Ethan, There are so many needs in the community where you live. Just look around your community. Read the local newspaper, watch the local television station, and listen to your local radio station. You will discover needs that you were meant to give your time to. The other gift you will receive is the amazing friends you will meet. There will be people you would never choose to be your friend working next to you with the same goal, and both of your lives become transformed.
What do you love to do? Discover what you love to do and join a group that loves the same things. You can engage people by putting a notice on their front door announcing a bring-your-own-basket picnic in your backyard. If there doesn’t seem to be much interest, you may want to send out a questionnaire to the neighbors. Ask them what they would like to see as a community activity or get-together. Offer them choices such as meeting at a holiday time when most people are off from work, or getting together to make homemade ice cream, or a bring-your-own-covered-dish supper, or a piñata party for the kids. Be creative and be persistent.
Also, don’t go it alone. Get a team together to head the project. It’s more fun and you get more great input.