A couple years ago, I volunteered at MOMOM, an annual free dental clinic that takes place over a weekend and travels around the state of Missouri, serving the underserved.

It was a massive operation—dozens of dentists working on the floor of a college basketball arena, doing everything from filling cavities to pulling multiple teeth, all for people who couldn't afford regular dental care. My job was escorting patients around the arena, and several were moved to tears after their procedures. It was really something.

You and I may not be dentists, but what can we do that's equivalent to spending a weekend providing free dental work for the needy? How do we volunteer our professional skills to help others? Our skills may not be as specialized or highly trained, but if we're paid for them at work, there's likely a way to give them away, too.

Volunteering is an essential (if under-appreciated) component of a good life.