By DONNA OSUCH
Lend your muscle. Find your voice. Give an hour. Give a Saturday. Each of us has special talents, things we can do to help. Put your talents to work for your community. Because when you reach out a hand to one, you influence the condition of all. Whether it’s reading to children, leading financial education classes for hard-working families, or delivering meals to homebound seniors, there are hundreds of volunteer options available every day.
Volunteers are at the forefront of everything we do at United Way, including our Board of Directors, funding distribution, community impact councils, and other key United Way functions. They are the tutors, mentors, financial coaches, tax volunteers, United Way campaign managers, community advocates and many others who give freely of their time and talent to have an impact on education, income and health in our communities.
There are many benefits to volunteering: you can learn a new skill, meet new people, be able to help people who really need it and give back to your community. Research shows that volunteering leads to greater life satisfaction and lower rates of depression. And you can walk away knowing that you provided a valued service and that your time and effort had a positive impact on families and our community.
Current Volunteer Opportunities
Joy of Sharing:
Christmas Toy & Gift Drive – United Way collects toys & gifts for over 3,000 local children ages 3 to 14 during the holidays. Donations can be dropped off to the United Way office, 200 Main St., Bristol on either Dec. 10 or 11 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA):
United Way is seeking volunteers to work at our free tax preparation site. No tax experience needed. The VITA Program provides low-income workers and families with free tax preparation and filing. Tax preparers receive free training and are certified by the IRS. Volunteers must be willing to commit four hours per week during the tax season (hours are Tuesdays from 4 to 8 p.m. or Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. If you are interested, please call Colleen at (860) 582-9559.
Become a Tutor and Help an Adult Reach Their Literacy Goals
Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut seeks volunteers to work with small groups of adult students once a week for two hours. They have many students waiting for tutors to help them with reading, writing, and speaking English. They welcome prospective tutors age 18 and over with a minimum of a high school degree and very good writing skills. They offer training workshops periodically throughout the year, usually with a choice of morning or evening trainings. Workshops involve four sessions of three hours each. The training is a requirement of being an LVCC tutor.
And the best way to volunteer? “Get Connected” with us! Simply log onto our website to find out what opportunities are currently available and where your time and talents are most needed: http://getconnected.uwwestcentralct.org/
We’d sincerely like to thank the Bristol Observer, Mike Chaiken, and Kaitlyn Naples for their partnership and for ensuring that non-profits have a voice in this community.
We’d also like to wish all of you a safe and Happy Thanksgiving and holiday season. United Way is grateful for our community’s support and thankful that so many of you LIVE UNITED every day!
This is the final column in an eight-week series from United Way of West Central Connecticut’s president and CPO, Donna Osuch.