HandsOn Volunteer Network of the Valley, engaging 21st-century volunteers to improve civic health and social conditions by reaching out to them 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. 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.


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. Training will be available in three forms: Monday through Friday classes this week and Jan. 14-16 will provide a detailed, step- by-step learning process; Saturday classes Jan. 19 and 26 will be an introduction and a question-answer resource to accompany independent online training; or 20 to 30 hours of self-directed online training to complete standards of conduct and basic tax prep courses and exams. VITA training does not certify volunteers as a professional tax preparer and does not provide a PIN number for private use. Locations are available at many Mahoning County sites. Email mbraunlich@hovn.org or call 330-782-5877.

MLK Day WriteOn School Supply Drive: On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jan. 21, HandsOn 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, 5500 Market St., Suite 110, Boardman, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 14 or at Girard Multi-Generational Center, 443 Trumbull Ave., Girard. Volunteer to sort and distribute the supplies from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 21 at the Girard Multi-Generational Center. For questions or information, call 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 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 information at info@HOVN.org.

Trumbull Mobile Meals: Drivers are needed to service new routes in Hubbard and Brookfield. Routes typically take an hour-and-a-half per day.

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.

Veterans’ Outreach: Contact HandsOn to assist veterans of all ages by connecting volunteers with several organizations that can use their skills, expertise and compassion.

Hospice Services: HandsOn is experiencing a rise in requests from hospice services organizations. To become a hospice volunteer, call HandsOn to discuss various organizations that offer opportunities for volunteers.

Animal Shelter Volunteers: Animal lovers who are willing to clean cages, walk or play with sheltered animals are asked to contact HandsOn to find an organization that can use a volunteer’s skills, passion and time.

Girl Scouts: The Girl Scouts are looking for dedicated troop leaders who can guide Scouts through Girl Scout programming. Extensive screening, training and support are provided.

Assisting Seniors: For volunteers who enjoy interacting with older adults, HOVN has numerous volunteer requests that offer individuals, families or groups to enrich the lives of older adults at every stage in life and especially residents in long-term care. Volunteers are urged to host card games, birthday parties, crafts, painting, reading and singing activities.

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