Increased need for volunteersThe need for volunteers has greatly increased with the troubled economy, according to Arrowhead RSVP Volunteer Coordinator for Lake and Cook counties, Deade Johnson.
The need for volunteers has greatly increased with the troubled economy, according to Arrowhead RSVP Volunteer Coordinator for Lake and Cook counties, Deade Johnson.
Since Sept. 11 marks the New National Day of Service, Johnson is reminding area residents to get involved in volunteering.
“We need tons more people to fill the needs that are out there. We can find something for everyone who wants to volunteer, even if they are in a wheel chair or have another disability,” Johnson said.
Arrowhead RSVP connects people who want to volunteer with non-profit and social service programs in Lake County who need volunteers. Service areas include caregiver support ( respite care), volunteer drivers, food shelves, clothing and thrift stores, nursing homes, assisted living apts, tax forms assistance, health insurance counselors, ecology and ‘green’ projects, office support, tourist industry and museums, working with crisis situations, and special projects.
Some of the current volunteer opportunities are as follows:
Friendly visitor: Brighten your life by sharing your time and building a friendship with a Senior. Volunteering three to six hours a month can bring joy into the life of an isolated senior in your community. Enjoy outings or get together in the senior’s home for coffee and friendly visits. The skills that are needed for this include; interest or experience in working with seniors, good listening skills, patience, dependability, ability to make a longer term commitment.
Meals on Wheels: By giving just an hour a week, you can make a difference to a home bound senior. Meals on Wheels volunteers are cherished by their clients who are unable to cook for themselves and often have no other visitors. You will pick up prepared meals for noon meal and route directions; then deliver the meals to their homes. Routes are consolidated by neighborhood to minimize travel distances and time. Volunteers can fill this position individually, as a team of two, or groups can rotate shifts between themselves. It takes less than one hour to complete.
Visitor with pet: Pets may provide the elderly with acceptance, companionship, unconditional love, entertainment and a social outlet. The responsibilities include arriving as scheduled, signing in and logging hours each time that you visit with your pet, provide residents with the opportunity to touch, and reminisce in the presence of a pet. The skills needed for this position include being comfortable working with the elderly, having a pet that is social, enjoys being touched, and posses a mild temperament. Volunteer must be respectful and value the elderly, must have good communication skills and the ability to listen to the elderly, be able to push a wheelchair if necessary, able to read and write and must provide current vaccination records for pets.
Food shelf volunteer: Families experiencing both short-term and long –term crises need cheerful volunteers to assist at the Two Harbors Area Food Shelf. Duties include receiving donations, stocking shelves, assisting clients. Shifts are available on Tuesdays from 10 AM-1 PM or from 1 PM -4 PM. Volunteers should be able commit to at least one shift per month. The skills involved include being able to lift 20 lbs. They should be reliable, able to use confidentiality and be willing to have fun while working with diverse groups of people while treating them with dignity and respect. Orientation and training is provided.
SHARE: Volunteer once a month for a community–based non-profit volunteer run food buying club. A variety of positions are available. This is a fun organization to volunteer for. Volunteers can also participate and buy a food package and save 30-50 % on meat, fresh fruits and vegetables. Training and orientation is provided.
Home repairs assistant: Provide minor home repairs to older adults still living in their own home. The responsibilities include carrying out assignments as accepted, calling to schedule appointments, assessing situation to determine work that needs to be done, arranging for the payment of materials. Performing the work or referring back to senior office when job is too large and making sure that the work area is cleaned before leaving.
Skills needed for this job include experience with minor home repair, be dependable, reliable and friendly, care and have concern for older adults and respecting confidentiality.
Volunteer drivers are needed for a number of different agencies. These positions require auto insurance, a valid license, and a good driving record. Volunteers are used to transport people to medical appointments, work related appointments and other appointments in the community.
Ecology volunteers work in the out-of-doors. There are some fun fall volunteer opportunities available that include giving fall tours, or working in the woods as examples.
For more information about finding the perfect volunteer opportunity for yourself to fit your time frame, skills and interests call 1-800-223-1850 or 834-2280 Ext. 108.
RSVP is part of the Senior Corps and is sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service; Minnesota Board on Aging; St Louis, Lake Counties.