HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley, engaging volunteers to improve civic health and social

HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley, engaging volunteers to improve civic health and social conditions by reaching out to volunteers to raise awareness and inspire them to make a difference; providing people with access to projects and other opportunities to learn new skills and engage in work to improve their communities; and mobilizing people to use their time, talent, money and voice to create community change. The office is located at 5500 Market St., Suite 110, Boardman. Hands On is a monthly column that serves to communicate the impact that volunteering can have on the 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.


Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities: HandsOn can connect volunteers with opportunities throughout the year. Call HOVN at 330-782-5877 for help in finding the right opportunity now.

Volunteer Income Tax Preparer: VITA volunteers provide free tax-return preparation to individuals/families of low- to moderate-income and seniors. Volunteers receive all 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 mbraunlich@hovn.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 will help connect low- and moderate-income Ohioans with the work supports and tax credits they need. Ohio Benefit Bank provides access to more than 20 applications to programs including food assistance, Ohio 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 mbraunlich@hovn.org or call Marlene 330-782-5877.

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 youths 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 prior to working with the youth. Contact HOVN at 330-782-5877 for information.

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 will begin at 9 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. each day. Lunch will be provided. Volunteers may choose the hours and days they wish to help.

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.

HandsOn Holiday Ornaments: Individuals, groups, or children are urged to make holiday ornaments for those in hospice care, long-term care facilities or assisted living. The project can be at the volunteer’s own pace and schedule. If participants provide the space, supplies and people, the HandsOn Volunteer Network will provide ideas and assist in delivery of the ornaments.

MLK Day WriteOn School Supply Drive: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, the Hands-On 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 about this project, contact Kristen Gallagher at kgallagher@hovn.org or call 330-510-0102.

Elementary Reading Tutors in Mahoning and Trumbull counties: Volunteers are being sought to commit at least two hours a week during the school day through May to work with one or more students to improve their reading skills. Tutors spend one-on-one time with students in first, second or third grade helping them improve reading and comprehension skills. Volunteers must pass background check and drug screen, have the ability to provide tutoring based on the student’s grade level and enjoy working with children. For information, contact Marlene at 330-782-5877 or email mbraunlich@HOVN.org.

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. A background check is required.

Trumbull Mobile Meals: Drivers are needed to service new routes in Hubbard and Brookfield.

RSVP: Volunteers 55 and older who can give a few hours each week 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 their 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.

Trumbull County Mental Health and Recovery Board: A volunteer is needed to act as the assistant to the Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention coalition’s project director. Volunteer will be expected to attend coalition meetings the third Tuesday of every month at 9 a.m. Duties include taking meeting notes, typing meeting minutes in Word format, maintaining communication with coalition members through email, assisting with preparation and planning of special events and any other miscellaneous clerical duties that may arise.

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