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The Best Ways to Volunteer This Holiday Season

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As Halloween passes, the holiday season truly begins. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa are very appropriate holidays to mark a season of giving to others.

One of the best ways to become involved in the community and give to others during the holiday season is through volunteer work.

Whether it be with friends or family, giving a helping hand is a rewarding activity and great opportunity to become involved in the community. There are also plenty of organizations, clubs, and churches looking for new volunteers.

  1. Join a Community Service Based Club

There a several clubs that focus on community service around Livermore High School. Some of these clubs include Key Club, Red Cross Club, CTR (Choose the Right), Interact, LEO, Open Heart Kitchen, and RAKE (Random Acts of Kindness). Clubs like these are a great chance to meet new people interested in volunteering as well as participating in a range of volunteer work whether it be donating blood or tutoring elementary kids. The school clubs meet on various days at lunch, so an added benefit it choosing a club that best fits your schedule.

  1. Visit the Robert Livermore Community Center

The Robert Livermore Community Center holds plenty of events throughout the year, many of which need volunteers to run the programs. Volunteering at a community center further helps with community outreach and getting to know the people in your community. Such special events are the Children’s Fair, Breakfast with Santa, family dances, Youth Triathlon, and Breakfast with Bunny. Maureen Gandara, volunteer coordinator of the LARPD, stated, “A flier is put out 30 days in advance. Information and permission slips must be filled out and then those who sign up first get the shifts.” She mentioned other than special events, volunteers are needed at Fertile Ground Works, a garden contributing to Open Heart Kitchen, and Sunflower Hill. Gandara’s last comment was to remind students, “Volunteering is great for experience, learning, and exposure to different people.”

  1. Volunteer at Local Food Banks and Kitchens

Locations such as Open Heart Kitchen, Tri-Valley Haven Food Pantry, and Alameda County Community Food Bank are in or near Livermore. They are always looking for volunteers, so it is a great way to give back to the community. Volunteer coordinator of Open Heart Kitchen, Shawna Bost, shared, “It’s important to feed people in the community and you can make a impact and see the difference in the community.” She explained that the main work volunteers do is meal serving and bag lunch packing which is done through an assembly line. Volunteer shifts typically last from 3:30 – 6:30 in Livermore, Pleasanton, and Dublin. In order to volunteer, students can apply online and then sign up for shifts through their account. Livermore High School also has an Open Heart Kitchen club during Fridays in room 407. Bost added, “The club is great for students who want to meet new people and volunteer with friends.”

  1. Look Online for Specific Events

Such as with the community center, specific events throughout the year are easy to find and a great way to get service hours. Volunteers are always needed to help run the events themselves. It can be easier to look for tutoring at elementary schools, Thanksgiving or Christmas events, and any holiday celebration that needs volunteers. By working for a specified event, you can contact the organization running the event and continue volunteering for them in the future.

  1. Volunteer at a Local Pet Shelter

Around the area of Livermore there is the East Bay SPCA, Tri Valley Animal Rescue, and Valley Humane Society. All three offer great opportunities to work with cats and dogs especially if you love caring for your pets. To volunteer at the East Bay SPCA, students can apply online and must participate in a orientation. Brianna Glanzman of the East Bay SPCA in Dublin shared, “Volunteers are most needed in animal care and husbandry, such as feeding, cleaning, and socializing the animals.” She also mentioned students can learn a good overview of the shelter, clean kennels, and change water with shifts of two hours. Volunteers also can take classes to learn about safety, disease prevention, and body language.

  1. Choose a Specific Cause

Researching a cause you are interested and passionate about can lead to a fulfilling volunteer experience. You can see the direct impact on an issue you want helped in the community. Say you care about the environment, then a great option would be to pick up trash at a creek cleanup or plant trees with the LARPD (Livermore Area Recreation and Park District). Volunteers are always needed at hospitals, food banks, churches, community centers, and libraries. “Volunteering will make students appreciative and get rid of misconceptions they may have previously had in the past,” Gandara emphasized.

No matter what event or organization you volunteer for, students who choose to do so will impact the community and can directly see the effects. Giving a helping hand is an important thing to do no matter whether it be the holiday season or the middle of summer because students can directly be involved in their community.

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