Sometimes life gets so busy that giving back to the wonderful community we live in (unfortunately) takes a back seat. We often feel the tug to volunteer around the holidays, but if your local school or religious organization doesn’t have a turn-key opportunity lined up, you may be stumped as to where to start.
Problem solved: The Volunteer Center of United Way, which serves Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Valley, makes volunteering easy by pairing individuals and their interests and services with meaningful organizations in our area that need help.
The process for getting started is simple: You create a “Log In” account with a profile (basics like name, address, phone number, etc.) on The Volunteer Center’s website. It’s completely confidential and you have the option of including more specifics like your personal interests, background, etc. You can then view service opportunities. Press the “Express Interest” button when a job appeals to you and an email will go directly to the volunteer coordinator of that agency; there’s room for comments such as times available, details about skills, or perhaps that the interest is being expressed by a parent for their teenager (you have to be 14 or over to set up your own Log In account). Then, the volunteer coordinator knows that you are interested and will reach out to discuss it, by email or phone.
Looking for special one-off opportunities to volunteer? The Volunteer Center makes that easy too. For example, right around the corner is National Make a Difference Day on October 27th. The goal is that as many people as possible, as individuals or in groups, do good in their community on the same day. Participation is easy and can be as simple as some of the “little things” that people can do to help one another, such as taking a senior to a doctor’s appointment or donating that old cell phone, books, clothing, etc. The Volunteer Center offers opportunities to get involved on their site, and more info can be found on the Make a Difference Day website. Another approaching nationally recognized day of service is Family Volunteer Day on November 27th.
The Volunteer Center even created a special area on their website with volunteer opportunities unique to the Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Hanukkah season. As The Volunteer Center’s partner agencies continually add their volunteer needs to their database, there will be more opportunities listed such as Friends of Karen’s Holiday Adopt-A-Family Program (based in Purdys), more food drives, and toy drives.
The Volunteer Center of United Way, 220 White Plains Rd, Tarrytown; 914-948-4452.