HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley engages volunteers to improve civic health and social conditions by reaching out to volunteers to raise awareness and inspire them to make a difference; provides people with access to projects and other opportunities to learn new skills and engage in work to improve their communities. It also mobilizes people to use their time, talent, money and voice to create community change. The office is located at 5500 Market St., Suite 110, Boardman. HandsOn is a monthly column that serves to communicate the impact that volunteering can have on our community. To express interest in one of the opportunities below, contact HOVN at 330-782-5877, fax to 330-782-5001 or visit its website at www.HOVN.org.
Gift Wrappers and Santa’s Helpers: On Dec. 13 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., wrap gifts for “Santa to Seniors” program benefiting local senior citizens who may not otherwise receive holiday presents.
Warren Catholic Charities Regional Agency: “Santa’s Helpers” volunteers are needed during the week of Dec. 17 to help sort the donated Christmas presents for families in the Catholic Charities Christmas gift program. Gifts will need to be sorted, bagged and tagged for pickup according to family on Dec. 17 and 18. Volunteers also will be needed to help families during gift pickup days Dec. 19 and 20. Work begins at 9 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. each day. Lunch will be provided. Volunteers may choose the hours and days they wish to help.
Southern Park Mall Holiday Gift Wrapping: Southern Park Mall needs volunteers from Dec. 17 to 24 to wrap gifts with other volunteers from the Jewish Community Center. Three-hour shifts are available from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Volunteers must be able to stand for three hours. Training will be provided.
Volunteer Income Tax Preparer: VITA volunteers provide free tax-return preparation to individuals/families of low- to moderate-income and seniors. Volunteers receive the necessary training and certification from the IRS to provide services at VITA sites. Volunteers also are needed to serve as greeters at several sites around the community, and individuals who are fluent in Spanish are needed to serve as interpreters. Requirements include basic computer skills, valid ID, 20-hour training course and certification test and availability for scheduled hours from January through April. An accounting or financial background is useful but not required. Locations are available at many Mahoning County sites. Contact Marlene at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-782-5877.
Mobile Ohio Benefit Bank Counselor: Help a family find stability and take the first steps out of poverty by volunteering as an Ohio Benefit Bank counselor. Volunteers help connect low- and moderate-income Ohioans with the work supports and tax credits they need. OBB provides access to more than 20 applications to programs including food assistance, medical benefits, home-energy assistance, federal student aid, prescription assistance, voter registration and federal and state tax filing. Basic computer skills are needed to be a counselor. Openings exist throughout Mahoning County. For information, email email@example.com or call Marlene 330-782-5877.
MLK Day WriteOn School Supply Drive: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, the HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley will collect school supplies for children in need during its second annual WriteOn! School Supply Drive. Community members are urged to donate pens, pencils, crayons, glue sticks or markers, paper, folders and notebooks; monetary donations also can be made to purchase supplies. Donations collected will be sorted, tallied and distributed to Mahoning Valley schools and organizations serving children. Supplies may be dropped off at the HOVN office the week of Jan. 14 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. For information or questions, contact Kristen Gallagher at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 330-510-0102.
Youth Mentors: Camp Frederick, Youngstown State University, Mahoning County Juvenile Court, Mahoning County Family and Children First Council and Good Hope Lutheran Church are collaborating to find mentors for youth age 12 to 15. The mentor will be assigned to a youth of the same gender and will be responsible for connecting with the young person on a monthly basis and four weekends a year, with a necessary one-year commitment. Mentors must pass a fingerprint and background check, have three personal references and finish training before working with the youth. Contact HOVN at 330-782-5877 for information.
Youngstown YWCA Bridges Out of Poverty: “Bridges Out of Poverty” is an interactive experience aimed at helping the community understand poverty. Volunteers are needed to role play during the “Bridges out of Poverty” training from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 9. Breakfast and lunch will be provided. Contact HandsOn for more information at info@HOVN.org.
Junior Achievement K-12 Volunteers: Work in partnership with classroom teachers to present five to seven sessions of 45-minute prepared activities that help young students learn basic skills, think critically, and solve complex problems. Lead students through hands-on lesson plans that will emphasize business curriculum. Programs are geared to grade levels and may include topics such as community civics and resources, the role of business, entrepreneurship, personal finance and career skills, global economy, economics and business ethics. Lesson plans, program materials, and 60-minute training provided. Volunteers will have flexible scheduling and a choice of grade level.
Sweats for Serenity: Compass Family and Community Services wants to offer comfort to rape victims by providing a new sweat suit that they can use as they leave the hospital. The program serves as many as 100 victims a year. New sweat suits of every size are needed. Call HOVN for details on how to construct a project in support of Sweats for Serenity.
HandsOn Volunteer Network Independent Projects: Any individuals or groups looking to make an impact can pursue projects to benefit the Hands-On Volunteer Network. Projects that will make a difference include making paintings to decorate the children’s wing at hospitals, collecting cleaning and hygiene items for shelters, making holiday ornaments for a hospice, or assembling cookie or cupcake jars for seniors. For other project ideas or to register a group, call HOVN at 330-782-5877.
After-school tutors: Many organizations have after-school programs that assist children with academic needs and social interaction while keeping them safe in a structured environment. Help is needed to make afternoons fun while providing positive interactions and assistance with homework. Background checks are required.
Trumbull Mobile Meals: Drivers are needed to service new routes in Hubbard and Brookfield. Routes typically take an hour and a half per day.
RSVP: Volunteers 55 and older are invited to make an impact by pursuing opportunities such as distributing food to the hungry, helping others prepare or respond to local emergencies and disasters, presenting educational programs on budgeting and financial management or offering companionship and reassurance calls to homebound seniors. If interested, call Marlene Braunlich for details at 330-782-5877 or email mbraunlich@HOVN.org.
Habitat for Humanity Mahoning County Re-Store: The Mahoning County Habitat for Humanity Re-Store, 480 Youngstown-Poland Road, Struthers, is seeking volunteers for various tasks at its facility, including a cashier assistant; floor worker who will sort and stock merchandise; customer-service volunteers who will greet and assist customers; housekeepers who will clean store, office, kitchen and restrooms; hospitality person who will coordinate snacks for volunteers; and marketers who may organize community outreach.