Want to change your ways? Here are 50 places that could use your time and energy
That time of year has come again when you make yet another New Year's resolution that you'll never keep. So this year, resolve to keep it. And while you still are bursting with holiday spirit, put it to some good use and resolve to give some time to a charitable cause.
There are hundreds of nonprofit organizations in Central Florida who rely on volunteers to ensure their success. But where to start? And wouldn't it just be easier to get another glass of eggnog and play with your new presents instead?
Well, we've done the hard work for you. What follows is a list of 50 organizations that depend on volunteers, in a range of roles from office work to helping kids with their homework, from raising a puppy to raising the spirits of a child with a life-threatening illness. A few ask for an extended commitment and have rigorous training. But most welcome any time you can spare.
Aids Resource Alliance provides case management for clients with AIDS, supplying multiple services including dental, medical, counseling and clothing. Volunteers help transport clients to appointments, accompany clients on grocery trips or deliver food to house-bound clients. Contact Sharron Raddock, Volunteer Coordinator, ARA, 701 E. South St.,Orlando 32801; 894-2233.
Avec Amis House of Friends is run by a couple who lost their son to AIDS. They currently are raising funds to set up a permanent home for clients with life-threatening illnesses such as AIDS. Volunteers would help with that fundraising. Contact Lynn Watkins, P.O. Box 574601, Orlando 32857; 277-1635.
CENTAUR, or Central Florida AIDS Unified Resources Inc., is an AIDS service organization providing education, food, clothing, financial and housing assistance to clients. Volunteers assist with the food and clothing bank, or visit assigned clients through the buddy program. Training is available for volunteers to answer the hotline and educate the public at community events. Contact Peter Davich, Volunteer Coordinator, CENTAUR, 741 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando 32804; 849-1452.
Hope and Help Center of Central Florida is a resource agency for persons with AIDS. Volunteers help provide transport for clients, friendship to clients and do office work. They currently are seeking anyone with massage therapy experience. 1035 Woodcrest Drive, Winter Park 32789; 645-2577.
Joy MCC AIDS Ministry is an outreach agency for clients with AIDS that runs a food bank, counseling and support groups. Volunteers help with office work, packing and distributing food baskets, and serving meals. Joy Metropolitan Community Church, 2351 S. Ferncreek Ave., Orlando 32806; 898- 3335; www.joymcc.com.
Serenity House Pediatric AIDS Foundation helps families with children who are infected or affected by AIDS by providing a clothes and food bank, referral services and a children's buddy program. Volunteers assist with the buddy program or on a more regular basis with office work and sorting through donations. 2500 Curry Ford Road,Orlando 32806: 894-2437.
Canine Companions for Independence supplies trained assistance dogs for people with disabilities other than blindness. This organization of four paid staff members relies on volunteers to raise a puppy up to 18 months in their own homes, attend basic obedience and socialization training, then turn over the dog for advanced training and placement. 1073B Orienta Ave., Altamonte Springs 32701; 834-2555.
Orlando Humane Society has a range of jobs for anyone who loves animals; bathing puppies, grooming cats, walking dogs, helping with pet- assisted therapy programs by taking animals to nursing homes and hospitals, and more. Contact Stacy Depew, Volunteer Coordinator, 2727 Americana Blvd.,Orlando 32839; 351-7722.
American Red Cross is a humanitarian organization led by volunteers which provides relief to the victims of disasters and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies. Disaster training takes several months. Orientation is held monthly; call for a schedule. 5 N. Bumby Ave., Orlando 32803; 894- 4141.;;Central Florida Helpline is a 24- hour crisis line welcoming calls from anyone with any problem. Volunteers undergo a 50-hour training course to qualify to help on phone lines. Morning and evening classes are available. P.O. Box 941524, Maitland 32794; 740-7408.
Orange County Medical Clinic Special Needs Program is a registry of county residents with special needs who require transport in case of medical emergency or evacuation during disasters such as hurricanes. Volunteer help is needed in the office to update the registry. 101 S. Westmoreland Drive, Orlando 32805; 836-7115.
Restore Orlando provides emergency relief services for needy families, including food boxes, a hot lunch program, a thrift store, after school tutoring/recreation, and a housing program. Volunteers help cook and serve lunches, manage the thrift store, tutor and play with kids and help restore houses. 1030 W. Kaley St., Orlando 32805; 246-0061; email@example.com
Salvation Army is an international Christian organization dedicated to caring for the poor. Amongst its numerous local programs are disaster services, transitional living centers, homes for handicapped seniors, day-care and after-school programs, and a thrift shop with profits supporting an adult substance abuse rehabilitation center. A variety of volunteer jobs are available, and anyone interested is welcome to take a tour first. Contact Lizette Guillen, Volunteer Coordinator, 416 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando 32854; 423- 8581; HTTP.//spotnet.com/army
Alzheimer's Resource Center provides service for families dealing with Alzheimer's. They supply counseling and wellness events for care-givers plus relief services including an adult day-care center for patients and outings for the care-givers. Volunteers assist with clerical help, registration at seminars and outreach at community events. 69 W. Underwood St., Orlando 32856; 843-1910.
Alzheimer's Respite Care Program provides services for caregivers of Alzheimer's patients. Volunteers undergo six hours of classes and 25 hours of hands-on training. Duties include assisting in the adult day-care center and acting as companion to homebound patients. Contact Marlene Farber, Volunteer Coordinator, 808 W. Central Blvd., Orlando 32805; 423- 5311.
Best Buddies Florida has a mission to enhance the lives of individuals with mental retardation through socialization and employment opportunities. This international organization pairs volunteers with mentally retarded individuals for friendship matched on gender, age, proximity and similarities. There are programs for high school students, college students and non-students. This requires a long-term commitment involving regular outings. 1900 N. Mills Ave., Suite 4, Orlando 32803; 898-0787.
Mental Health Association of Central Florida is a referral service for clients needing counseling, psychiatric help, parental advice and support or food. Volunteers help with office work, referral services on the phones, and information at community events. The Consumer Department relies on volunteers who are stable mental-health care consumers who can talk to clients about going through the same experiences and give advice on how to cope. 608 Mariposa St., Orlando 32801; 843- 1563.
Sheltered Community Residence runs workshops for the handicapped and mentally retarded, teaching clients how to develop job skills. Volunteers help in the workshop and take clients out for day trips. 6969 Ventura Circle, Orlando 32807; 673-0123.
Charity Cars receives donated vehicles, repairs them and then provides them to families in need for free. Volunteers assist with office work, phones and yard maintenance. 1980 N. Cameron Ave., Sanford 32771; 426- 8951.
Community Service Center of South Orange County has provided family services for 25 years. This organization gives financial aid during unforeseen emergencies and runs the Families First program that includes a clothes closet, food pantry, dental program, shoe provision, parenting classes, and English-as-second language classes. Volunteers help sort clothes, do data entry if computer literate, and answer phones. 621 Wilkes Ave., Orlando 32809; 851- 5920.
Metropolitan Orlando Urban League provides a range of services including housing assistance, employment assistance, adolescent substance abuse treatment and prevention, health care, crime prevention, teen-age pregnancy prevention and a scholarship program. Contact Ronita Sanders, Volunteer Coordinator, 2512 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando, 32804; 841-7654.
Parent Resource Center aims to strengthen families through support and a wide range of parent education programs. Volunteers help in the office during working hours. 42 E. Jackson St., Orlando 32801; 425-3663.
Food and Necessities
Alpha Point is a Christian outreach center that provides free food and clothing to more than 1,200 families per week. Volunteers are needed as drivers to pick up donations, sort donations and serve meals. 5325 Edgewater Drive, Orlando 32810; 290-8801.
Goodwill Industries of Central Florida sells donated clothes, with proceeds spent on training programs to help people find employment. Volunteers are used to sort through donations and talk with people who are learning how to find work. 6400 S. Orange Ave., Orlando 32809; 578-0826.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida distributes food through other non-profit agencies to individuals in need throughout five counties. Volunteers sort and box food for distribution. 2008 Brengle Ave., Orlando 32808; 295-1066.
American Cancer Society is a nationwide organization dedicated to eliminating cancer through research, education, advocacy and patient services. Volunteers are needed for office work, help in the thrift store, telemarketing, fundraising, counseling and more. 1601 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando 32804; 843-8680.
Central Florida Blood Bank is looking for assistants to distribute food and drink to donors during blood drives. Currently a position exists to help with blood drives at the Naval Training Center once a month from 3 p.m.to 10 p.m. on a Monday. Contact Shirley, 32 W. Gore St., Orlando 32806; 849-6100.
Healthcare Center for the Homeless provides free medical, dental and eye care for the homeless. All their clinics are run by volunteers at the clerical and professional levels. Medical professionals who can donate their services are greatly needed. 11 N Parramore, Orlando 32801; 928-5751.
Leukemia Aid for Patients is part of the Leukemia Society of America and has no financial government support, so relies heavily on volunteer help. This organization runs four programs; patient aid, patient support groups, leukemia education and financial support of leukemia research. 3101 W. Colonial Drive, Orlando 32804; 898-0733; firstname.lastname@example.org
Multiple Sclerosis Society provides services to improve the lives of MS patients and affected family members and is always fundraising to support research. Volunteers are needed for ongoing office support and for occasional special events. Contact Volunteer Coordinator, 3659 Maguire Blvd., Suite 110, Orlando 32804; 896 3873.
Prevent Blindness of Central Florida provides free eye screenings in schools for children aged 3 to 18 years. Volunteers undergo two hours of classroom training followed by on-site training during a school screening to qualify as assistants for giving eye tests. P. O. Box 720305, Orlando 32872; 384-9534.
Housing and Homelessness
Habitat for Humanity seeks to eliminate poverty housing by building simple, affordable homes. A crew of regular volunteers work weekdays or Saturdays; who have building skills are welcome. 808 W. Central Blvd., Orlando 32805; 648-4567.
Parramore Community Services Center is a community-based organization running four programs. Home-buying education classes, which also provide $3,000 down payments, would benefit from volunteer help provided by any licensed Realtors. Social workers are needed to volunteer help with referral services. Volunteers also are needed for arts and crafts programs for the elderly, and working professionals are needed as speakers in youth education classes on employment. 423 W. South St., Orlando 32801; 423-7729.
Children's Home Society of Florida provides a perinatal program, giving support and parenting education to teen-age and first-time mothers. Volunteers befriend the mothers, giving emotional support and providing an extra pair of hands. Eight hours of training are held every month, and screening is required. Contact Jo Howard, Volunteer Coordinator, 111 N. Oak Ave., Sanford 32771; 324-3200.
Justice and Peace Office supports teen-age and first-time mothers by providing transport to school, parenting classes and courses to become child-care professionals. Volunteers help with the after-school program, for children ages 5-10, from 2 p.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays-Thursdays. In particular, the children need help with math, English, languages, arts and homework. You do not have to be a licensed teacher to participate. 54 E. Main St., Apopka 32723; 889-0100.
Life for Kids is a crisis pregnancy center offering free testing and an adoption agency. Volunteers help with fundraising, special events, office work and organizing donated baby and maternity clothes. Volunteers wishing to help counsel mothers must enroll in 18 hours of training over a two-week period. 315 N Wymore Road, Winter Park 32789; 628-5433.
New Beginnings is a women's residential treatment program providing long-term housing for ex-offenders and substance abusers. Volunteer help is needed for office work, yard maintenance and help at special events. P.O. Box 560-403, Orlando 32856; 422-5476.
Spouse Abuse is committed to ending domestic violence by providing shelter and counseling for victims and education for adults and children. Volunteers assist with office work, child care, shelter maintenance, fundraising, speaking at educational events and answering the hot line. Volunteers undergo 12 hours training, with classes starting every six weeks. P.O. Box 680-748, Orlando 32868; 886-2856.
Women's Residential and Counseling Center provides care and counseling for homeless women. Volunteers help answer the phones. Contact Volunteer Coordinator, 107 E. Hillcrest St., Orlando 32803; 425-1076.
Big Brother/Big Sister aims to provide educational and personal support to children and their families. Volunteers who become a big brother or big sister are matched with a youth to provide emotional support and companionship. This is a long-term commitment. 1900 N. Mills Ave., Suite 1, Orlando 32803; 897-3434.
Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Florida is part of a nationwide network of neighborhood-based clubs providing guidance-oriented character development programs for disadvantaged children aged 6 to 18. Volunteers help the children with homework, arts and crafts, computer skills, recreation and sports. 801 N. Magnolia Ave., Suite 305, Orlando 32803; 841-6855.
Charlee Family Care Services is a therapeutic residential group home for foster children who have been abused or neglected. Volunteer help is needed in the office during the day. Contact Mary Wilford, 11875 High Tech Ave., Suite 200, Orlando 32817; 273-8444.
Citizen Volunteer Program is a partnership between the City of Orlando and Ticketmaster that provides "Tickets for Kids" who would not normally be able to attend events at the Orlando Arena. Volunteers are needed as chaperones to the events. 400 S. Orange Ave., 3rd Floor, Orlando 32801; 246-3309.
Covenant House is a service center for at-risk and homeless youths aged 16-24. This organization provides two meals a day, showers, clothing, hygiene products, washing machines, counseling services, anger management programs and substance abuse programs. Volunteers help serve food, sort clothes and interact with the kids, and interests in arts and crafts or sports interests would be useful. All volunteers must be over 21, and the application process involves rigorous training and screening. 888 N. Orange Ave., Orlando 32801; 426-7888.
Crisis Nursery is a residential care facility. As part of the Children's Home Society, the Crisis Nursery houses children up to age 11 whose parents are undergoing an emergency. With a paid staff of seven, the nursery relies on volunteers to help with child care, cooking and cleaning. 69 W. Underwood St., Orlando 32856; 843-1910.
Make-A-Wish Foundation has a mission to grant wishes for children between the ages of 2 and 18 with life-threatening illnesses. There are four paid staff and currently more than 500 volunteers who help with events, office work, fundraising and participating in making each wish special. 725-C W. State Road 434, Longwood 32750; 339-9474.
New Hope runs a number of community programs including the Center for Grieving Children. Volunteers undergo 30 hours of training to become grief counselors and are asked to give at least a one year commitment, eight hours per month. New Hope also runs a children's wish program and a senior citizen befriending program, and has many volunteer opportunities. 100 E. Sybelia Ave., Suite 300, Maitland 32751; 629-8920.
Osceola Children's Home is a residence housing youths ages 6-18 who currently are within the foster care system, victims of abuse, neglect or abandonment. Volunteers interact with the children, giving emotional and educational support. Training is provided, and volunteers must pass a federal screening. 2534 E. Neptune Road, Kissimmee 34744; 847-7368.
Pace Center for Girls provides a home for girls ages 12-18 who are considered to be at-risk. Volunteers tutor girls, in some cases accompanying a girl with special needs to school to provide personal help. No training is necessary, and hours are flexible. Federal screening is required. 33 W. Washington St., Orlando 32801; 843-1775.
Variety Club is a volunteer organization with no paid executives. Its sole focus is fundraising for a number of children's charities. Volunteers help plan and sell tickets for special events, make deliveries and assist with clerical work. 520 N. Semoran Blvd., Suite 222, Orlando 32807; 422-5437.
Volunteer Center of Central Florida is a United Way agency that provides a resource center to learn about the variety of volunteer opportunities available and how to get the most out of them. 2006 Grace Hopper Ave., Orlando; 896-0945.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.