FOCUS Fifty Plus Article by Marcia Hale
Volunteers Provide Support to Over 100 Area Nonprofits
BY MARCIA HALE, Volunteer Connections Program Coordinator
Short and long term opportunities to engage are available through the Volunteer Connections Program.
Sometimes it seems spare time is in short supply, but through Volunteer Connections, a program of the Clark County nonprofit Human Services Council, over 700 people age 55 and older found spare time to serve the community in a variety of ways. Last year over 49,000 hours of volunteer service filled the needs of over 100 nonprofit partners. Volunteers serve in a variety of ways from staffing the information desk at the courthouse and public service center, to writing letters to 5th graders in our Pen Pal program through the Evergreen and Vancouver Public Schools.
The holidays always brings a long list of short term opportunities perfect for people who want to give back, but may not have a large block of time to commit. Volunteer Connections has many short term opportunities throughout November and December. These positions often fill quickly so if you see one you’d like to do, contact Volunteer Connections soon. Opportunities for the holidays include:
The Salvation Army: Needs help with Christmas intake.
Shared Hope International: Opportunities range from a holiday breakfast to helping with the end of the year calls, and their Christmas card program.
The Humane Society of Southwest Washington’s ReTails Christmas Store & Furry Friends: Holiday helpers needed.
Clark County Food Bank: A variety of short term opportunities.
For those who are looking for a longer term opportunity and who love working with children, Volunteer Connections has many on-going needs including:
The Lunch Buddy Program: As a lunch buddy you are matched with an elementary student who you’ll meet for lunch once a week at the student’s school. Buddies spend time playing board games, going onto the playground, or just chatting with the student to work toward the goal of developing life-long skills modeling purpose and potential. Right now there are more than 100 children on the wait list, most of them boys, so there is a high need for male mentors.
Burnt Bridge Creek Elementary: After school programs need volunteers to be chess masters, teach knitting or organize a game board club.
The Salvation Army: S.A.Y. KLUB after school program for grades 1-5 meets Tuesday-Friday until 6:30pm. Volunteers needed for homework help, literacy assistance or organized activities.
The Boys and Girls Club: Volunteers needed to help with recreation programs, homework or other organized activities.
In addition to opportunities in schools, there are many other options ranging from working with veterans, to working in a thrift store, or helping out at the food bank. No matter what your interest, there is likely a volunteer opportunity looking for help! To become a volunteer through Volunteer Connections visit the website at: www.hsc-wa.org/volunteer-center or call 360-735-3683.
The Volunteer Connections website (www.hsc-wa.org/volunteer-center) is the place to start to find short or long term opportunities. Once a volunteer has registered online, Volunteer Connections staff follows up with an interview and will assist to help find the opportunity that will best suit you and your schedule. Volunteer Connections conducts background checks on all volunteers 18 and over, making the volunteer more readily available to many of the partner organizations.
*Published in The Columbian newspaper on November 16, 2016.