Great Volunteer Programs For Any Area!
Extra time? Spend it volunteering!
Our country was built on volunteers. Men who took up arms and women who supported them so that we could gain the freedom we love and enjoy today. So why not carry on this tradition by volunteering yourself? Not only does it benefit yourself physically and emotionally, as well as your community, but it can also look good on a resume. Here are some great opportunities for volunteering I have found in the NJ/PA and Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst area
The local YMCAs of Burlington County are looking for volunteers in a variety of areas. There are many different categories of volunteers needed to help so that you can find the one that fits you. They even have a program called "Volunteers for Credit" where you can provide school related volunteering that will help with gain YOU school credit as well. To find out more oppurtunities at the local YMCA check out this link www.ymca.org
Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts of America
I'm sure everyone has bought their cookies at one point in their life. Or that you have fond memories of participating in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts as a child. Well you can volunteer to be a Troop leader or participate in your local troop. I have found that moving from base to base can be difficult for a military child. Having programs like this in the area gives the child the opportunity to meet new people and feel a sense of continuity when moving. It can also give the parent a new way to help their local area while meeting other parents of like minds. To see local troops in your area check out these links. www.scouting.org and http://www.girlscouts.org/
Firefighting and Support
Unlike many other states, NJ is comprised mostly of a volunteer force for local fire stations. Growing up in NJ both my grandfathers, my father, my uncles and cousins were involved in the local fire station. I remember all the events and the sense of community gained from a group of people who were there just to help people. Later in life I married a man who joined our local fire station after his last tour in Iraq. My brother-in-law belongs and even my little sister went through the training academy. And its not just the actual firefighters that can volunteer. There are programs for the spouses as well such as the Ladies Auxilory and groups that provide food and support when there are large fires. NJ also is one of the stricter states regarding who can be considered certified. A lot of the fire stations in the are will provide the training and there is even a Fire Academy associated with Burlington County Community College. For more information about fire stations in your area check out this link.http://metrojersey.com/firedepartments.htm
Everyone knows the Red Cross. They are there for any incident in any community large or small to offer their support. What many don't know is that the majority of the Red Cross is made up of volunteers. I'm talking 95%! They do everything from helping at fires and disasters to teaching CPR, swimming and lifesaving skills. Many military in the area have this training already as a requirement of being a soldier. I know this because my husbands job is to teach it to them. :) There is a Red Cross location on JBMDL but for those not located on base, check out this link for your local Red Cross. www.redcross.org
Become a Big Brother/Big Sister
Mentoring a child can but such a fulfilling experience not only for them but for you. Everyone has seen the commercials for adopting children in the area and how many are out there without fathers or mothers. Becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister is a great way to be there and make a difference. Even if its just one child at a time. For more information on joining the Big Brother Big Sister organization check out this link. http://www.bbbsnj.org/
SPCA & Local Animal Shelters
Anyone with a heart has to cringe when they see an animal being abused. These anmials are like family members to many families. As a person with 2 dogs in our house, I personally would feel appalled to see any kind of anumal abuse. The SPCA associations are nationwide and offer the oppurtunity to volunteer to foster injured pets, volunteer at your local animal shelter and be there for our 4 legged friends. For more information at the local SPCA check out this link. http://www.njspca.org/support-spca-donate-now.htm
Lets face it, schools are cutting back on a lot in this economy. And sadly our children may suffer due to that. But you can help by offering your time to tutor children in your area to help them succeed. NJ has a free tutoring program called Homework Help NJ which offers free tutoring in a variety of different subjects 7 days a week. For more information about how you can volunteer to help check out this link. http://www.homeworkhelpnj.org/
CERT - Community Emergency Response Teams
CERT teams are pretty much in every community but many aren't aware that they are volunteers. They provide the training to help in diasters and gives members the tools to assist their community. For more information on your local CERT team check out this link. http://www.citizencorps.gov/cert/
Entrepreneurship is a growing facet of our society so it stands to reason that there are more and more people who need help with their growing businesses. Becoming a Business Mentor gives you the oppurtunity to contribute not only to your community but to help a person grow in their business experience which, in turn, can affect many areas of their life. For more information on becoming a Business Mentor in our area check out this link. http://www.micromentor.org/
Meals On Wheels
This program was created as a way to help end senior hunger. As we get older it is harder and harder not only to physically take care of ourselves but to financially handle the changes in society. Those who have no family support are left on their own to make their way in the world. This programs gives seniors the oppurtunity to not only get a healthy meal once a day but to give them some companionship. For more information on your local Meals on Wheels program check out this link. http://www.mowaa.org/
Soup Kitchens and Food Pantries
The economy is bad and it doesn't look to be getting any better. With unemployment at an all time high, a lot of families are turning to soup kitchens and food pantries to feed themselves and their families. There are many of these programs, usually through local churches or community centers, but finding one to help can be difficult. Here is a link for a list of soup kitchens and food pantries in the area. http://www.njahc.org/find-help.html
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