Author Topic: What are your volunteer gigs?  (Read 1740 times)

Moustachienne

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What are your volunteer gigs?
« on: February 02, 2019, 01:27:04 PM »
I thought of posting this in Post-Fire as retirees have more volunteer time but thought that a lot of Pre-Firees would have great answers too.  And we could all use the inspiration.

I talked with a 78 yo woman today who volunteers: as a "Green Jacket" guide at the international airport; as the president of a Community Policing Board; and as a board member for a local park organization.  Previously she'd also volunteered at the SPCA and as a home visitor for retired nurses (former nurse herself), among other things.   Whew, just one of those would be enough for me but I loved hearing about all the different possibilities a person could pursue.  So I thought I'd ask this forum as well.

Someone remarked on a What's Your Hobbies? thread that answers could identify people in real life, and I guess that's the case here too.  Still hoping that people will feel comfortable answering!

What type of volunteer activities do you do?  How long have you done them?  Pros and cons? Any other volunteer gigs you're considering?

My answers:

1.What -  in-school reading program two afternoons a week (English/French)
2.How long -  in my second year; added the second afternoon in French this year
3. Pros - very well organized and well thought out program; fascinating to see the inner workings of elementary schools; rewarding to see children progress in their reading skills and confidence; enjoyable to meet up with fellow tutors to share experiences and tips; excellent motivation to keep working at my second language.
4. Cons - have to commit to show up regularly :); actually a pro as well as I enjoy "light" routine to organize my time.
5. Other possibilities - volunteer with Elizabeth Fry Society - services for women facing/leaving incarceration.





AMandM

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2019, 02:14:03 PM »
My main volunteer gig is coaching a high school robotics team. It is time-consuming but very rewarding. Our team has a very hands-off policy for adults; we're there to meet the legal and regulatory requirements, and to be a resource for the kids, but not to do any actual design, building, or programming. I love seeing the kids learn and grow and solve problems, and of course I love seeing the robot develop.

I'm the treasurer for our parish's girls' group.

I also have a few much smaller gigs at church. I'm on the rotation to cook for the weekly homeless cafe, I lector, I help set up coffee and doughnuts after mass, I interpret for a refugee.


HipGnosis

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2019, 10:49:43 AM »
My main volunteer gig is coaching a high school robotics team. It is time-consuming but very rewarding. Our team has a very hands-off policy for adults; we're there to meet the legal and regulatory requirements, and to be a resource for the kids, but not to do any actual design, building, or programming. I love seeing the kids learn and grow and solve problems, and of course I love seeing the robot develop.

That's fascinating!  How did you find that?  How much time does it take?  How many months a year?

Romag

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2019, 11:12:52 AM »
I'm FIRE.

I'm on a Nonprofit Board of Directors (local organization that does refugee resettlement and other services for newly arrived immigrants and trafficking victims) and preparing to join another (a Boys and Girls Club).

I have been assistant coaching a girl's HS basketball team this year and it's been a lot of fun.

Also considering becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), but need to do some more research on the program.

Interested in doing Peace Corps or Americorps at some point, but not quite ready to make that kind of commitment. We'll see what the future brings!




Anniemaygo

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2019, 12:06:15 PM »
I volunteer as a casa and itís rewarding but difficult because I am still working full time. 
The kids might start local then move foster homes to another town or you are assigned a set of siblings who are placed separately and you need to visit each monthly. 

It is rewarding to see that your input is valued by the judge and given serious weighting in the decision.

I volunteer as a foster for a local dog rescue which I enjoy and is very little extra work if you already have a dog of your own.

My best volunteer gig right now is Red Cross disaster response team, responding to families in crisis.  It is also a very good way to meet likeminded people (most are traditional retirement age).

MDM

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2019, 12:14:09 PM »
Tax-Aide and school parents' organization.
« Last Edit: February 11, 2019, 11:08:07 PM by MDM »

jengod

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2019, 05:01:24 PM »
* I listen to the kids practice reading once a week at my son's school. It's good for them to have one-on-one attention and practice reading aloud. I alternate years: one year in the preschool class, one year in the elementary class.

* We live near the ocean so we do a lot of beach and waterway cleanups, trying to keep non-biodegradable litter out of the sea.

jeninco

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2019, 10:38:48 PM »
* I listen to the kids practice reading once a week at my son's school. It's good for them to have one-on-one attention and practice reading aloud. I alternate years: one year in the preschool class, one year in the elementary class.

* We live near the ocean so we do a lot of beach and waterway cleanups, trying to keep non-biodegradable litter out of the sea.

You are amazing -- I did the first thing for a year, and I couldn't stand it. I rapidly switched to what I enjoy, which is helping kids with math.

I'm not retired, but I work as a consultant, generally part-time and from home.

I volunteer as a math tutor in my kid's high school. I generally worm my way into credit recovery classes as well, trying to make sure some of those kids (um, not the kind who tend to sign up for tutoring) get a bit of personalized attention along with their (lame-o) online math classes. I've been volunteering as a math tutor/drop-in support person/supplemental math teacher for years, following along with my kids, but I will stick around the high school after they graduate, because teenagers are seriously fun!

I also volunteer with an administrative/oversight committee at the high school.

I usually am the organizing parent for one or more of the high school soccer teams (that my kids play on). Might take next year off from that one... I also often am the organizing parent for club teams. But my kid asked me not to do that this year, so ...

I am a volunteer nordic ski patroller: we cover a nordic area and some backcountry terrain, so it's an excuse to refresh my medical stuff every year and then get some fun skiing in. Plus, the other members are excellent to hang out and visit with.

I think I'm missing something, but I can't place it offhand. Anyhow, since I tend to work alone 95% of the time, I really appreciate the human connections I get from volunteering. Plus, you know, helping create the kind of community I want to live in!

AMandM

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2019, 08:19:06 AM »
My main volunteer gig is coaching a high school robotics team. It is time-consuming but very rewarding. Our team has a very hands-off policy for adults; we're there to meet the legal and regulatory requirements, and to be a resource for the kids, but not to do any actual design, building, or programming. I love seeing the kids learn and grow and solve problems, and of course I love seeing the robot develop.

That's fascinating!  How did you find that?  How much time does it take?  How many months a year?

Years ago, one of my older kids was invited to join the team, which had been founded because one kid really wanted to do robotics and convinced his mother to start a team.  After a couple of years of helping out, I became the assistant coach, and meanwhile my younger kids joined the team too. Eventually the founding coach retired to pursue other responsibilities, and the baton got handed to me.

The kids on the team are all homeschooled, so we meet once a week from 10-5. School-based teams generally meet multiple days a week for a couple of hours after school. The building and competition season lasts from September to February (regular season) or March (state championships). In the off season, we meet less. That's when we do our fundraising, outreach, and work on learning new skills.

This is the league:  https://www.firstinspires.org/robotics/ftc

Cassie

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2019, 12:56:07 PM »
Office work for the humane society.

startingsmall

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2019, 02:20:48 PM »
1. I lead a troop of 1st & 2nd grade Girl Scouts. This is my second year and we just can't seem to get committed parents/girls who are interested in outdoorsy, independence-fostering activities. Also, I have some frustrations with our leadership at the county and council level. I'm kind of ready to get out, but I'll probably stick with it as long as my daughter does. Right now, she loves it.

2. I also serve on my county Board of Health. That's not TECHNICALLY a volunteer gig, as they pay us the princely sum of $20 per 2-3 hour meeting, but it might as well be. The meetings can be pretty boring, but I didn't succeed in getting a public health career so at least this helps me feel like I'm making a little bit of a contribution.

When I'm ready to move on from Girl Scouts, I'm considering Guardian ad Litem, volunteer tutor in the schools, and/or volunteer veterinarian/educator at local raptor rehab center.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2019, 06:14:08 PM by startingsmall »

aetherie

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2019, 03:07:15 PM »
What: I volunteer for the Make-A-Wish Foundation as a Wish Granter. I work with other volunteers to interview kids, fill out paperwork, answer questions, and throw parties! We're basically the liaisons between the families and the Make-A-Wish office (the office does the logistical stuff like booking travel etc).

How long: About 2.5 years. The time commitment varies depending on how many kids I have at any given time, but not more than a few hours a month.

Pros: I feel like a goddamn fairy godmother. Kids tell me what their one true wish is and I make it come true. It's the best.

Cons: It can be emotionally difficult - these are very sick kids.

Also considering: Habitat for Humanity is about to start a build just up the road from me and I'm interested in helping out with that.


If anyone has questions about Make-A-Wish I'm happy to answer them!

sonya

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2019, 05:20:55 PM »
My cousin has always loved photography and Goldens. He has two Goldens who are certified comfort/therapy dogs and he takes them to hospice, hospitals, schools, and other institutions. He is also active in his local Golden Rescue and takes pictures for their yearly calendar, and also does Santa photo sessions, as well as other fundraising photo sessions throughout the year.

He still goes at least twice a week to do volunteer PA work at a local clinic for the medically underserved.

I still work, but if I can encourage anyone to volunteer with children, there's always schools in need who don't have involved parents who can use an extra pair of hands to give one on one attention to kids - just sit with them and read and be a stable adult in their lives, even if it's just for an hour a week.

BlueMR2

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2019, 08:59:24 AM »
A few volunteer jobs that we do are: Mentoring at local schools.  Doing communications for marathons/triathlons.  Radio license test examinations.  Course marshaling for auto races.  Air Force Auxiliary (specifically working towards being a pilot for "orientation flights" for the youngsters in the program).

Vasilisa

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2019, 10:53:54 AM »
Pros: I feel like a goddamn fairy godmother. Kids tell me what their one true wish is and I make it come true. It's the best.

Umm, that's pretty much my dream job. I want to grow up to be a fairy godmother!

@Moustachienne you're right- inspiring to hear all the good works people are doing. Thanks for sharing everyone, and thank you for your service to your communities.

1.What -  serve on board of directors and committee for nonprofit collaborator with local state parks 
2.How long -  four years with the nonprofit, second year of being on the board
3. Pros - love the nonprofit, love the local parks. It's a well-funded, well-staffed, well-organized group. The board is a great group of people and the meetings go by quickly. We get an annual state parks parking pass and insiders knowledge of projects, and sometimes field trips with lectures.
4. Cons - Happy to use my brain in service, but sometimes I wonder if I could be doing "more".

1.What -  neighborhood emergency response team
2.How long -  three years
3. Pros - Happy to help neighbors in stressful emergency situations, so far we've dealt with downed power line and sewer lines failing, leading to water shutoff for two days. 
4. Cons - The meetings are TERRIBLE. We discuss the same topics over and over. So inefficient.

1.What -  CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)
2.How long -  three years since taking the class and connecting with the team.
3. Pros - the class was awesome- we even had a few disaster scenarios, got to triage fake victims, wield fire extinguishers, and I even got to be an incident commander. I feel proud to have my disaster service worker's badge and hope to be able to serve my community when called up. The first meetings were just some of us getting together for coffee and getting to know each, a bunch of nerdy community-minded folks.
4. Cons - The community is still figuring out to best organize the teams. Organized meetings are pretty repetitive.


5. Other possibilities - I love the volunteer work I'm doing currently but am on the look out for other ways I can contribute and benefit my community.

frugalfoothills

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #15 on: February 08, 2019, 09:41:11 AM »
This is such a great thread! Until recently I am ashamed to say that most of my charitable giving has been through money (automatic contributions, one-off donations, etc.) I'm trying to change that this year and do more hands-on volunteering so this thread is awesome for picking up ideas!

As for what I'm doing: I'll be attending a tree-planting at a local elementary school tomorrow through a local organization that facilitates tree plantings and promotes protection of tree life around the community. I'm also going through the application process for Big Brothers Big Sisters at the moment... if anyone is a Big and has any words of wisdom, they would be much appreciated. I actually volunteered through BBBS when I was in high school, but it must have been some type of abbreviated version of the program geared toward students. I remember it was super rewarding and fun to bond with my kid and help with homework, etc.

I also do a lot of ad-hoc, vigilate animal rescue, but not sure if that counts here ;)

jengod

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #16 on: February 08, 2019, 07:58:14 PM »
I also do a lot of ad-hoc, vigilate animal rescue, but not sure if that counts here ;)

Absolutely that counts! Having the experience, energy, wherewithal and resources to rescue animals is a unique skillset. We are deep in childrearing right now and I can't fathom juggling vet treatments and acquiring all the supplies for animal care as well; I'm very grateful that there are others in the community that make it a special focus!

Freedomin5

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #17 on: February 09, 2019, 05:50:49 AM »
I volunteer as a consultant on high-risk medical cases, working mainly through a tele-health model to coach service providers in rural cities where people with my level of expertise do not exist.

I also volunteer as a consultant creating leadership development programs for orphans in a couple southeast Asian countries. I partner with an organization that provides scholarships for orphans and very poor children from rural villages to attend university, but they have found that these kids do not have the self-confidence and exposure to business soft skills that are necessary to get internships and to present well on interviews. These are skills that more well-off city kids are exposed to on a daily basis. So I get to provide the subject matter expertise that the local workers can then adapt to their culture. Itís a lot of fun, and it stretche my knowledge base a bit as Iím applying my expertise to a slightly different field. Plus I get to think through all the interesting cultural stuff such as adapting Western-based research to Asian culture and societies.

Iím still a few years from FIRE, but if I were FIRE, Iíd be down in the trenches leading the programs. Instead, I get the consolation prize of simply telling people what to do and how to do it.

Moustachienne

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #18 on: February 11, 2019, 03:39:50 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far! It's really interesting to see the many ways there are to volunteer and the different amounts of time people chose to spend.  I prefer to focus on one regular volunteer role and a fairly tight time commitment.  I top this up with money donations to various organizations and causes and am also considering one off things to get involved with, e.g. a local "clean up the ravine" day.  Meeting other like minded people is always fun.

I was a senior administrator in my working life so am not at all drawn to similar responsible roles but admire those who are.  Ones I've heard of include chair of a community garden board and member of a church run seniors home board.  Both generated enough fodder for several novels (!) but the end products really contribute to a better community.

jengod

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #19 on: February 11, 2019, 10:37:57 PM »
Thanks for the responses so far! It's really interesting to see the many ways there are to volunteer and the different amounts of time people chose to spend.  I prefer to focus on one regular volunteer role and a fairly tight time commitment.  I top this up with money donations to various organizations and causes and am also considering one off things to get involved with, e.g. a local "clean up the ravine" day.  Meeting other like minded people is always fun.

I was a senior administrator in my working life so am not at all drawn to similar responsible roles but admire those who are.  Ones I've heard of include chair of a community garden board and member of a church run seniors home board.  Both generated enough fodder for several novels (!) but the end products really contribute to a better community.

This was a wonderful thread idea. Thank you for starting it.

NonprofitER

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #20 on: February 12, 2019, 07:44:45 AM »
I volunteer as a casa and itís rewarding but difficult because I am still working full time. 
The kids might start local then move foster homes to another town or you are assigned a set of siblings who are placed separately and you need to visit each monthly. 

It is rewarding to see that your input is valued by the judge and given serious weighting in the decision.

I'm still working FT and all my professional experience is in nonprofit orgs (former ED, now consultant), and thus, I'm picky about what nonprofits I myself choose to support. But I too volunteer with my local CASA (guardian ad litem) program (and give financially). I've been a CASA advocate for 5+ years and can say without hesitation that it makes a substantial impact on the lives on children in the foster care system. One of the children I advocate for has known me longer than any other non-biological adult in her life due to constant caseworker changes, foster home moves, etc. It's her 5th CPS case :(

I also run my child's girl scout troop, which feels like a PT job in an of itself!

LG89

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #21 on: February 12, 2019, 12:48:14 PM »
This is such a great thread! Until recently I am ashamed to say that most of my charitable giving has been through money (automatic contributions, one-off donations, etc.) I'm trying to change that this year and do more hands-on volunteering so this thread is awesome for picking up ideas!

Yes guilty, me too. I figure if I'm short on time, at least I can come through with $$ to help support these organizations. Occasionally I will volunteer with 2 friends who are part of a cultural organization that pass out free food and supplies for the homeless in the city. Whenever they have a volunteer event, I tag along.

This thread is very inspirational and motivating! Its always been in the back of my mind to volunteer using my yoga teacher certification (as a service to populations who may not be able to afford $25 classes or to teach a donations based class and contribute that money to a local charity). I would love to have a regular volunteer gig but I'm a bit of a hermit/recluse and reluctant to leave the house. But when I do end up volunteering (see above) I leave feeling like a productive member of society.

If anyone has questions about Make-A-Wish I'm happy to answer them!
A question for the fairy godmother, how did you get started doing this?

aetherie

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #22 on: February 12, 2019, 01:04:53 PM »
If anyone has questions about Make-A-Wish I'm happy to answer them!
A question for the fairy godmother, how did you get started doing this?

I honestly can't remember what first caught my attention - must have been a news article or something - but as soon as I found out that wish granting was something you could volunteer for, I knew I wanted to do it. I applied through the website for my local chapter. They required a background check and some character references. Then I had to wait a few months for the next group training session to be scheduled. After training, I was paired up with experienced volunteers for my first few wishes.

Tass

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #23 on: February 12, 2019, 01:11:18 PM »
I took the 12-hour training last year to become an adult literacy tutor through my local library, but I haven't been assigned a student yet. Unfortunately I requested to stay at the library branches within biking distance, which are not the same ones in the part of the city most in need. I was inspired to find a local organization after reading this article in NPR: https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/04/26/602797769/casting-aside-shame-and-stigma-adults-tackle-struggles-with-literacy

My parents served as foster parents for a while, which is a huge and crucial "volunteer activity." For our family it is past tense because my siblings are now adopted. :)

davisgang90

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #24 on: February 12, 2019, 02:36:46 PM »
I'm still getting settled in my new FIRE location. 

I just got accepted to be a mentor/tutor/whatever else they need for a local refugee partnership.  All volunteers that help refugee families find housing, medical and other services.  I'll start as a tutor for a 10th grade girl who is having trouble in English and Geometry.

Can't wait!

haflander

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #25 on: February 12, 2019, 03:19:02 PM »
I volunteer through Big Brothers Big Sisters. @frugalfoothills or anyone else, send me a PM if the below isn't enough or you have some more specific ?s. I'll try to keep things general here... I will add that I feel super guilty about writing this as I haven't seen my lil bro in about a month.

My kid is a freshman, we started last year when he was starting 8th grade. At that age, sometimes kids just need a male/female in their life that's not their parent. My brother has 4 younger sisters and a step-dad who doesn't spend much time with him and/or travels a lot for work. Bio dad isn't in the picture, unfortunately. So really he just needed a bro to hang out with and talk to about life and school. That's pretty much all we do, eat together, walk around and go to the park, talk about classes, grades, girls (respectfully, duh), sports, other guy stuff. He doesn't get much of a voice at home despite being the oldest just because there's so many kids (and dogs) that it must be like a freakin circus living there. When we hang out he talks nonstop as if he doesn't get a chance to be heard anywhere else. Oh, I should add that this kid's family is easily upper middle class. That was a big surprise to me, I was expecting a lower-income family. However, due to the above stuff and having some high-functioning or not noticeable things like autism and ADD, an older brother was helpful. It's not only lower-income kids that could use a cool mentor/role model. They expect you to be with the kid for at least one year and generally speaking, see them every other week. I used to only text my bro's mom but now that he's in HS we text each other (still awkward rn). We generally stay around his house/neighborhood except for big occasions but may explore hanging around my place if everyone approves of it.

The application process is very in depth. Moreso than any job application I've had (more than my fair share for my age). You'll be asked plenty of personal things (sexual behavior, religion), so if that's a problem or "personal" to you, I would stay away. However, it's just that the parent wants to know who this rando will be. Plus I live in the south. So, maybe a straight white Christian male was important to the parents, or maybe everyone is asked those ?s, Idk. You have to provide references also. Oh, you have to have a casual interview with a BBBS person. I just met a girl at Starbucks and she asked me easy interview ?s as well as some of the awkward things listed above.

After you're approved is the matching process. They ask your preferences or if you care about age, race, high- or low-income, and geography of the kid. After they have one or a few possible matches, they tell you all about the kid to make sure you're ok with all of the potential hangups. For example, I was told my kid had high-functioning autism and ADD, but that he was also in all of the normal classes and had good/ok grades depending on the subject.

There is a big BBBS network. Helpful site with recommendations, deals or free activities, sponsored big fun things (more for little kids). I have an official BBBS person that calls me and asks not only if I have needs, but to document specific hours and activities for donor and nonprofit tax and tracking purposes. It's very official and legit. Reminder to self, I need to explore tax implications...charitable giving, anyone?? Need to check out the BBBS site for this, completely forgot about it for taxes last year.

seattlecyclone

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #26 on: February 12, 2019, 11:02:58 PM »
I volunteer in a high school computer science classroom through the TEALS program. This is my fifth year doing it. I love seeing young people learning a new skill and then deciding that's what they want to go study in college. It's fun to help them through that.

I just started this year helping low-income people with their taxes through the VITA program. We haven't really gotten into the busy part of the season yet, but it's pretty cool so far. Lots of different types of people come in and they're so grateful for the help.

A more sporadic thing I've done is officiating at curling tournaments. We're hosting the mixed doubles national championships here in Seattle this year and I'll be running the time clock for some of the games. We hosted the men's and women's national championship two years ago and I helped out there too.

expatartist

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #27 on: February 13, 2019, 03:56:00 AM »
* Building a bilingual website/database to connect artists in my district with one another, arts resources, and the arts scene in our region/internationally. Organizing art tours for later in the year. All work unpaid in $ but brings a lot of satisfaction, interest, and contacts.
* Occasional "Kindness walks" with an innovative program helping homeless people in my neighborhood. More often I donate $ (monthly) and quality secondhand goods
* On list for Habitat for Humanity, hope to make an event later this year

Tass

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #28 on: February 13, 2019, 09:21:44 AM »
What is a Kindness Walk? Sounds interesting.

expatartist

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #29 on: February 13, 2019, 05:25:16 PM »
ImpackHK has been doing kindness walks for a few years http://www.impacthk.org/kindness-walks/ and has built up relationships with the homeless in several languages. Their Guestroom project has provided employment and a place for homeless to hang out, have access to resources from showers to public services, and even housing.

colinhopkins

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #30 on: February 13, 2019, 08:28:51 PM »
I love volunteering at church! I play various instruments in the worship team almost every Saturday night and Sunday morning. My church hires various artists who lead each weekend. This has given me the chance to meet and connect with them which will hopefully pay off in the long run. Most times I play in front of a few hundred people, but sometimes it's a few thousand! I've grown in my leadership and teamwork skills and I've become a better musician. I'm far from becoming FI since I'm so young, but no matter how far along I am in the journey toward FI, I want to continue to use my gifts since it's so rewarding. An added bonus is that my church is very involved in the community. Each service is a chance to encourage others to bless others around them. By moving them with music, I get to be a part of a movement of charitability and generosity.

frugalfoothills

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2019, 08:45:22 AM »
I volunteer through Big Brothers Big Sisters. @frugalfoothills or anyone else, send me a PM if the below isn't enough or you have some more specific ?s. I'll try to keep things general here... I will add that I feel super guilty about writing this as I haven't seen my lil bro in about a month.

My kid is a freshman, we started last year when he was starting 8th grade. At that age, sometimes kids just need a male/female in their life that's not their parent. My brother has 4 younger sisters and a step-dad who doesn't spend much time with him and/or travels a lot for work. Bio dad isn't in the picture, unfortunately. So really he just needed a bro to hang out with and talk to about life and school. That's pretty much all we do, eat together, walk around and go to the park, talk about classes, grades, girls (respectfully, duh), sports, other guy stuff. He doesn't get much of a voice at home despite being the oldest just because there's so many kids (and dogs) that it must be like a freakin circus living there. When we hang out he talks nonstop as if he doesn't get a chance to be heard anywhere else. Oh, I should add that this kid's family is easily upper middle class. That was a big surprise to me, I was expecting a lower-income family. However, due to the above stuff and having some high-functioning or not noticeable things like autism and ADD, an older brother was helpful. It's not only lower-income kids that could use a cool mentor/role model. They expect you to be with the kid for at least one year and generally speaking, see them every other week. I used to only text my bro's mom but now that he's in HS we text each other (still awkward rn). We generally stay around his house/neighborhood except for big occasions but may explore hanging around my place if everyone approves of it.

The application process is very in depth. Moreso than any job application I've had (more than my fair share for my age). You'll be asked plenty of personal things (sexual behavior, religion), so if that's a problem or "personal" to you, I would stay away. However, it's just that the parent wants to know who this rando will be. Plus I live in the south. So, maybe a straight white Christian male was important to the parents, or maybe everyone is asked those ?s, Idk. You have to provide references also. Oh, you have to have a casual interview with a BBBS person. I just met a girl at Starbucks and she asked me easy interview ?s as well as some of the awkward things listed above.

After you're approved is the matching process. They ask your preferences or if you care about age, race, high- or low-income, and geography of the kid. After they have one or a few possible matches, they tell you all about the kid to make sure you're ok with all of the potential hangups. For example, I was told my kid had high-functioning autism and ADD, but that he was also in all of the normal classes and had good/ok grades depending on the subject.

There is a big BBBS network. Helpful site with recommendations, deals or free activities, sponsored big fun things (more for little kids). I have an official BBBS person that calls me and asks not only if I have needs, but to document specific hours and activities for donor and nonprofit tax and tracking purposes. It's very official and legit. Reminder to self, I need to explore tax implications...charitable giving, anyone?? Need to check out the BBBS site for this, completely forgot about it for taxes last year.

This is awesome info! Thanks so much. I sent a follow-up message to my BBBS chapter yesterday to make sure they received my first one... still haven't heard back from anyone. Starting to develop a bit of a complex ;)

Interesting to hear you have an upper middle class kid, I guess I assumed they would all be low income? Bad assumption on my part. You're right, everyone could use a mentor. Really hoping I hear back soon so I can get started! I'm doing a lunchtime mentoring program through United Way Women's Leadership council at a lower-income middle school, but it would be nice to be able to develop a relationship with one kid and foster that over the course of a year or two.

Thanks for the info!

Finances_With_Purpose

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Re: What are your volunteer gigs?
« Reply #32 on: March 07, 2019, 09:42:02 AM »
Great thread idea.

At this point, I volunteer on some things at church, but my main volunteer work other than that is serving on various boards.  Turns out I like building organizations.  It's a lot of fun.