If you are like me, you see what is going on in our city and you’d like to get involved but don’t quite know where to begin. You convince yourself that others are taking care of things or it costs too much money to support the charities and organizations that resonate with you.

Especially now, in the season of giving, if this in any way describes you, consider joining or supporting one or more of these local Young Friends groups that give young professionals a platform to shine and benefit their town while doing so. Whether they may be nestled in the arts, health and wellness or animal rights, there is a Young Friends group out there for you.

“I think that young professionals who participate in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’s Young Friends events enjoy the opportunity to experience an opera in the company of other people who share similar interests and are of a similar age. … Unlike a lot of Young Friends groups, we don’t ask young professionals to become donors first to come to Young Friends events, so you can experience opera for the first time through the program without feeling as if you are making a major financial commitment to OTSL. It hopefully makes the experience that much more fun, welcoming and accessible,” says OTSL Director of Marketing and Public Relations Joe Gfaller. “Our young professionals events and our young professionals group … work to achieve that vision.

“For any art form to thrive, it must continue to build interest and enthusiasm from within each new generation. With the significant reductions in arts education in schools, there are fewer opportunities to build that kind of enthusiasm at a very early age. For some, the prime window of time to engage new audiences is shortly after college — when people are still eager to learn more about the world around them and [are] curious to try things that may be new to them. We’re delighted to help provide those audiences with the opportunity to try something new — and perhaps discover along the way that it may [be] something they really enjoy.”

History Buff
Young Friends of Missouri History Museum | mohistory.org
Fostering an interest in our region’s past, this group introduces young professionals to other like-minded individuals through educational networking events and offers a chance to go behind the scenes with special-access tours of exhibits as well as the museum’s Library and Research Center.

Storyteller
Generation Listen STL | stlpublicradio.org
This Young Friends group of St. Louis Public Radio is reinvigorating the spirit of radio by telling your story. Stories have the power to change minds and broaden horizons, and this Young Friends group is connecting young people who share this vision.

Enable the Disabled
Young Friends of St. Louis Arc | slarc.org
St. Louis Arc advocates for the welfare of the intellectually and developmentally disabled, providing services to them and their families to help them lead better lives. The Young Friends group allows young professionals the chance to spread the Arc’s mission and educate their community on these issues.

Animal House
Saint Louis Zoo Young Professionals | stlzoo.org
It’s no secret that St. Louis boasts one of the best zoos in the country, and its group of young professionals is dedicated to the continued success of the zoo and furthering its goal to put animals first while building a strong leadership foundation for generations to come.

Kick Cancer
Young Friends of Kids With Cancer | friendsofkids.com
When cancer affects children, it takes away part of their childhood that should be spent making friends, goofing off and just being a kid. Friends of Kids with Cancer is there to make sure kids can still have fun in the wake of such a terrible illness.

Green Thumb
Young Friends of Missouri Botanical Garden | missouribotanicalgarden.org
The Missouri Botanical Garden has long been a fixture of St. Louis and continues to raise awareness and promote sustainability while educating people of all ages about the natural world. Consider attending the garden’s many Young Friends events such as Trivia Night, Tulip Trot or Fest-of-Ale.

Operation Opera
Young Friends of Opera Theatre of Saint Louis | opera-stl.org
Snobby aristocrats adorned in high societal dress with binoculars in hand may be what comes to your mind when you think of opera, but it’s far from what you’ll get at the Op- era Theatre of Saint Louis, where the fun, welcoming environment and bold talents will prove to you that opera is alive and well in the Gateway City.

Pick a Pet
Young Friends of APA Adoption Center | apamo.org
If you love animals, the Animal Protective Association is a great organization to support. The APA takes in thousands of neglected and abandoned animals every year and places them in loving homes. The Young Friends group represents the APA at sponsored events and volunteers at the shelter. M