they ask for at least a 3 month commitment. So make sure that you are ready to be a part of a community for at least 3 months! 😁
2.) The Role of the American Institute of Architects in Improving Design and Quality of Community Projects
While there are many organizations focused on the construction phase of community projects, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) has created a Center for Communities by Design, which over the past 50 years has been working to improve the quality of design of young and upcoming Architects.
This design assistance program has professionals working together in a way that allows for free technical and design advice, while trying to tackle solvable issues with housing and poverty. This includes sustainable design that will last years into the future and provide the community with a source of inspiration.
Since the program aims for results, they track the investments made and their impact, so for example, they have opened new parks, affordable housing, commercial and economic revitalization, preservation of historic districts and landmarks, and pedestrian systems.
3.) Go to your Local Food Bank and/or Homeless Shelter
Of course, you can always just do a quick search for your local food bank or your homeless shelter to find out what they need and donate your time and care. This is the quickest and most effective option you have. So make the most of it!
4.) Connect with your Local Architecture Firms and Ask them about their Community Engagement Initiatives
Many times, Architecture firms and Design Studios have their own local initiatives that you can join and help out with your skills, time and money.
If you are still in school, you can start a petition to try and get your own university to put forward funds towards organizations that you can assist with your skills in Architecture and Design.
You must always be thinking about ways to leverage your skills and know-how to create win-win scenarios for all those involved. Yet at the end of the day, the people you are helping will let you know the best ways to help.
5.) Go to your Community Hearings and/or Reunions to better understand what they need!
Never undervalue the impact you can make on your community! Always push yourself to do more! So that if you normally volunteer and help out once a month, maybe you can go twice a month now.
Over time the community you create and foster will start to return the energy and time you gave to them! On top of that, it will help you with your communication skills and your organization skills, as you must always keep up to date with the ways in which the community is changing.
Take these 5 tips and apply them to your life, and start making a bigger and more positive impact on your community! 👍
Join the Architect-US family, and take advantage of the information and insight we have for you for free. DO NOT FORGET THE Portfolio Plans to Career Advice. 🙏🙏🤓👌 Our Selection Committee of architects and designers with 10+ years of experience are a highly-qualified resource for you to take advantage while planning your next steps. Let us know where you stand in your career!