Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Volunteer opportunities are easy to find
The new year is here, and that means it's time to make a final decision on resolutions. Across the United States, gyms are filling up with people who resolved to get in shape or lose weight. Others may resolve to start volunteering or working to improve their community in some way.
The Crossroads has no shortage of nonprofits and organizations that need dedicated volunteers and community donations to function. From the Food Bank of the Golden Crescent to area schools, there are opportunities everywhere for residents to volunteer or contribute. But where should a person start?
We suggest residents begin by calling 2-1-1. This agency is known as a place that supplies information for people in need of assistance, but it also maintains a statewide database that includes nonprofits and organizations in need of donations or volunteers. Johanna Rohan, community services coordinator for the Golden Crescent area 2-1-1 agency, said potential volunteers can call the agency and find out where to start in their search for opportunities. The Golden Crescent agency serves Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Lavaca and Victoria counties. The help line is free and is answered 24/7.
Rohan said the agency typically asks callers a few questions about their personal preferences for volunteer work. Do they have a certain age group they want to work with, such as seniors or children? Is there a social issue that convicts them, such as homelessness or domestic abuse? From these questions, the agency will narrow down a caller's focus and give them three options to begin their search. If those options do not work out, residents can call back for another set of options to explore.
Rohan emphasized 2-1-1 is a starting point for people looking for volunteer or donation opportunities. The organization does not coordinate any specific volunteer work on their own, but offers contact information for nonprofits and groups that do.
We are glad this service is available in both the Crossroads and across our state to help residents find help, as well as find opportunities to help others. Making a resolution to start volunteer work can be overwhelming if a specific focus is lacking. We hope potential volunteers will take advantage of this valuable service and find a good place to help out this year. A commitment to help the community is an admirable goal, and we hope residents who make this resolution will be successful in this rewarding effort.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.