Ten Ways to Give Back to the Community this Holiday Season
Volunteer opportunities abound, and what better time of year to get involved?
'Tis the season . . . to give. Although we often find ourselves rushed and stressed out this time of year, what better time to slow down and think about helping someone else? Even if you can't spare the hours right now, consider making the commitment to help in 2011. Here are some interesting ideas for giving back to the community:
- The Volunteers in Medicine clinic in Lake Saint Louis provides free care, medications and supplies to those in need. Physicians and nurses are needed, but there are also many opportunities for others to help.
- Lake Saint Louis Patch's freelance photographer David Becker and his family give their time and home to St. Louis Aussie Rescue. The family fosters dogs, mostly Australian Shepherds who need a forever home, and David helps with transportation, shuttling dogs from city to city where they will find a home and a family to love them. You can help at a local shelter, or find a breed rescue organization on the web.
- The St. Louis Christmas Carols Association registers groups who carol in a neighborhood or at a mall. Money collected by the group goes out to over a hundred St. Louis area children's charities. Editor Tamara Duncan is part of a caroling group that visits a beautiful historic St. Louis neighborhood on Christmas Eve, and that group is always looking for new members. What better way to keep the kids occupied on Christmas Eve?
- The St. Charles Community Council's Cinderella Project collects used prom dresses and makes them available to high school students in need. Volunteers are needed for fitting and repairs, and for makeup and hair styling. Or just clean out your closet and donate!
- Therapeutic Horsemanship helps people who are disabled by giving them the chance to work with an equine therapist. Volunteers are needed as sidewalkers, leaders, horse handlers, and barn and office help.
- The Wentzville School District encourages parents and other members of the community to volunteer in the district's schools.
- Your Neighborhood Crime Watch group, administered through the Lake Saint Louis Police Department, needs volunteers to help with meetings, materials, and phone calls.
- The Lake Saint Louis Fire Department needs volunteers to serve in their volunteer firefighter and reserve program, the junior firefighter program and in support services.
- St. Charles County Department of Parks and Recreation has a variety of volunteer opportunities available, from horticulture and forestry volunteers to museum docents, events, programs and office assistants, and park ambassadors.
- Volunteers are needed at St. Joseph Hospital West to assist patients and visitors and help with clerical duties. Young people, age 14 and up, in need of service hours are encouraged to help.
Keep in mind that many volunteer programs require an application process and/or background checks. Remember, you are needed!