Volunteering Ideas

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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nirvines88
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Volunteering Ideas

Post by nirvines88 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:37 pm

Where do the Bogleheads volunteer? I'm looking for any and all ideas. I've heard of a few places, like Habitat for Humanity and the local food kitchens, but what else is out there?
"Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship" - Poor Richard

tomd37
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by tomd37 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:49 pm

AARP Tax-Aide and IRS VITA volunteer tax programs preparing free online tax returns for seniors and others with limited incomes. This will be my 10th year as a volunteer in these programs. Tax training and testing will be provided to volunteers. The period is usually late January to April 15th each year. Check out AARP and IRS websites for details. Very rewarding!
Tom D.

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mhc
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by mhc » Sun Nov 04, 2012 6:56 pm

Homeless shelter
Coach a youth sports team
big brother/sister
church
meals on wheels
schools
forest service/trail work
hospital

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Raybo
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Raybo » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:06 pm

Become a docent at a museum or a national park.
No matter how long the hill, if you keep pedaling you'll eventually get up to the top.

Mill
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Mill » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:44 pm

you could join your local Chamber of Commerce as an Ambassador. Get to meet a lot of local business owners, go to ribbon cutting ceremonies, and help out with community events.

travelnut11
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by travelnut11 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:51 pm

CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates. Advocacy for abused and neglected children.

http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.m ... A/Home.htm
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mjdaniel
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by mjdaniel » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:50 pm

I just retired this year and am currently enrolled in a volunteer program called Master Gardener. If gardening interests you, they offer multiple oppurtunities to
get involved in projects. If you are interested, Google Master gardener and the name of your county.

jebmke
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by jebmke » Sun Nov 04, 2012 8:54 pm

I do TaxAide also. I run a site and do tech support for four counties. This is the time of year we look for new volunteers. Training typically kicks off in late December-January.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

jjbiv
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by jjbiv » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:06 pm

Junior Achievement. Teaching kids about business, money, and the economy.

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Taylor Larimore
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Taylor Larimore » Sun Nov 04, 2012 9:30 pm

nirvines88 wrote:Where do the Bogleheads volunteer? I'm looking for any and all ideas. I've heard of a few places, like Habitat for Humanity and the local food kitchens, but what else is out there?
nirvines:

Like you, I wanted to spend part of my retirement volunteering to help others. My working life was in finance so I figured the best way I could help others was to answer financial questions which I did for many years on the Morningstar Diehard Forum (now named Bogleheads Unite Forum).

I still volunteer to help others using my own experience plus the wisdom of Jack Bogle. Perhaps you could do the same thing?

Best wishes.
Taylor
"Simplicity is the master key to financial success." -- Jack Bogle

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nirvines88
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by nirvines88 » Sun Nov 04, 2012 10:17 pm

Great ideas so far everyone! I'm definitely going to look into some of these.

@ Taylor - Thanks for your helpful posts, which have definitely benefited me! I try to pass off the knowledge to friends and family in real life, and here on the Bogleheads forum too on occasion (although I'm dwarfed by many of the great minds here!).
"Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship" - Poor Richard

mikeast
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by mikeast » Mon Nov 05, 2012 1:00 am

Scoutmaster
Army Community Services

carolinaman
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by carolinaman » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:33 am

I volunteer for a global Christian ministry and also at my church which offers a wide variety of opportunities including feeding the poor and homeless, prison ministries and others. I commend you for your interest in volunteering and encourage you to find something that suits your desires and skills. Volunteer opportunities are almost limitless. Senior centers should have needs. The SHIP program for medicare uses volunteers to advise people about these programs. Tax aid has been mentioned. Best wishes.

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prudent
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by prudent » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:38 am

For now, church and a professional organization.

A friend volunteers at a community outreach agency (they run a food bank, distribute winter coats, fix up donated cars for people who need a car to get to work, lots of other things) and his role is a personal finance counselor for their clients. He helps people work out a budget they can live with, help them learn how to manage their money better, and then does follow-up meetings to see if they are staying on track. I'm considering doing this myself once I get a couple other things off my plate. He likes it because of the flexible schedule - getting together at whatever time is convenient for both him and the client. On a side note, he says the number one money waster he finds is that lower income people have tiny deductibles (or zero) on their car insurance.

Carl53
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Carl53 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:05 am

Check with prisons in your area. My wife and I volunteer a couple times a week at a local youth prison. Depending on the facility/youth needs you might tutor, counsel/advise, provide religious instruction, play games with, provide special classes, or just listen, etc. The vast majority of these youth are lucky if they have even one relative that takes any interest such as visiting them.

Epiphany Ministries also goes into youth prisons through which we also participate.

We often walk our road, and there is typically some trash that can be picked up.

Fuller Center is a good place to invest your labors, both domestically and internationally. http://www.fullercenter.org/

Your local place of worship likely has a number of opportunities. My spouse heads our church's Biblical counseling ministry with which I've participated occasionally.

Check your local food pantry, ours always need helps help with distribution. I do not currently do this but have.

Do you have an elderly shut in neighbor? Consider visiting them.

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VictoriaF
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by VictoriaF » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:07 am

Taylor Larimore wrote:nirvines:

Like you, I wanted to spend part of my retirement volunteering to help others. My working life was in finance so I figured the best way I could help others was to answer financial questions which I did for many years on the Morningstar Diehard Forum (now named Bogleheads Unite Forum).

I still volunteer to help others using my own experience plus the wisdom of Jack Bogle. Perhaps you could do the same thing?

Best wishes.
Taylor
Taylor,

Your volunteer work on this and the Morningstar sites has produced far-reaching impact. Millions of people are becoming better investors thanks to the group you have started and keep on track of a civil meaningful financial discussion. Bogleheads are a gift that keeps on giving, a direct consequence of your volunteering.

I also want to use this opportunity to thank Mel and all volunteers who have created the Bogleheads Wiki.

Victoria
WINNER of the 2015 Boglehead Contest. | Every joke has a bit of a joke. ... The rest is the truth. (Marat F)

gd
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by gd » Mon Nov 05, 2012 8:11 am

Like investing your money, questions about investing your time can be answered better with background information. Factors include your skills, interests, time availability, and religious, social and community leanings. Skills and interests are obvious. Time availability is hugely important and not often appreciated by volunteers-- some organizations just want warm bodies, some really need reliable volunteers. Don't volunteer in a food pantry if you're a survival-of-the-fittest type, don't distribute meals-on-wheels if you are always impatient with doddering old people. Don't engage in low-value socializing-oriented activities if you're a type-A overachiever. Sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised. Without the money-for-services motive, small aggravations grow large.

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dratkinson
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by dratkinson » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:02 am

Big Brother, Big Sister (probably for younger folks)
Project Literacy
County sheriff (case specific phone support, document entry, ...)
Tutor friends/coworkers/neighbors in your specialty
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theduke
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by theduke » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:19 am

me- AARP Tax Aide, IRS Vita Volunteer

wife-local Womens Shelter for abused women

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JupiterJones
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by JupiterJones » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:58 pm

I agree with gd. There are tons of volunteer opportunities, and the "right" one depends on your skills/interests/personality.

For example, if you have a lot of business experience, consider SCORE.

As another example, here in Nashville there are opportunities for volunteering as a music teacher, if you have the skills for that sort of thing.

So, I'd first start with the things you are passionate about and work back from there. As a kid, I volunteered at a hospital and wound up not really liking it. But later, I was a volunteer reader at an organization that provided audio versions of textbooks, which was a great fit for me.

JJ
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RootyToot
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by RootyToot » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:33 pm

Become a literacy tutor. If you want to find out more, contact the ProLiteracy Education Network for an organization close to you.

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Rager1
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Rager1 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 4:44 pm

travelnut11 wrote:CASA: Court Appointed Special Advocates. Advocacy for abused and neglected children.

http://www.casaforchildren.org/site/c.m ... A/Home.htm
I second this recommendation. My wife and I have been volunteering for CASA nearly seven years and highly recommend this organization for anyone who wants to make a positive impact on children's lives.

Ed

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Jerilynn
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Jerilynn » Mon Nov 05, 2012 5:35 pm

I volunteer for some global and local secular entities.
I also answer questions on a few dental and vermicomposting forums.

And without naming any of them, I volunteer for some political entities.
Cordially, Jeri . . . 100% all natural asset allocation. (no supernatural methods used)

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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by nisiprius » Mon Nov 05, 2012 7:04 pm

I am an occasional substitute teacher in my local high school. Whether this is "volunteering" depends on one's point of view. It's a job, I get paid. Not, however, a lot. It feels more a very sincere thank-you than a serious living wage. (One could do it every working day of the year without hitting the Social Security earned income limit). My motives for doing it are mixed, and I actually like the fact that I do get paid. Indeed, I started doing it when I was out of work and thought it might be a nice way to add another string to my bow, and a dollar is a dollar. But I also have volunteer-ish motives. It's interesting to see the school from the inside, it's interesting to interact with high school kids, in honors, "college," and "standard" classes. And I do see it as giving back, because my kids went to the school and I thought it did right by them.
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david99
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by david99 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:01 pm

Literacy Volunteers if you want to help people learn to read. Also you can try a GED program in your area (you can help with math, reading, or science) they are always happy to use volunteers. Community theaters are usually happy to have volunteers to build sets or work as ushers. Soup kitchens and homeless shelters make you appreciate what you have.

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runner9
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by runner9 » Mon Nov 05, 2012 11:45 pm

A relative volunteers as a patient advocate for nursing home patients through a state program to help protect their rights, visit them and see what they need of the home etc. Also does something similar for hospice patients through the local hospice program.

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mephistophles
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by mephistophles » Tue Nov 06, 2012 12:12 am

I volunteer by teaching an adult education humanities course for a local college. All proceeds go for scholarships to the college. My course has nothing to do with insurance or finance.

Lilly
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Lilly » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:32 am

I assist with an exercise program at our local Senior center. It's called "Walking off the pounds" It's not so much about weight loss as it is about maintaining strength and mobilaty.

I read once a week in our 1st grade classrooms. The kids love to see me walk in the room. It is lots of fun.

I have friends who do the following as volunteers:

Cut hair at our local nursing home.

Man the gift shop at our local hospital.

Makes quilts with a group at her church

Plays piano at the hospital

Drives veterans from our rural area to clinics/hospitals that serve our veterans.

Best wishes,

Lily

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praxis
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by praxis » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:25 am

JupiterJones wrote:
I'd first start with the things you are passionate about and work back from there.
JJ
This thread is full of terrific ideas. I agree that it would help to like the activity in order to sustain some interest in volunteering.

There are volunteering opportunities that use any skill or interest you might have.

It's okay to use any motive to volunteer, including selfish ones. My neighbor learned a lot about the tax code in AARP tax help school. I learned to help my own parents with end-of-life issues in hospice training. My brother re-awakened his love of hiking and camping as a troop Scoutmaster. My wife learned carpentry skills volunteering for Habitat. My friend, Ron, earned income running a disabled riding school at his ranch. Another friend teaches women's self defense and concealed weapons classes. Mike plays guitar at nursing homes. Some days I feel more generous than others. On those days I bake two casseroles instead of one and share with someone else. It feels great to make someone else feel great.

PatSea
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by PatSea » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:22 pm

My wife and I volunteer for the Catholic Social Services in their Refugee Resettlement Program. We set up housing for newly arriving refugees.
I volunteer at the local county parks system, and for the St Vincent DePaul Society at our church.
I also am very active in the Power Squadron which is a national boating safety organization. I am certified as a vessel examiner so I spend time at the local lakes and marinas doing courtesy safety exams for boaters to ensure they have all the required safety gear. I'm a lifetime boater and this is my way of giving back to a recreation that I love.

Citori
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Citori » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:36 pm

You may want to check AmeriCorp.

PreemieNurse
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by PreemieNurse » Tue Nov 06, 2012 3:38 pm

Check out http://www.volunteermatch.org/ to find local opportunities. As others have said, what kind of time commitment are you looking for and what are your talents/interests? I have been looking into Meals on Wheels. If I lived closer to the animal shelters, that would be my first choice. You can do simple things like taking the dogs for walks and socializing the animals up for adoption.

gkaplan
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by gkaplan » Tue Nov 06, 2012 5:32 pm

Peace Corps?
Gordon

Fallible
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Fallible » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:15 pm

I've done volunteer work mostly for the Alzheimer's Association, including co-facilitating support groups, providing various kinds of support for AA employees in Public Policy, and this year on donor projects. Also worked on on a board committee of my homeowners association and on projects for a professional editors network.

It's been my experience that volunteer work is most rewarding if there is a personal aspect to it for you and if the organization is prepared to effectively supervise volunteers (which too many are not). The AA work I did captured most of my interest because I'd been a caregiver for a relative with Alzheimer's and also because in reading up on the disease, I became very interested in how the brain works and how Alzheimer's and other diseases affect it and even destroy it. As for supervising volunteers, some organizations simply do not have staff to adequately recruit and train volunteers, many of whom then grow discouraged and leave. At a large non-profit I once worked for, part of my new department included a large volunteer area. We knew the only way it would work is if we hired a coordinator to run it, and the organization thankfully agreed to do so. We had originally thought the coordinator position could be part-time, but quickly discovered it was a full time job.

There are many good online articles on finding the right volunteer work; here's a link to one: http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/the ... nteer-work
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mike143
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by mike143 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:22 pm

I am not the volunteering type but if I was I would probably start a financial literacy workshop which mostly focus on the young and impressionable.
Nothing is free, someone pays...You can't spend your way to financial freedom.

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bengal22
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by bengal22 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:11 pm

after school tutoring-elementary age. It is amazing how cool kids really are.
"Earn All You Can; Give All You Can; Save All You Can." .... John Wesley

Patience
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Patience » Tue Nov 06, 2012 7:20 pm

If you're fluent in a language besides English, I really recommend Khan Academy. I'm currently a translator and dubber of mathematics videos, and you can really make a difference in the students' lives. It's not only about translating, but also answering their questions and worries at the same time.

denismurf
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by denismurf » Tue Nov 06, 2012 8:03 pm

Over the years, the most rewarding for me has been volunteer classroom aide in grade schools. Only trouble is, a male has to break through a wall of suspicion about motives. But once you hook up with a teacher who knows how to put you to good use, it's fantastic for everybody.

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nirvines88
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by nirvines88 » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:49 pm

Thanks for the volunteer website links. Will check these out.
praxis wrote:There are volunteering opportunities that use any skill or interest you might have.

It's okay to use any motive to volunteer, including selfish ones. My neighbor learned a lot about the tax code in AARP tax help school. I learned to help my own parents with end-of-life issues in hospice training. My brother re-awakened his love of hiking and camping as a troop Scoutmaster. My wife learned carpentry skills volunteering for Habitat. My friend, Ron, earned income running a disabled riding school at his ranch. Another friend teaches women's self defense and concealed weapons classes. Mike plays guitar at nursing homes. Some days I feel more generous than others. On those days I bake two casseroles instead of one and share with someone else. It feels great to make someone else feel great.
I was looking into Habitat partially for this reason. As you mention, no harm in giving AND getting back!
gd wrote:Like investing your money, questions about investing your time can be answered better with background information. Factors include your skills, interests, time availability, and religious, social and community leanings. Skills and interests are obvious. Time availability is hugely important and not often appreciated by volunteers-- some organizations just want warm bodies, some really need reliable volunteers. Don't volunteer in a food pantry if you're a survival-of-the-fittest type, don't distribute meals-on-wheels if you are always impatient with doddering old people. Don't engage in low-value socializing-oriented activities if you're a type-A overachiever. Sounds obvious, but you'd be surprised. Without the money-for-services motive, small aggravations grow large.
I'm a 24 year old male history teacher that enjoys personal finance and sports.

I'm liking a lot of these ideas. Going to look into the tax aide thing and a few of the others. I already tutor for money, but I'm sure I could volunteer too.
"Beware of little expenses, a small leak will sink a great ship" - Poor Richard

jjbiv
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by jjbiv » Tue Nov 06, 2012 11:38 pm

denismurf wrote:Over the years, the most rewarding for me has been volunteer classroom aide in grade schools. Only trouble is, a male has to break through a wall of suspicion about motives. But once you hook up with a teacher who knows how to put you to good use, it's fantastic for everybody.
Probably not the best choice of words.

jlj
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by jlj » Wed Nov 07, 2012 12:20 am

Mokelumne Wilderness which is a opportunity with the US Forest Service in northern California.
Campout for Cancer, a local weekend fundraiser.
County Recreation Agency, helping with fun runs, etc
Local Daffodil Hill, a flower farm run gratis by local families.
All are rewarding.

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vinvedi
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by vinvedi » Sun Nov 11, 2012 3:14 pm

I teach and mentor graduate and post-doctoral students (not my paid job), serve on the board of a community organization and as trustee for the local public library.

Birdie55
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Birdie55 » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:04 pm

I am a Master gardener and volunteer in a demonstration vegetable garden showing people how to grow vegetables.

I also volunteer in a Food bank garden, growing vegetables for the food bank to distribute to their clients.

dgdevil
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by dgdevil » Sun Nov 11, 2012 4:09 pm

denismurf wrote:Over the years, the most rewarding for me has been volunteer classroom aide in grade schools. Only trouble is, a male has to break through a wall of suspicion about motives. But once you hook up with a teacher who knows how to put you to good use, it's fantastic for everybody.
Men looking to do anything involving kids had better be prepared to undergo fingerprinting, background checks - at least here in California. Glad no one has mentioned "voluntourism" - digging ditches in Cambodia as bemused locals look on, and then getting audited after you try and claim it as a tax deduction.

maroon
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by maroon » Sun Nov 11, 2012 11:53 pm

So there's been 40+ responses and I don't think anyone's yet mentioned volunteering at the local humane society. I've found this to be tremendously rewarding.

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Cernel
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Cernel » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:38 am

My volunteer activities include:
- AARP's Tax-Aide Program
- Ronald McDonald House Charities
- my Church

caseynshan
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by caseynshan » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:06 am

Highly recommend Refugee assisting mentoring. (Lutheran Family Services) in Denver.

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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by Fallible » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:32 am

maroon wrote:So there's been 40+ responses and I don't think anyone's yet mentioned volunteering at the local humane society. I've found this to be tremendously rewarding.
I've thought about doing this and am curious what kind of volunteer work you do and whether it's directly connected to the animal adoption or care such as dog walking. I think I'd get attached to the animals and worry, or over-worry, that they might not get adopted.
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maroon
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by maroon » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:53 am

Hi Fallible! I'm a play-with-cats-and-walk-the-dogs kind of volunteer. My local humane society has all sorts of volunteer opportunities, including helping at the thrift shop, screening potential adopters, and fostering needy animals. These days, due to a long work commute, I volunteer less and donate money more often.

mrspremise
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Re: Volunteering Ideas

Post by mrspremise » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:58 pm

Meals on wheels
Volunteering to lead classes/workshops for boyscouts & girlscouts (they have all kind of merit badges, I've helped with engineering ones)
Judging science fairs
Talking to high school aged kids about your career in ____, usually opportunities at summer workshops about that field
Signing up as a red cross volunteer for emergencies in your area
Helping out at the local SPCA or other no-kill shelter
Helping organizations of your choice with big fundraising events like marathons
Volunteering at retirement homes or hospitals

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