BY CHRISTINA DEL AMO JOHNSON
CAN I GET A VOLUNTEER??? 16 Ways Your Child Can Get Involved
Whether it’s setting up for a fundraising walk or helping out at a local animal shelter, volunteering is a great way for your children to get involved in their community. Many schools are also realizing the importance of service and are requiring students to fulfill a certain number of volunteer hours for graduation.
A 2005 study sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service and the U.S. Census Bureau and Independent Sector shows youth are making an impact. It found that 15.5 million teenagers volunteered during 2004, contributing more than 1.3 billion hours of service. That translated into a rate of 55 percent compared to the adult volunteer rate of 29 percent as established by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The findings also showed that students who volunteer do better in school than their counterparts who don’t volunteer.
The trick is to find something your child is interested in so it won’t feel like a chore, and instead, will become something they will consider doing well beyond their obligated time. In Middle Georgia there are plenty of opportunities for teens to get involved. Georgia Family has compiled a list of some of the nonprofit organizations in the area, broken up into service categories, to help your kids find what best fits them:
All About Animals
All About Animals is a no-kill animal shelter that gives dogs and cats a home until permanent homes can be found.
Volunteer Opportunities: Caring for animals and helping with adoption clinics.
Contact: (478) 621-5116 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Humane Society of Houston County
HSHoCo educates the public on the importance of spaying & neutering, micro-chipping and responsible pet care. Through volunteer networks they provide foster care programs. The organization offers adoptions and encourages a community No Kill Plan.
Volunteer Opportunities: Minimum age for unaccompanied volunteer is age 14. Teens are needed to Assist with set up of crates/food/water/litter; walk dogs; cleanup as necessary for adoption events, general office help and more.
Contact: (478) 599-0211 or email email@example.com
CHILDREN & FAMILIES
Campus Clubs reaches out to “at risk” children in the Pleasant Hill community in Macon. It is an after-school program that offers these kids a snack, tutoring, Bible studies, physical education, and guidance.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers would help with tutoring, various activities, and building relationships with the children that attend Campus Clubs.
Contact: (478) 742-7794 or email campusclubsmacon.org
Jay’s Hope’s goal is to improve the quality-of-life of children with cancer and their families in Central and South Georgia through social, emotional, spiritual, educational, and financial support.
Volunteer opportunities: Helping with their annual Trek-or-Treat 5K and Family Festival, assist with office mailings, help with social events for families by babysitting, leading activities, and helping with awareness campaigns each September
Contact: (478) 238-6360 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald McDonald House of Central Georgia is designed to be a “home away from home” for the families of seriously ill or critically injured children being treated at Macon area hospitals, by providing temporary housing during the course of the patient’s treatment.
Volunteer Opportunities: A parent must accompany children under the age of 16. Students are needed for answering phones, giving house tours, cleaning, helping with special events, and more.
Contact: (478) 746-4090 or email email@example.com
Rooms from the Heart
Rooms from the Heart redecorates the bedrooms of critically or terminally ill children between the ages of four and 19. Their bedrooms are decorated in the themes of their choice, with special consideration for needs related to their illnesses, creating unique, cheerful, and comforting environments.
Volunteer opportunities: Teens 16 and older are needed to help redecorate the rooms by painting, assembling furniture, and cleaning. Volunteers are also needed for the organization’s “Fairytale Ball” in February to set-up/break down the event, dress up as fairytale characters, and direct activity booths.
Contact: (478) 747-5299 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Special Olympics Georgia provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Our goal is to help bring persons with intellectual disabilities into the larger society under conditions whereby they are accepted, respected, and given the chance to become useful and productive citizens.
Volunteer Opportunities: Assist with special events or at the ARC building in Macon.
Contact: Ann Kearbey (478) 781-7555 or call the Advocacy Resource Center (ARC) at (478) 477-7764.
The mission of Goodwill is to help people discover and develop their God given gifts through education, work, and career development services. To work toward this mission, the organization provides job training and placement services to individuals in the local community that have barriers to employment. The training programs at Goodwill are funded through their retail stores where 84 cents out of every dollar in sales goes back into their mission.
Volunteer Opportunities: Goodwill offers many opportunities for teens in their retail stores by sorting and processing donations and at the Good Books Café by sorting and shelving books or reading to kids during story time. They can also help in Goodwill’s administrative office.
Contact: (478) 471-4879 or email email@example.com
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity International is an ecumenical Christian ministry that welcomes to its work all people dedicated to the cause of eliminating poverty housing. Since its founding in 1976, Habitat has built more than 400,000 houses worldwide, providing simple, decent and affordable shelter for more than two million people.
Volunteer Opportunities: Youth involvement with Habitat for Humanity on the construction site starts at age 16. Once the construction is completed youth ages 14 years or older can help with the landscaping and other activities that do not involve general construction, power tool usage or repair work. There are also volunteer opportunities at their ReStore, special events and their office. The hours are flexible depending on the project. Light the Night, 5K Run/Walk on Nov. 19 at 8 p.m., Chic-fil-A at Riverside restaurant, Pkwy and Tom Hill Sr. Blvd.
Contact: Houston County-Hope Hicks (478) 328-3388 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Bibb County- Monty Cheshire (478) 745-0630 x307 or email@example.com
Middle Georgia Community Food Bank
The Middle Georgia Community Food Bank solicits, transports, sorts, stores, and distributes millions of pounds of food every year to the needy, hungry, and homeless in Middle Georgia. Through this service and its in-house programs, the Middle Georgia Community Food Bank is a vital link in the distribution of food, saving agencies millions of dollars in food costs that can be used in their programs for the needy.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers under the age of 14 should be accompanied by an adult. The primary use of school-age youngsters is in the bagging and boxing of food for distribution to senior citizens (around 1250 bags per month) and families with children (1100 families per month).
Contact: (478) 742-3958 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
In March 1971, a group of United Methodist Women responded to their changing community by creating a clothing bank at Mulberry Street United Methodist Church. Macon Outreach at Mulberry mushroomed from that small mission project to a leadership role in Macon and middle Georgia. As a composite approach to ministry, Macon Outreach offers both immediate assistance and long-term hope. Our basic emphasis remains in service to the hungry and those in need.
Volunteer Opportunities: Helping in the grocery pantry and clothing shop. Other opportunities also available.
Contact: Johnny Hathcock (478) 743-8026 or email email@example.com
Rebuilding Macon is central Georgia’s largest nonprofit organization working to preserve home ownership and neighborhoods by providing rehabilitation services free of charge to those in need. Through the support of corporate sponsors, local businesses, and the hands-on work of over 2500 volunteers, Rebuilding Macon rehabilitated and repaired over 260 homes last year.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers must be 14 years of age or older. Rebuilding Macon accepts volunteers with all levels of skill. Volunteers are needed to help paint, clean, and perform numerous other small household jobs. They provide guidance, all materials, and set up teams of 10-20 volunteers at each house.
Contact: (478) 744-9808 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebuilding Together – Warner Robins
Rebuilding Together’s mission is to preserve affordable housing by brining volunteers and communities together to rehabilitate the homes of low-income homeowners in Warner Robins.
Volunteer Opportunities: Volunteers help to rehabilitate home through painting, minor repairs, construction and much more.
Contact: Jerome Stephens (478) 447-0251
The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading, global voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care and support, and the largest private, nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research.
Volunteer Opportunities: The Alzheimer’s Association recruits student volunteers for their “Walk to End Alzheimer’s” which takes place the first Saturday in November. They need help with set-up, registration, aid for runners and much more. The organization also recruits volunteers for office duties as well.
Contact: Karen Kinsler (478) 746-7050
Susan G. Komen for the Cure Central Georgia
Komen for the Cure is the global leader of the breast cancer movement, having invested more than $1.9 billion since its inception in 1982. Komen’s promise is to save lives and end breast cancer forever by empowering people, ensuring quality care for all and energizing science to find the cures.
Volunteer Opportunities: Teens can help at Komen special events like Race for the Cure, office duties and more.
Contact: (478) 390-4828 or email email@example.com
Come To The Fountain
Come to the Fountain is a picnic ministry for the homeless and poor in the downtown Macon area. They provide a picnic meal every Sunday evening at 5:00pm in Central City Park. The group currently serves a meal to approximately 100-150 people. In addition to the meal they try to start conversations that lead to relationships with people living in poverty. They also seek to provide information and referrals to other services for this population in our city.
Volunteer Opportunities: Setup, serving, clean up for the Sunday night meal, socializing, talking, and relationship building with people. Volunteer capacity is around 10 people per Sunday.
Contact: Denise Saturna, 478.746.8515, firstname.lastname@example.org or Alicia Holton, 478.397.4279, email@example.com.