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[help] Volunteer with the United Way

30 November 2009 by Andrea Anglin 12 Comments

United Way

Are you looking to do more this holiday season than spend money? Think outside the gift box and volunteer for one ofthe more than 260 nonprofit organizations in Wichita, many of which have holiday opportunities. But how can you decide which organization is a good fit for you? The United Way of the Plains Volunteer Center is ready to match you to an opportunity to do good things, this holiday and every day.

According to Volunteer Coordinator Becky Springer, the United Way Volunteer Center has helped match 7,000 people to volunteer jobs in our community. “With 260 agencies which each have five to 10 programs, we have 1,600 volunteer opportunities for people to choose from and there are new ones every day,” Springer said.

Individuals interested volunteering just have to call United Way’s 2-1-1 number (yep, that’s it: 211) and answer a few questions to make sure the best match is made. Data such as the number of people in your group (or just you), what days and times you are available to work, and what kind of opportunity (long-term or just a special project) you are interested in is used to search the United Way database and match volunteers to organizations that need help.

The program isn’t just for individuals. Need an activity for your church group? Corporate team-building? School groups? Girlfriend get-together? There are opportunities for practically any kind of group, including families. The minimum volunteer age for most agencies is 14, but some will accept volunteers as young as 10 as long as a parent volunteers with them. For children younger than 10, the United Way has a list of ideas families use to get everyone involved.

“One woman called us because her birthday was on Dec. 22 and she wanted to do something for her birthday with her girlfriends, so they are stuffing stockings for children,” Springer said. “There are all kinds of ways to get involved.”

For the holidays the United Way has put together a special Holiday Volunteer Connection on its website. You can help an organization wrap gifts, sort donations – even bake cookies and treats. To take advantage of one of these good deeds, just call 211.

Make sure you end up on Santa’s “nice” list and volunteer this holiday season. Ensure you stay on the list throughout the year by picking up a regular volunteer gig. In the end, you will find you get more than you give.

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