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Volunteer Opportunities in the Upper Valley

Mar 28, 2013 04:57PM ● By Victoria Pipas

We would all love to be more involved in giving back to our communities. Nothing is more satisfying or humbling than volunteering to help those who need what you have to offer. And giving back doesn’t just benefit others; consider it the ultimate mood booster. It’s a win-win for all! The only handicap to volunteering seems to be finding a place, the time, and an organization to serve. There are numerous groups in the Upper Valley in need of your time, skills, and generosity. With this list, you and your family can make community service a habit—one that your kids will continue into their adult lives.

• Upper Valley Haven: The Haven depends on its volunteers, both adults who help consistently every week and other volunteers able to dedicate time only on certain occasions. If you are interested, you can sign up here as the equivalent of an employee and help every day or every few days. These volunteers can receive donations at the food shelf, sort donated clothing, demonstrate healthy cooking, and even tutor or supervise young children. If you are looking to involve your whole family in volunteering, the Haven appreciates donations and spreading awareness of their work. This could include organizing a clothes or food drive at school or work or even hosting a party where guests are encouraged to bring an item for the Haven. Donations are plentiful around the holidays, but the Haven needs food donations just as much in the spring and summer. In addition, you and your family can participate in the Haven’s “Days of Service,” which happen four times a year. This fun event is focused on cleaning the Haven top to bottom, clearing out the shelves, and doing general yard work and maintenance. All are welcome to help. For more ideas on how your family can support the Haven, click here.

• Listen Center: The Listen Center, like the Haven, offers not only hot meals and canned foods but also donated clothing and personal items at low prices. Listen provides hot dinners five nights a week and is always looking for volunteers to cook and serve. Do you love cooking? You can volunteer to create a Community Dinner Cook Team at Listen. As part of the team, you and your group of friends, family, coworkers, or members of a church or organization would prepare dinner at one of the dinner locations. You don’t have to be a professional chef to run a Community Dinner; home-style cooking is perfect! With locations in Canaan, Lebanon, and soon White River Junction, the Listen Center is easily accessible from all corners of the Upper Valley. For more information on Community Dinners, click here.

• Habitat for Humanity: Looking for manual labor? Habitat for Humanity is the volunteer opportunity for you! Alongside other volunteer builders, you can help build or rebuild houses for families in need. UVHFH just finished a very busy year rehousing victims of Tropical Storm Irene throughout Vermont. My mom, a friend, and I helped overhaul one of the housing sites that had been bulldozed by Irene. For a few hours one afternoon, we scrubbed the walls of a basement with bleach, cleared away rubble, shoveled mud, and mopped. It was very humbling work and made even more gratifying because we were working alongside the owners of the house, helping them rebuild their lives. It reminded me that we were lucky not to have been hit by the storm; we could just as easily have been in their position. Physical labor of this kind is very rewarding, and perfect for older teens and young adults. To sign up for the building projects taking place this year, click here.

Upper Valley Trails Alliance: If you are a nature lover, consider donating your time to making the outdoors of New Hampshire and Vermont more accessible to all. You can be a Trail Surveyor, monitoring and collecting data from trails maintained by the UVTA. You don’t have to have any previous experience to do this; training is provided. This is a great way to serve your community and get exercise at the same time! The UVTA also needs volunteers to organize and help operate all of its family events, including the annual Tour de Taste and the Lake Morey Skate-a-thon. At these events, you can help man stations, facilitate parking, hand out food, and more. And the best part is that as a volunteer, you get to participate in the events for free! These events are lots of fun for kids and adults of all ages. To learn more about volunteering for UVTA, click here.

What organization do you know of that needs volunteers?

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