HANDSON | Volunteering opportunities

HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley engages volunteers to improve civic, health and social conditions and inspires them to make a difference. It provides people with access to projects and other opportunities to learn new skills and mobilizes people to use their time, talent, money and voice to create community change. The office is 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


Make a Difference Day Ohio, Oct. 27: Plans are under way in both Mahoning and Trumbull counties for Make a Difference Day 2012. In Trumbull County, the Warren firefighters are sponsoring the Save a Life Smoke Alarm initiative (SALSA) intended for Warren residents who have families, seniors or children living in the home. Applicants will be chosen based on fire- fatality statistics and need. Tamper-resistant smoke alarms that contain a power cell that will operate the detector for up to 10 years will be installed by HOVN volunteers Oct. 27 after installation training.

Trumbull County United Way: The Great Pumpkin 5K Run/Walk will take place Oct. 27 at Kent State University at Trumbull. Volunteers are needed to assist with registration, feeding runners after the race and directing runners through the course.

Youngstown Area Goodwill amblyopia screeners: Working in teams, volunteers will visit pre-schools to perform vision screening on 4- and 5-year-olds for “lazy eye” and report any problems to the Amblyopia Program Coordinator. Training provided to use charts and special glasses to screen. Must be able to pass a background check, have a caring heart and patience with children, administrative competence and reliable transportation. Screening shifts are scheduled Monday through Friday and run September to April each year. Training starts soon. Call 330-782-5877 or email mbraunlich@HOVN.org.

Elementary Reading Tutor in Mahoning and Trumbull counties: Volunteers are being sought who want to be part of an innovative tutoring program in the elementary grades. Commit at least two hours/week during the school day from October through May to work with one or more students to improve their reading skills. Tutors spend time one-on-one 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 more information, contact Marlene at 330-782-5877 or email mbraunlich@HOVN.org.

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. OBB Counselors assist people in their communities by walking them through the applications for these programs electronically. 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.

Volunteer Income Tax Preparer: VITA volunteers provide free tax-return preparation to individuals/families of low- to moderate-income and seniors. Volunteers will receive all the necessary training and certification from the IRS to provide services at VITA sites. Volunteers are also needed to serve as greeters at several sites around the community, and individuals who are fluent in Spanish are needed to serve as interpreters. Volunteer Protection Act protects volunteers from personal liability while acting within the scope of their responsibilities. 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.

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 of volunteers is needed to provide fun afternoons while also offering positive interactions and assistance with homework. Background checks required.

Mill Creek MetroParks Farm information Desk: Spend time supporting the Mill Creek Metro Parks by being an ambassador to people calling the park for information. Volunteers would be appreciated three days a week from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Volunteers would assist administrative staff in the Canfield offices by answering the phone, mailing information, directing people to websites, taking registrations and basic filing. Training is provided.

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. Knowledge of social media would be a plus, but is not necessary.

Big Reach Center of Hope: Volunteers needed to help keep warehouse area organized and clean. Heavy lifting is involved at times as well as floor sweeping, sorting food items, breaking down cardboard, taking trash out, assisting client families with used furniture pickups and other tasks.

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, tutoring young people, 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.

Sweats for Serenity: Compass Family and Community Services wants to offer comfort to rape survivors by providing a new sweat suit which 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 more 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 HandsOn Volunteer Network. Projects that will make a difference include making toys for shelter pets or place mats for senior centers, assembling snack bags for needy children, making paintings to decorate the children’s wing at hospitals, collecting cleaning and hygiene items for shelters and making holiday ornaments for a hospice. 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.

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