Exercise more? Meh. Save money? Been there, failed at that. Eat healthier? Never a bad idea. But when 2022 begins, try a resolution a bit more satisfying than any promise to cut carbs: Give back to your community in a way that suits your values and abilities.

If Keeping Mother Nature Healthy Sounds Most Fulfilling…

Groundwork Denver
Help brighten some of the most polluted neighborhoods in Denver, such as Globeville and Elyria-Swansea, during Groundwork’s group cleanups on the South Platte River and Bear Creek. You can also sign up to knock on doors to educate residents on weatherization and energy efficiency.

If You’d Rather Work With Humans…

Part of HIV wellness nonprofit Colorado Health Network, this testing site in Uptown provides free, comprehensive sexually transmitted infection screenings. Work as a front-desk liaison or train as an STI tester, work that requires compassionate communication skills as well as collecting urine and blood samples.

If Sitting at a Desk Still Sounds Like Torture…

Headwaters Protectors
Without city-run trash removal, residents of Denver’s homeless encampments lack an easy way to dispose of garbage. Every Sunday since July 2020, Headwaters Protectors volunteers have filled that gap by collecting waste while also distributing water bottles and, when the weather turns colder, gloves and jackets. Send a message to @headwatersprotectors on Instagram to join them.

If You’re Looking to Form Personal Connections…

African Community Center
According to the Colorado Department of Human Services, more than 1,000 Afghan refugees have resettled in Colorado since September, and many of them need support. If your weekdays are free, you can help refugees navigate RTD routes or provide transportation to the many appointments (such as Social Security) they have to attend soon after arriving in the United States.

If You’re Still a Little Hesitant to Volunteer in Person…

The Center on Colfax
Studies show that people ages 60 and up thrive when they maintain social relationships, but that can be tough for folks who have a difficult time leaving their homes. The Center, a Denver nonprofit serving the LGBTQ community, connects older adults with young queer people and allies for friendly phone chats once per week.

If Connecting Others to Adventure Sounds Most Fulfilling…

Vibe Tribe Adventures
Denverite Jessica Newton launched this nonprofit, originally named Black Girls Hike, in 2017 to encourage Black women in Colorado to access the outdoors. Recently, Newton expanded her mission to all people of color (men included) and their allies across the country. Volunteer adventure guides lead hikes through national parks and teach members-only classes on snowsports, wilderness survival, and wildlife conservation.

If the Cold is a Deterring Factor…

National Sports Center for the Disabled
Colorado’s leading provider of adaptive recreation connects people with physical and mental disabilities with high-octane adventures. You can teach skiing or snowboarding, but the NSCD also needs rock climbers and paddlers to instruct within the cozy confines of indoor gyms during winter.

This article was originally published in 5280 January 2022.
Ethan Pan
Ethan Pan
Ethan Pan is 5280’s associate food editor, writing and editing for the print magazine and 5280.com. Follow his dining/cooking Instagram @ethans_pan.