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Author Topic: Volunteer Work...what do you do?  (Read 7492 times)

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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2012, 03:53:49 AM »
I have cleaned fossil bones at the history museum, read to grade school classes, and gave tours of my department's rock and mineral collection to schoolkids when I was in college.

Starting in January, I'm going to be tutoring ESL students and new immigrants, and training to be a docent at the art museum.


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2012, 05:37:08 AM »
I volunteer for two non-profit organizations that perform habitat restoration and preservation work. It's a lot of back-breaking work in all types of weather. However, it's worth it to see the properties once overgrown with invasive plants evolve into beautiful sanctuaries carpeted with native plants. I've also organized fundraisers for both organizations so they can purchase more land and expedite work on the properties they already own.

A few months ago I began to serve on an advisory board for a youth development program. The program helps kids learn and practice leadership skills and other soft skills. In a short time it's already been an amazing experience.
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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #17 on: December 16, 2012, 09:17:25 AM »
I'm an AYSO (youth soccer) referee and referee instructor.

I volunteer with The Los Angeles Maritime Institute taking at-risk kids out on a tall ship for day and week-long sails. Think of it as Outward Bound for the middle-school set. The kids plan and cook meals, sail the boat and learn a bit about themselves and life in the process.

Every year, the boys and I have found volunteer opportunities through Big Sunday, which acts as an organizer for hundreds of projects. (BTW, it's not just in Los Angeles, they're looking to expand to Sacramento and the Bay Area.)

I also volunteer at the boys' school as a docent. We give tours to applicant families throughout the fall and winter.
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bow lines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #18 on: December 16, 2012, 09:47:56 AM »
I am a volunteer docent at the local history museum. I primarily do an interactive program for school children, but I also put in days where I just hang out in the museum for a few hours, explaining exhibits to visitors and giving them in depth information about local history. That's fun because I get to meet people from all over the world. If our museum didn't have volunteers, we would have to charge so much for our school programs that few schools could participate, especially ones where parents have few resources to fund a trip.

We also have volunteers who demonstrate old machinery, teach crafts, or lead tours of the historic section of town. These are things that can be done on weekends. We have a living history program where people pick a character, real or imaginary, and become that person, costume included, for various events. Some of our tour guides do it as living history.

Some of our volunteers also volunteer at other historic sites. Our historic cemetery has a whole volunteer gardening program that has turned it from a weed patch to a place of real beauty. Others volunteer at the archive center, helping to organize and conserve what is stored there.

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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2012, 09:51:51 AM »
We have a spare room in our house that we don't use very much, so we foster kittens for the local animal shelter. When they get flooded with kittens in the Spring- Fall, we'll take in a litter or a pregnant mother and keep them for about 8-10 weeks. We provide a litter box and the food, but the shelter provides any medical care needed. Mostly, the mother cat does the hard work of raising her babies and we give her a warm, quiet, safe place to live in. They stay in the guest room full time (we keep our own cats well away). The room is uncarpeted, so if there are any little 'accidents" made by the babies, it is easily cleaned with a sponge and some hot water. Once the kittens are big enough to be spayed and put on the adoption floor, we return them. That is a little hard, because I get attached, but I know these great little ones are going to find good homes. Then we keep the mother cat for an extra week or so, so that her milk can dry up and she can put a bit of weight on, and then she goes back to the shelter as well.

We are also on a list to take in someone's cats during an emergency situation (weather emergency, someone fleeing abuse in the home, etc). Basically, if someone is in a bind and needs someone to care for their cats for just a few weeks while they get a new living situation arranged, we are available to help. Again, we would cover the food and litter costs, but since the program is run through the shelter, they will provide for all the medical needs.
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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2012, 10:22:43 AM »
Several years ago, I was a docent for the local zoo, and loved it. Sadly though, my life got more complicated, and I ran out of time. It was fun, and maybe one day I'll go back.

However, I am considering volunteering as a RN at a local homeless shelter.
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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2012, 10:39:17 AM »
Sammie, I think that so much about volunteering decisions is based on your own needs.  Time commitments is key.  Sometimes I can commit to a role that requires my to be somewhere at the same time ever week for 6 weeks to teach a class. Some other times I can't make that commitment but I can volunteer 8 hours a month as long as I can set my own schedule.

Others feel more comfortable in back office functions while others get the most enjoyment when working with people in need directly.  Others prefer addressing the needs of animals or raising funds for research or the arts.

In my volunteer history I have taught Jr. Achievement classes in schools, been a HS student mentor, taught ESL adult classes, worked fund raisers for Pancreatic cancer network, volunteered for special events at the zoo, and volunteered for an organization providing gifts for kids in CPS custody.  Additionally I've done a ton of school PTA volunteering and leadership.

I'd reach out to some organizations that interest you and do some small commitments until you find a role or group you enjoy.


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2012, 10:46:23 AM »
DH and I joined Rotary.  It's not for everyone as it's quite expensive to join, but they do great works both at home and abroad.  It worked for us because we had moved to a new community and wanted to be part of something.

It's been fantastic for DH, who loves working with his hands, because they always need people who can fix things.  This weekend he spent all day Saturday doing maintenance for an independent living home for special needs adults (here it's called a REACH house) and earlier this month he went down to Mexico with part of the group to do maintenance on an orphanage (which is where he was when my oven caught fire and couldn't get ahold of him).

There are other service clubs such as Elks and Kiwanis, and all of them struggle to get new members as I think it's sort of fallen out of "vogue".


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #23 on: December 16, 2012, 11:06:56 AM »
Right now my focus is being on the Early Responders Team for natural disasters through the United Methodist Church. We do anything necessary from sifting through debris left by disasters to tearing down unsavable homes, but most importantly listening to the survivors. They are still pretty raw. We don't mention the church unless they want to. We often work with Baptists and Lutherans who have similar groups. We just returned from 5 days in Staten Island where we were gutting homes and spraying Shock Wave for mold. I'm doing laundry and clearing my lungs as I write. (Masks and repirators just don't do the complete job!) It requires training sessions and certification.

I also volunteer at the shelter for people from abusive situations. We transport them to lawyer and doctor appointments, meetings with their kids if they are non-custodial, rescue in a situation that is not dangerous, and I babysit when there are counseling sessions. I set up the inhouse library there. We also adopt a couple of families for Christmas, which is anonymous.

When the kids were in school, I volunteered as a room mother and in the library, which led to a 20 year job. Of course, there was the one year as a Brownie leader.

I love this thread! You've made me think about other things I may be able to do!


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #24 on: December 16, 2012, 12:04:22 PM »
I volunteer in the emergency department of my local hospital. Most of my time is spent restocking the exam rooms and phlebotomy trays, tracking down wheelchairs in other departments in the hospital and returning them to the ED, and cleaning the exam rooms between patients.


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #25 on: December 16, 2012, 12:11:43 PM »
I sit on a few boards - one a beach conservation group for a land trust, and the other a small school in Harlem (extraordinary kids!) - it isn't much work and I should be doing more, but it is very very rewarding. 


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #26 on: December 16, 2012, 12:37:13 PM »
(I must say, this thread is beautiful, inspiring, and awesome! all the wonderful e-hellions doing wonderful things, thinking of doing wonderful things, may do wonderful things! )

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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #27 on: December 16, 2012, 01:48:55 PM »
My scope is a bit narrow.  Everything I volunteer for is either for my boys schools or scouts.  It all varies depending on what is needed.  Since school has started I have helped run the bookfair, made 40 gift baskets for a fall festival, become A's webelos co-leader, run the popcorn fundraiser and am treasurer for the pack, am teaching an afterschool GATE program next week, and do other random stuff as needed.
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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #28 on: December 16, 2012, 03:01:38 PM »
Wow! I am loving the responses to this thread. One thing that I am definitely going to is start donating platelets to the Red Cross again. I used to do that years ago. I have very high platelet count, so when I donate it counts as to two donations. I've already made an appointment and will go on Friday morning!

I've been reading this thread and looking at various websites for my community and am finding an overwhelming number of ideas how I can give back. I'm actually having fun considering the different things that I might do!

What have you got? Is it food? Is it for me? I want it whatever it is!


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Re: Volunteer Work...what do you do?
« Reply #29 on: December 16, 2012, 05:00:19 PM »
I admire all of you so much! Too bad I have become jaded regarding volunteer work for various reasons. I do donate food and supplies to local pantries. All of you are remarkable. Keep up the good work!
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