Do you have a special skill or interest that could benefit others in need? Take a look at these volunteer programs!
Students can help out – while earning money for school.
This year, up to 20,000 Americans, aged 17 or older, are taking part in AmeriCorps. In exchange for work in rural or urban communities for one or two years, they will receive education vouchers of $4725 per year for college or vocational training. Members also receive a living stipend as well as health insurance. AmeriCorps members clean up neighborhoods, police the streets, build houses for the homeless, tutor children, and more. For information, call: 1-800-94-ACORP.
Are you good with numbers?
How about helping people with their tax returns? Through Volunteer Income Tax Assistance or Tax Counseling for the Elderly, you’ll get free training from the Internal Revenue Service (which might also help with your own return). As an IRS volunteer, you’ll help the disabled, the elderly and lower-income taxpayers. To find out about training programs, call the IRS information helpline at 1-800-829-1040.
Do you have a little time to spare?
Those aged 55 or older are eligible for the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, to work in libraries, police stations, hospitals and homeless shelters. Call the National Senior Service Corps at 1-800-424-8867.
Curious about science?
Volunteers of all ages can help scientists and experts at the U.S. Geological Survey, the nation’s largest earth science research organization. Volunteers gather water quality data, survey ore deposits, update maps, monitor earthquake and volcanic activity, and work with the latest computer technology. The U.S. Geological Survey staff members provide training as needed. To find out about the Volunteers for Science Program, write: USGS, Dept. P, 601 National Center, Reston, Va. 22092. Or call: 1-703-648-7440.
Lend a hand and a breath of fresh air.
If you think you’d like to band birds at a wildlife refuge, raise fish at a fish hatchery, or conduct wildlife surveys, then consider volunteering with the Fish and Wildlife Service, which has more than 600 field stations. Write: Volunteer Coordinator, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dept. P, 4401 N. Fairfax Dr., Room 670, Arlington, Va. 22203
Brighten a veteran’s day
At the Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, volunteers escort patients, read and write letters, teach crafts and assist with administrative work. Interested? Contact the chief of voluntary service at the VA medical center or outpatient clinic in your area. It’s listed in the telephone directory under U.S. Government.
Do you like to work with children?
If you do, a Head Start center has a place where you can help. The federal social and educational program is for children in low-income families and is operated in urban and rural areas. Volunteers have acted as translators, given puppet shows, worked in a classroom, cooked, tutored and helped plant gardens. For more information, write: Head Start Bureau, Dept. P, P.O. Box 1182, Washington, D.C. 20013.
Help the elderly
The Administration on Aging, created by the Older Americans Act, provides a range of services to the elderly. Volunteers investigate complaints of nursing-home residents, deliver meals, provide counseling and escort older people to medical appointments. To find out which agency in your area may offer volunteer programs, call the Administration on Aging’s Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.