A good place to volunteer?

flower in handsLooking to help, Camilo emails:

With the upcoming season of holidays, I was wondering if you guys know of a good place to volunteer in, where I could spend a couple of hours a week. I am not affiliated with any church (neither am I interested in), but any place where I could feel like i'm being useful for the community would be cool. I checked online and I cant find anything really worth. Most of the volunteering positions I find around are more like office-assistant-of-the-church kinda work, but not really community oriented.

This question has come up a few times in the past. And people had some good suggestions -- some of them probably still apply.

There's also a site called VolunteerMatch that allows you to search for volunteer opportunities as if they were job listings. You just tell it the location and what you're interested in. Here are the results for "everything" within a 20 mile radius of 12203.

One more interesting option: The Stakeholders group is starting up a network to match non-profits with volunteers. It looks like they're currently taking applications for January matches.

Know of good place to volunteer? Please share!

photo: Flickr user Hamed Saber

Comments

I volunteer once a week at the Capitol District Habitat for Humanity ReStore on North Pearl.

http://www.capitaldistricthabitat.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=14

There is one in Schenectady as well.

There are some wonderful people and it is for a great cause.

Joseph's House and Inn from the Cold in Troy are always in need of volunteers.

Capital District Community Gardens, which has many things going on aside from the actual gardens, including the Veggie Mobile and the Squash Hunger program, is a good option:
http://cdcg.org/volunteer.html

The food pantries (many of which are housed in church buildings, but also in other community institutions) need help a few hours a week to pack up bags of food and hand them out to clients. Contact Food Pantries of the Capital District to find a nearby food pantry with hours that are convenient for you.

The American Red Cross is a great place to volunteer. We have various volunteering opportunties. The Red Cross responds to all local disasters as well as national and international disasters.

The Red Cross is always there when you need us.

It's a commitment, but they certainly need more volunteers and you could make a positive impact on your/our community:
Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Capital Region

http://www.bbbs.org/site/c.pwL6KhNWLvH/b.3510415/k.7D2D/Big_Brothers_Big_Sisters_of_the_Capital_Region.htm

The Homeless Action Committee at 393 N Pearl. They run an SRO where homeless people are given a steady place to live, free meals and their own room. There are no requirements for them to maintain sobriety to live there (though sobriety is encourage and no alcohol is allowed in the building) and no one has to attend any type of church service (like the Missions). They also run a van which hands food and blankets out to people on the street. I used to work there they're good people.

I volunteer at the Glendale Nursing Home in Scotia. Wonderful people, I love being there. It's very fulfilling.

I volunteer once a week tutoring reading and writing skills. I volunteer through Literacy New York. http://www.lvamohawkhudson.org/
They always need tutors - they have a waiting list of students, both Americans with low level skills and also ESL (English as a second language) students. You are trained and given support and materials to work with and you can teach one on one (as I do) or you can teach a small group in a class setting. I have been working with my student for two years and her skills have improved. I enjoy it and I am proud of her.
The literacy (or illiteracy) of those in our communities has a severe impact not just on those individuals, but on all of us.

Where to volunteer really depends on your interests. If you have a skill or particular interest, it's best to start there. For instance, I love dogs and am pretty good at training them, so I volunteer with an animal rescue organization. My brother in law is in the health insurance business and he volunteers for a senior services organization.

Most organizations don't advertise for particular positions. If you love crafts, say, contacting a senior service organization to see if they can use your skills is usually the best way to find a position. Even if they don't have a use for your talents, they may be able to refer you to another organization that would love your help.

Bright Horizons Social Centers is a non-profit senior day care, with three sites - two in Colonie and one in Latham. There are opportunities to come in and share your talents, ie: running a sing along, doing art projects or craft projects, playing wii bowling, or you could help serve a meal, or simply sit and chat with a senior who would like someone to talk with. You can commit as much or as little of your time as you would like, and you make your own schedule. visit www.brighthorizonssocialcenters.org for contact info.

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