This is National Volunteer Month. The April Pathfinder will explore some of the different ways to volunteer and the benefits of doing so. Just a few hours a month can add to your sense of well-being. EPL has many wonderful adult and teen volunteers. Check out some of them on this month’s bulletin board. Some of our volunteers have been for years; they are such a help. We appreciate and honor them!
To see the latest information about the number of people in Maine who volunteer and the value of their work, go to these sites:
Maine Profile- Volunteering and Civic Life in America: http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov/ME
Volunteer Worker Statistics: http://www.statisticbrain.com/volunteer-worker-statistics/
For a whole list of volunteering benefits, try this site:
Rewards of Volunteering: http://www.unitedwaygc.org/rewards_of_volunteering.php
So how do you go about finding a place to volunteer? There are sites to help you. Go here to see a range of volunteering opportunities:
The Maine government site even has a section on volunteering. Check it out at:
Maine.gov: Employment: Volunteering: http://www.maine.gov/portal/employment/volunteer.html
Volunteering is a great way to learn a new skill, and that could lead to other opportunities. This site has some links to other volunteer sites:
How Volunteering Can Boost Your Creative Career: http://artbistro.monster.com/education/articles/10766-how-volunteering-can-boost-your-creative-career
Or to create your own volunteer group (such as helping a neighbor), you can get ideas and help from this site.
Care for the Caregiver- Volunteer Opportunities: http://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/
International volunteering may appeal to some people and there are many sites to choose from. However, international volunteering can involve some costs for the volunteer (travel expenses and maybe a fee). Find out more about it at:
International: The cost of doing good: http://www.idealist.org/info/IntlVolunteer/Cost
Or to just see some of the international volunteering programs, go to:
International Volunteer Programs Association-Member List: http://www.volunteerinternational.org/memberlist.html
Volunteering is especially beneficial for older adults. Volunteering keeps seniors active and involved and has also been shown to lessen symptoms of chronic conditions.
Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits: Helping Yourself While Helping Others: http://www.helpguide.org/life/volunteer_opportunities_benefits_volunteering.htm
If you’re a grandparent and want to volunteer with a grandchild, try this site:
Volunteering for Kids- How Grandparents Can Help: http://grandparents.about.com/od/projectsactivities/a/Volunteering-For-Kids-How-Grandparents-Can-Help.htm
Volunteering virtually is another good option for older people. It is usually done from a home computer or over the phone. This is great if you want to volunteer and not have to go out in cold, snowy weather (like this year!). Even an hour or so can help. See the many virtual volunteering opportunities at:
Virtual Volunteer Opportunities: http://www.volunteermatch.org/search/index.jsp?v=true
Many other volunteering opportunities for seniors can be found through the State of Maine Government site or your Area Agency on Aging. Go to these sites to learn more:
Eastern Area Agency on Aging: http://www.eaaa.org/
Volunteer Opportunities: OES: Maine DHHS: http://www.maine.gov/dhhs/oads/aging/resource/volunt.htm
What is volunteering? Check out these sites to learn all about the benefits of giving back:
It’s My Life. Emotions. Volunteering. Give and Get Back!: http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/emotions/volunteering/
Be a Volunteer: http://kidshealth.org/kid/feeling/thought/volunteering.html
Take this quiz to find out where you should volunteer:
Where Should You Volunteer? http://www.kidzworld.com/quiz/6710-quiz-whats-your-perfect-volunteer-experience
-Collect cans and bottles for a good cause
-Contact a local animal shelter to ask if you can visit the animals.
SPCA in Trenton: http://www.spcahancockcounty.org/volunteer-programs/
-Participate in a local walk-a-thon.
-Help make food for a bake sale.
-Read to someone in a nursing home or help a beginner reader.
Do you want to make a difference but you’re not sure where to start? Take this quiz to see which volunteer opportunities are right for you.
What Kind of Volunteer are You? Take the Volunteer Personality Quiz and Find Out!: http://volunteer.truist.com/uwkc/volunteerquiz
There are so many ways to make a difference in your community. Here are some sites to help you brainstorm volunteer opportunities:
Global Youth Service Day in Maine: http://volunteermaine.org/service-learning/global-youth-service-days-maine/
Volunteer Reading, Tutoring & Mentoring: http://www.unitedway.org/take-action/volunteer
10 Innovative Ways to Make a Difference in 2014: http://www.policymic.com/articles/78317/10-innovative-ways-to-make-a-difference-in-2014
How can you get involved?
-Volunteer at your local library
For more information about how to volunteer at the Ellsworth Public Library, visit: http://www.ellsworth.lib.me.us/about/volunteer/
-Organize a food drive
-Organize a walk-a-thon, bowl-a-thon, rock-a-thon, or dance-a-thon and give the proceeds to a good cause.
-Offer to shovel walkways for seniors
-Participate in an outdoor clean-up
Earth Day Roadside Cleanup- Friends of Acadia: http://friendsofacadia.org/events/earth-day-roadside-cleanup/
Here’s a great print resource available at the Ellsworth Public Library:
The Ultimate Volunteer Guidebook for Young People by Christine Reyna Maxwell (y361.37)
There are all sorts of ways that children and parents can volunteer in the community. Here are a few sites to check out for inspiration:
Children’s Volunteering Resource Guide: http://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/teaching-tolerance/childrens-volunteering-resource-guide/
40 Ways Kids Can Volunteer, Toddler to Teen: http://lauragraceweldon.com/2013/06/27/40-ways-kids-can-volunteer-toddler-to-teen/
Ways for Children to Volunteer: http://www.oprah.com/relationships/Ways-for-Children-to-Volunteer/1
Berks County animal shelter’s ‘Book Buddies’ program is the cutest thing: http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/phillypets/Berks-County-animal-shelters-Book-Buddies-program-is-the-cutest-thing.html
Compassionate Kids – Volunteering with Children: http://www.compassionatekids.com/volunteering.shtml
How can families get involved?
Join a Parent/Youth team at the SPCA: http://www.spcahancockcounty.org/volunteer-programs/
There are many different ways to get involved. Check out this site for some ideas:
30 Blogs with Family Themed Volunteer Ideas: http://www.pointsoflight.org/blog/2013/01/03/30-blogs-family-themed-volunteer-ideas