Learn something new

You don’t have to go back to school to learn something new. You can study history, astronomy, psychology and other subjects by becoming a volunteer.

Museums such as Old City Park and the Science Place teach volunteers so they can teach others.

Old City Park is an architectural and cultural museum reflecting the history of North Texas from 1840-1910. The 14-acre site near Downtown features a collection of historic buildings.

The park depends on volunteers to share this information with visitors, says Nancy Farina, programs manager for Old City Park. New volunteer docents attend a one-day orientation and receive training manuals. The next volunteer orientation will be held in September. In addition, continuing education opportunities are offered during the year.

At the Science Place, science is the subject, and volunteers can learn about weather, dinosaurs, stars, microscopes and more. Volunteers are trained to explain exhibits and help children and adults participate in hands-on science experiences.

“In addition to learning the information, volunteers also learn how to teach other people,” says Harmony Leonard, volunteer coordinator for the Science Place.

Volunteers can present shows in the planetarium, teach basic science material to preschool children or host special exhibits.

Volunteers with the Suicide Crisis Center participate in a 10-week training program before answering calls on the agency’s 24-hour hotline. The next training course begins Sept. 10. Volunteers learn how to listen and respond to callers experiencing crisis situations.

“Our training teaches enhanced listening skills and new ways to communicate,” says Jenyce Gush, volunteer coordinator at the Suicide and Crisis Center. “It’s a rewarding experience that teaches you a lot about yourself.”

Other learning/volunteering opportunities are available at the Dallas Museum of Natural History, the Dallas CASA and the Visiting Nurse Association, to name just a few.

So learn something new without entering a classroom. Become a volunteer.

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