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Easier Ways to Volunteer

How to be a team player without spending hours baking or manning a booth at the school book sale:

• Steer clear of committees. Meetings are usually long and often lead to follow-up projects. Instead, chaperone a one-time field trip: You've come, you've cooed over the baby chicks  -- and now you can go home.

• Be visible. Pitch in when your church or community center does its spring cleaning. Or offer to read to your child's class. You'll score points with the people who count  -- and you might even have fun.

• Take the work home with you. If you know you can type carnival flyers fast, ask to do that so you can skip the brainstorming session.

• Split duties with another mom. Can't spend a couple of hours at the bake sale? Find a friend who's in the same boat and divvy up the shift.

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