U.S. volunteer goes from helping school kids to helping Ebola victims
INCLUDING VOLUNTEERS WITH DIVERSE ABILITIES. By Karen Birmingham, Director of Member Engagement, Central Bucks Family YMCA. One of my favorite aspects of volunteerism is that it serves as a great equalizer. Including volunteers with diverse abilities opens the doors to uniquely special opportunities and experiences. At Central Bucks Family YMCA, we challenge ourselves to look for volunteer experiences that suit a variety of physical and intellectual abilities.
Ken – One of our most dependable volunteers, he takes public transportation from a group home ten miles away to volunteer at our Y. He has been known to travel two hours by bus, train and walking to make a volunteer commitment. Samantha – Her love for children and ability to interact with them is such an asset that after volunteering in Child Watch for several months, she was asked to join our Child Watch staff. BUILDING BRIDGES OF INCLUSION THROUGH VOLUNTEERISM. By Chad Nico Hiu, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, YMCA of the USA and Emily Holthaus, National Director, Social Responsibility, YMCA of the USA.
The Y has long played an essential role as a community convener and bridge-builder. Our Movement connects individuals and families from all walks of life under our common cause of strengthening community and we are committed to welcoming and including all people and helping them reach their full potential. Our commitment to inclusion comes to life through programs like Togetherhood®, which invites teams of members to lead volunteer service projects in their communities. In June, we had the opportunity to present on the Y’s formidable efforts in bridging inclusion gaps at the Points of Light Conference on Volunteering and Service in Detroit, Michigan. Despite our wildly diverse experiences, each of us shared a common goal of uniting communities to address critical social issues through service.
A virtuoso violinist who shared her personal journey as a Syrian refugee and community leader, we were viscerally part of a formidable movement of positive social change, empathy and inclusion. We look forward to partnering with you on building cohesive communities together.
Ways to help
You don’t have to work in child welfare or be a parent to help children in foster care. As a court-appointed special advocate volunteer, you’re empowered by the courts to advocate on behalf of a child in foster care. The work done by CASA volunteers involves gathering information from everyone in a child’s life, including parents, relatives, foster parents, teachers, medical professionals, attorneys, social workers, and others. Becoming a mentor or tutor for a child in foster care is a great way to make the difference of a lifetime for children in need of permanency. If you know of other ways to mentor youth in foster care, contact us.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, your photography and videography talents are a priceless gift that can go a long way toward helping children in foster care. Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find agencies where you live that could benefit from your services. Respite care workers provide parents and other caregivers with short-term child care services that offer temporary relief, improve family stability, and reduce the risk of abuse or neglect. Talk with your caseworker or use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find local agencies in your state that can connect you with information on how to become a respite care provider where you live. Many children in foster care have very little to call their own.
Everything from back-to-school supplies, toys, and suitcases are needed by foster care organizations around the country. Use the National Foster Care and Adoption Directory to find a local agency to partner with to help children in foster care.
Kinetic Kids Volunteers
Kinetic Kids’ programs succeed due to our tremendous volunteer support! We strive to provide one-on-one volunteer placement at programs so that Kinetic Kids can safely and successfully participate in age-appropriate recreational and sports activities like their typically developing peers. Volunteer with us and help a child experience the joys of childhood as they strive to achieve their highest potential in a challenging new sport or activity. Our primary volunteer opportunity, seasonal programs are typically held on weekday evenings and Sunday afternoons, our seasonal programs last 6-8 weeks. Volunteers select a location and program and agree to assist about 2.5 hours once a week throughout a 6-8 week season.
Each day that you volunteer, there will be 2-3 different classes of children that come through the program. There is also a one-time volunteer orientation volunteers must attend prior to their first season. One-day volunteer opportunities include occasional Saturday morning programs and end-of-season finale assistance. Normally, one-day volunteers are not paired with a child. Instead, volunteers may be tasked with event setup, greeting guests, working at themed stations, serving refreshments or performing administrative duties.
My son, Marcos, has been a Kinetic Kid for 5 years and I just want to thank you for your volunteers. To be a volunteer takes it to a whole OTHER level. This particular young man was incredible but please know ALL of your volunteers have been.