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Find Your Niche: Volunteer Resources

Thursday, June 30, 2016

I have been volunteering for several years now and really enjoy it. I certainly feel that I get as much or more out of volunteering as I put into it. Listed below are some resources that you may be able to use no matter where you live. If you want to volunteer, it is usually fairly easy to find out where you are needed.

These organizations offer a range of possible ways to give back to your community.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (www.nationalservice.gov) is a federal agency that invests in a range of nonprofit local community organizations that mentor and tutor at-risk youth, rebuild communities struck by natural disasters, help seniors live independently, and support veterans and military families.

Volunteer Match (www.volunteermatch.org) connects people with local volunteer opportunities that match their interests and expertise, with such choices as helping animals, assisting immigrants and refugees, working with computers and technology, and numerous others.

Experience Corps (www.aarp.org/experience-corps
) recruits and trains older adults to tutor children from kindergarten through third grade who are struggling to read. They work in lower-income districts in 22 cities throughout the country.

I volunteer currently for The Madison Children's Museum. Mattel donates gently used American Girl dolls to the Museum and the volunteers do whatever is needed to prepare them for the huge sale the third weekend in July. People come from all over the world to this once a year sale. About 90% of the proceeds go to the Madison Children's Museum and the rest is divided between children's charities in and around Madison, WI. Last year the volunteers bought several of the dolls that needed a bit more TLC and did whatever it took to restore them, and then bought outfits for them and donated them to a local center for abused women (and their children) who sought shelter. We delivered 45 dolls to some very appreciative children. I love what I do and I love the feeling of being able to help those who quite often, can't help themselves.

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