REAL SIMPLE. REAL LIFE.makeover star Peggy Normandin volunteers her time to charitable causes in her area―namely Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic and Casa Teresa, which provides housing for pregnant women in need. Here, five worthy organizations that could really use your help.

By Real Simple
Updated November 20, 2008
Alison Gootee

BBBS helps children from six to 18 reach their full potential by pairing them with local mentors, who provide companionship in ways both big (offering advice and guidance) and small (going out for pizza together).

This organization relies on volunteers to construct affordable homes that are then sold at no profit to low-income families. (The mortgage payments the purchasers make go directly into a fund for future construction projects.) Perfect for those who aren’t afraid to get their hands a little dirty.

This worldwide organization―dedicated to protecting ecologically important lands and waters―provides nature-centric volunteer opportunities based on the specific needs of your location. (Example: trail development in the Adirondacks or installing irrigation systems to help native plants in California’s Carrizo Plain National Monument.)

With over 450,000 volunteers nationwide, this organization strives to get kids reading by delivering free books and literacy resources to those in need. Volunteers help plan and attend reading events, select reading materials, and raise funds.

Get the next generation on board with community service via this nonprofit organization that enlists whole broods to help with worthy causes―from rescuing animals to assisting the elderly and disabled.