For many people, the word “volunteer” brings to mind silver-haired ladies knitting sweaters for children at an orphanage or stuffing envelopes for a charity fundraiser.
But volunteering isn’t just for grandmothers anymore.
It’s for grandmothers, doctors, children, engineers, executives, parents, electricians, homemakers, teachers, college students, artists, mechanics, retired seniors, hairstylists…
Today’s volunteers are building houses, writing newsletters and teaching children to read. They are caring for animals, making presentations and playing basketball with disabled individuals, using their talents and skills to help nonprofit agencies serve the community.
The Volunteer Center of Dallas is a United Way agency serving as a clearinghouse to recruit and refer volunteers for more than 760 nonprofit agencies in Dallas County. More than 61,000 volunteer referrals were made in 1991.
The Volunteer Center’s records illustrate how volunteers have changed. In 1991, 78 percent of callers worked or attended school and, consequently, were available only evenings and weekends. In addition, 88 percent of the callers were 20 to 49 years old.
These people are busy with work, school, families and more, but they still want to contribute their time and talents. Often, they are interested in short-term or one-day volunteer projects that fit into their busy lifestyles.
The Volunteer Center’s SkillBank matches volunteers with agencies that need particular talents. The SkillBank collates skills of talented individuals in a computer database so nonprofit agencies can find the help they need.
When you register with the SkillBank, you choose from more than 450 skills and interests. Perhaps you’re a lawyer who enjoys square dancing, speaks Portuguese and enjoys photography. In the SkillBank, you become a 2213-2032-1016.
Then Refugee Services of North Texas calls to request a Portuguese-speaking volunteer to translate at an orientation meeting. Or Family Gateway calls seeking a lawyer to offer legal advice to homeless clients. Or the Dallas Arboretum asks for a photographer to record a special event.
Your name, along with other 2213, 2032 and 1016 volunteers, will be given to each agency. The agencies’ volunteer coordinators will contact you about their opportunities. If you are available and interested, you will become a volunteer.
So whether you’re a 1430-2619-2808 (math-tutoring, ice-skating carpenter) or a 1722-1204-2701 (piano-playing, candle-making anthropologist) or even a 1220-2302-2918 (sweater-knitting, envelope-stuffing grandmother), the SkillBank can find the right opportunity for you.
For more information, call the Volunteer Center at 826-6767.
Baylor University Medical Center needs a volunteer four hours weekly in the Management Library, which includes books, video tapes and audio cassettes concerning management topics. The library is located on the 17th floor of Roberts Hospital along with a conference center, which hosts numerous community events. For information, call Carlos Maese (820-3425).
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