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This guide, written by New Horizons Un-Limited volunteers and staff, provides information on the benefits of volunteering and offers ways to find volunteer opportunities in your community or on the Internet.
One of the best ways a person can become involved in and contribute to his or her community is to volunteer.
Volunteer opportunities can range from cutting brush to visiting people in a nursing home, from data entry on a computer to helping build a house. A person can volunteer from 2 hours a week to 40 hours a week, or once a month to once a year. You can use your skills and interests, whatever they are, on a schedule you choose. Most people leave their homes to volunteer but, in this computer age, there are also some opportunities to volunteer without leaving your home.
A personal story: Ed was a career military man retired from the navy. He also had diabetes and had had part of one leg and the toes on the other foot amputated. Since his wife was still working in 1958, Ed spent about 40 hours a week volunteering at the VA Hospital in Seattle. He volunteered in Occupational Therapy, visited patients that were confined to their rooms, wrote letters for some, and ran errands for some. This is just one example of what a person can contribute as a volunteer.
How does volunteering benefit the volunteer.
Volunteering can be very important. It can give a person a way to contribute even when they cannot work. It can also give a person contact with other organizations that may become useful to them.
There are several ways to find volunteer opportunities in your community:
Points of Light Foundation website. Fill in your zip code under “Find a Local Volunteer Center” or choose your state to get a list of all the volunteer centers in your state.
Retired Senior Volunteer Programs (RSVP) is a volunteer program for people 55 and older. To investigate this program go to the Senior Corps website and click on “RSVP” under “Our Programs”. Choose your state and you will get a list of the RSVP programs in your state including phone numbers and e-mail addresses.
Volunteer Match - You can use the Volunteer Match website to find local opportunities in your community or to find virtual volunteering opportunities. To find opportunities in your community, fill in your zip code and choose a “distance” and “interest area”. To find virtual volunteer opportunities, choose “virtual” (bottom of the list) for your “distance”. Virtual volunteer opportunities include positions that can be done completely at home but not all virtual positions can be done completely at home.
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