Helping hands is a weekly Laurel Volunteerism Examiner column. The three-part column now offers more than triple the number of volunteer opportunities in and around the Laurel, Maryland, quad-county area than it did when it originally appeared in March 2009. To support interest in the column and to help match up area volunteers and organizations, please mention the Laurel Volunteerism Examiner when you contact an organization listed here. Thank you!
New!! Oxfam and Pakistan Flood Disater Relief.
Act Locally. Help Globally. The January 2010 earthquake in Haiti and the February earthquake in Chile left devastation and human trauma in its wake. Several organizations offer opportunities for volunteers to help with financial and social service needs. In uncommonly severe late summer monsoon season has caused extensive damage and hardship in Pakistan. The list below includes a few of the groups involved in relief efforts for these countries.
American Red Cross
Catholic Relief Services
Center for International Disaster Information
FIRN [Foreign Born Information and Referral Network]
Lutheran World Relief
North American Mission Board
United Methodist Committee on Relief [UMCOR]
NPR Web Site – Haiti: Some Ways To Help
NPR Web Site – The Nation: How to Help Chile
State Department Web Site – Pakistan Flood Disaster Relief
Haitian Creole or French speaking volunteers are urged to contact Loretta Tillery at 301-909-7016 or e-mail [email protected] Opportunities are associated with the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services and the Maryland Department of Human Resources.
Advocates for Survivors of Torture and Trauma [ASTT] is seeking volunteers for various positions. They need interpreters for non-English speaking survivors; Community Events Befrienders; information researchers, online support [via blog/web site links, etc.] and support volunteers who will assist in the office with such tasks as data entry, assembling information packets and mailing the organization’s newsletter. For more information, call the volunteer coordinator at 410-464-9006 or e-mail [email protected]
All Shades of Pink is a non-profit breast cancer support organization. Click HERE for volunteer opportunities. Call 301-356-4688 or E-mail for information.
ALS Association has various volunteer opportunities available. Be a part of the organization that supports research into ALS [Lou Gehrig’s disease]. For more information, contact Colette Pond at 301-978-9855 ext. 201 or e-mail [email protected] Register and submit an online application HERE.
Alzheimer’s Association needs active participants in the battle against Alzheimer’s disease. Volunteer, donate, participate in a local walk, be an advocate and much more. Click HERE for more information, applications and contacts.
For information about or to participate in a clinical trial, click HERE.
American Cancer Society needs volunteer drivers for its Road to Recovery program. Volunteers drive cancer patients to and from treatment and doctor appointments. Flexible schedules available. For information or to volunteer, call 1-800-ACS-2345.
For additional volunteer opportunities, a recent announcement from the American Cancer Society says, “Here are just some of the many great ways you can help people in your community stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back against cancer!
- Help People Stay Well: Spread the word about cancer prevention! Whether it’s emailing your friends and family reminding them to get their cancer screenings or giving them tips and tricks from cancer.org to live healthier lives, it’s all about spreading awareness.
- Help People Get Well: Battling cancer is hard, but you can make it just a little bit easier. Help a cancer patient get well by driving them to their treatment or cooking them a meal at your local Hope Lodge®!
- Find Cures: Be part of the next big breakthrough – volunteer to take part in Cancer Prevention Study-3 and help our world famous researchers put an end to this terrible disease.
- Fight Back: Tell your elected officials that you support increased funding for cancer research, or join together with your community at a local event such as Relay For Life or Making Strides Against Breast Cancer®.”
American Heart Association “is committed to fighting heart disease and stroke and raising awareness of these diseases.” [Credit: AHA web site.] Volunteer to participate in a cause or lend a helping hand in other ways. Online volunteer application.
The American Red Cross Needs You! For more information, click the link below for the Red Cross office nearest you.
- American Red Cross of the National Capital Area needs volunteers who can perform humanitarian services in Fairfax County, VA; Washington, D.C.; Montgomery County, MD; Prince George’s County, MD; and in the military communities at Fort Belvoir, VA and Andrews AFB and Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Maryland.
- American Red Cross of Central Maryland serves residents of Howard and Anne Arundel Counties in Maryland. Volunteers must be at least 14 years old and have access to transportation.
Animal Shelters. The closest animal shelters to Laurel residents are the Howard County Animal Shelter at 8576 Davis Road [Phone: 410-313-2780] and the Animal Welfare Society at 8556 Davis Road, Columbia [Phone: 410-465-4350]. Walk-ins for pet adoptions welcome. Give the gift of love and a good home to a stray or unwanted animal. Volunteer opportunities are available at both shelters. Call 410-313-2780. For more information about the Howard County Animal Shelter pets, the shelter and hours of operation click HERE.
Anne Arundel County Public Library branches often have openings for volunteers. Duties include assisting library staff with “unpacking of books, book repair, filing and computer orientation. These positions usually require the ability to bend, lift boxes and books, use a hand held scanning device, and to stand for periods of time. Training for volunteers is provided by staff and other volunteers.” To volunteer or for more information, contact the Maryland City at Russett Branch Library at 301-725-2390. [Source: AACPL web site.]
Anxiety Disorders Association of America focuses on “informing the public, health care professionals, and media that anxiety disorders are real, serious, and treatable.” [Credit: ADAA web site] The advocacy of this 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization aims to improve the lives of people suffering from anxiety disorders. Learn what you can do to help. Click to find help. For more information or to contact someone, call 240-485-1001.
The Arc of Central Chesapeake Region needs volunteers. Call 410-268-8085 for more information and to volunteer.
The Arc of Howard County, Inc. offers opportunities for volunteers who want to help Howard County citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Web site has a downloadable PDF version of the Volunteer Handbook.
The Arc of Montgomery County not only has positions for volunteers, but they also participate in the “Give A Day, Get A Day” program offered by the Disney Parks. During the entire year of 2010, volunteers can receive free admission to a Disney Park. See web site for details. Call 301-984-5777.
The Arc of Prince George’s County has openings for volunteers. These include: art instructor, choir director, dance and drama instructors, health and fitness instructor, motivational speaker for the Ready at 21 program for teens transitioning into adulthood, skills workshop person, thrift store worker, and photographer. Positions are in Largo, Laurel and Temple Hills. Contact Sarah Logar, volunteer coordinator, 301-925-7050 or [email protected]
The Aspect Foundation connects volunteer families with high school students from nearly 50 countries. Host families share their homes and activities with the students. For more information call 301-568-1143.
ASSE International Student Exchange needs volunteers who can serve as area representatives in the short-term exchange programs with international high school-age children. Representatives recruit and screen prospective host families, as well as interview international students. Call 301-877-0592.
Better BedRest needs telephone volunteers who have had a pregnancy bedrest experience or connection to bedrest. Training provided. To volunteer or for more information, call the 24-hour helpline 410-740-7662 or e-mail [email protected]
Breast Health, Inc. has volunteer and paid staff positions available. For more information about the positions, call Deborah Wilson at 240-606-4882.
Bridges to Housing Stability [formerly Congregations Concerned for the Homeless] has volunteer opportunities. Currently opportunities include: taking care of children during family workshops, strong people to help with moving furniture and household goods, clerical office help for two hours per week, and cleaning, moving and inventory of items in Bridges storage unit. In addition to cash donations [for workshops], furniture and snack donations are appreciated. For more information or to volunteer, call Pam DeCicco at 410-312-5760 ext. 102 or E-mail.
Cancer Support Foundation, Inc. welcomes volunteers to help Maryland cancer patients and their caregivers. For information about volunteer opportunities call 410-964-9563 or e-mail [email protected] CSFI produces the free Maryland Resource Guide for Cancer Survivors & Their Families booklet. Find out more about this useful resource HERE.
Capital Hospice has volunteer opportunities for compassionate individuals. For more information and to download an application packet, click HERE or call 301-883-0866.
Cell Phones for Soldiers – Ongoing program. The Laurel Volunteer Fire Department [LVFD] is participating in the “Cell Phones for Soldiers” program. Cellphones delivered to central collection sites are exchanged for pre-paid phone cards that are sent to U.S. soldiers. Show your support of our servicemen and women by dropping off cell phones at the LVFD, 7411 Cherry Lane, Laurel. For instructions on what to do with cellphones before dropping them off at the LVFD, click HERE. For more information, contact Mike Sellner via e-mail [email protected]
Chaplain’s Closet commonly known as the Wounded Warrior Ministry Center at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany helps the wounded American soldiers [Wounded Warriors] who are treated there. The Chaplain’s Closet was created because with “the speed of transporting Wounded Warriors from the battlefield to medical treatment facilities, some arrive with little more than the clothes they’re wearing. But thanks to the Chaplain’s Closet, by the time a Wounded Warrior departs LRMC for more long-term care in the U.S., he or she is loaded down with personal items such as clothing and toiletries thanks in part to the generosity of a long list of donors.” For more information and for making donations, contact [email protected]
Chesapeake Bay Trust wants stewards and volunteers who want to lend a hand to save the Chesapeake Bay. Online application HERE. Phone: 410-974-2941.
Children’s Miracle Network needs volunteers and charitable contributions to support their work with children’s hospitals. Click HERE to extend a helping hand.
Clothing Donations – a short list of organizations which accept clothing for those in need.
Lupus Foundation of America [will pick up]
National Children’s Center [will pick up]
Planet Aid [click HERE to locate drop-off boxes]
Salvation Army [will pick up]
Vietnam Veterans of America [will pick up]
Local religious organizations, clubs and civic groups, homeless shelters
Community Advocates for Family & Youth [CAFY] needs volunteers for their community outreach and court education programs. Training is provided. Call 301-390-4092. List of volunteer positions.
Community Crisis Services, Inc. needs volunteer telephone suicide/crisis counselors. No experience is necessary and training is provided. You must be 18 and attend all 32 hours of training and willing to volunteer three hours per week for one year. For info, call 301-864-7095. Online volunteer application.
Computer Seniors of America are looking for teens – 15 to 18 years old – to assist computer instructors in teaching computer skills to seniors in the Laurel area. These are long-term volunteer positions. Teens can work afternoons or evenings, Monday-Friday. Hours are flexible. Volunteer computer instructors are welcome, too. Contact Victor McGonigal at 410-336-5878 or e-mail [email protected]
Court Appointed Special Advocates [CASA] – The Prince George’s office wants resourceful volunteers to “Speak Up for a Child” who has been abused or neglected and living in foster care. The volunteer advocate works ten hours per month with the child and collaborates with social workers, parents and judges to secure the welfare of a child. Day or evening sessions provided by CASA. Download application form. Call 301-209-0491.
Cure PSP [Progressive Supranuclear Palsy] needs motivated volunteer facilitators to start and lead online support groups. Share some time with others affected by PSP, CBD, MSA and related brain diseases by becoming an On-line Support Group leader. If you are interested, send an email to [email protected]
Cure PSP also welcomes volunteers who want to raise awareness about and funds for a cure for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. For more information about volunteer opportunities contact Kathleen Matarazzo Speca at 1-800-457-4777, ext. 19 or e-mail [email protected] or Jennifer Mion at 1-800-457-4777, ext. 20 or e-mail [email protected]
DAV [Disabled American Veterans] volunteer opportunities include driving disabled veterans to and from treatments and doctor appointments, working at a local VA hospital, and lending a helping hand to local veterans. Flexible hours and programs available. For young college-bound volunteers, Local Volunteer Assistance Program [LVAP] volunteer hours are eligible toward applications for the Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship. Eligible volunteers under the age of 21 can earn up to $15,000 toward college tuition. Also needed are volunteer drivers and volunteers at a VA hospital.
Domestic Violence Center of Howard County welcomes volunteers. Many opportunities available. Call 410-997-0304 or E-mail.
Fidos For Freedom, Inc. trains and provides service dogs to people with disabilities or who are hard of hearing. The organization is seeking dog-loving volunteers to help raise puppies in the Laurel area. In addition, Fidos For Freedom may also have openings for volunteer dog trainers, office staff and openings in their therapy dog and junior volunteer programs. Call 410-880-4178 or 301-570-7570.
FIRN offers resources and support for the foreign born. Click HERE for contact information and to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
Fish of Howard County, Inc. has a variety of volunteer opportunities. Their volunteers have helped people in their community for over 36 years. From answering the telephone to delivering groceries to someone who is homebound, there are a lot of ways to serve others. For more information, call 410-964-8660 or visit online.
Fish of Laurel, Inc. at Elizabeth House, is an all-volunteer, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that has been serving people in need in the Laurel area for many years. Helping hands are always welcome! Some of the opportunities available are preparing ready-to-heat casseroles which are served at the evening meals for the hungry, donating food to the food pantry and kitchen, telephone volunteers [respond to requests for food or assistance], maintenance, and work in the Food Pantry. Click for information about Fish of Laurel, Inc./Elizabeth House. To volunteer call 301-776-9296 or e-mail [email protected] To read about the growing need to combat hunger, click HERE.
Fisher House offers free room and board for military families who are caring for their loved ones hospitalized far from home. To learn more about the Fisher Houses in Bethesda and at Andrews AFB, click HERE. Click HERE for information about the three Fisher Houses near Walter Reed. Read Zoe Tillman’s article in the 24 December Gazette. To volunteer at a local Fisher House, click HERE.