Archived Story

Doris Higgins: TEC center gives special needs kids thrills

Published 11:12am Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SPOTLIGHT OF THE WEEK
• Lake Michigan College is committed to volunteerism in Southwest Michigan. Come learn many of the ways you can get involved by visiting the Volunteer Fairs at Lake Michigan College. At least 10 agencies will be represented at each fair offering volunteer opportunities for you.  The Volunteer Center will also be on hand to offer you a connection to hundreds of agencies and volunteer opportunities.

Monday, Oct. 5 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 6:30 p.m., Napier Campus (Benton Harbor)

Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Bertrand Crossing Campus (Niles)
A special emphasis will be placed on environmental volunteer opportunities, but all types of organizations will be represented.  So come check it out!

ADULTS
• Everyone is talking about the flu. Come be on the front lines and help the Berrien County Health Department at their flu clinic on Oct. 6 in Niles from 3 to 6 p.m. You will help people fill out forms and provide general assistance. No special skills needed, just a desire to help.

• Be a volunteer for the young leaders program at Harbor Harvest Urban Ministries in Benton Harbor.  This program has been developed to use evidenced based activities to build academics and social skills.  Classes run Wednesday evenings.

• The leaves haven’t even turned color, but Krasl Art Center in St. Joseph is gearing up for the holidays.  You can volunteer starting in November to make sure the soup’s on by serving homemade soup and desserts and help keep the serving area tidy.

• You may be used to getting in your car and going where you need to go.  Many people struggle with transportation especially those with medical problems. You can help veterans, senior citizen, people with chronic illnesses (such as those on dialysis) and those receiving hospice care. You can also deliver meals to the homebound.

• The Red Cross of Berrien County provides relief to victims of disaster and helps people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.  If you are available anytime between 9 a.m.to 4:30 p.m. Monday to Friday you can help enter data at their offices in Benton Harbor.
• Berrien County Veterans Affairs Office gives veterans a ride to the VA hospital in Battle Creek.  You can volunteer one or two days a month to drive their van.  All van expenses are provided and drivers get a free lunch at the hospital. This is a full day commitment and days are picked out about a month in advance.

• Campfire Fire USA River Bend Council serves the Michiana area by building caring, confident youth and future leaders. Did Campfire or another organization make a difference to you as a young person? You can pay it forward by serving on one of the committees or by considering serving on their board.

• The work of the Benton Harbor Street Ministries is supported by the Berrien County Association of Churches‚ Thrift Store. You can support their work when you volunteer to sort clothes, set up attractive displays, clean up, or volunteer as a cashier. Groups are welcome and Monday through Saturday hours make it convenient to find a time slot that will work for your schedule.

• Give of yourself … donate your blood!
BERRIEN COUNTY CHAPTER OF THE AMERICAN RED CROSS
Thursday, Oct. 15 at Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, 601 Ferry St., Niles: noon to 5:45 p.m.
For a complete listing visit www.berrienredcross.org
MICHIGAN COMMUNITY BLOOD CENTER
Wednesday, Oct. 7 at American Legion, 112 N. Bluff Street, Berrien Springs:  3 to 7 p.m.
For a complete listing visit www.miblood.org

Doris Higgins
• Join First Church of God in St. Joseph in creating a special evening for teens and adults with special needs. The Prom:  Evening with the Stars will include dinner, dancing, arcade games, mini golf, karaoke, a comedy club and Deal or No Deal show on Oct. 3. As a prom escort you will receive an hour of training at 4:30 p.m. before the event starts.  Your guests will arrive at 5:30 on the red carpet and the fun lasts until 10 p.m. Volunteers should be at least 15 years old. 200 volunteers are needed for this event so get a group of friends to come with you.

Doris Higgins is the executive director of the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan. Reach her at: director@volunteerswmi.org, 210 Main St., Suite 237, 605 Pleasant St., Niles, MI 49120. Call 683-5464, or visit www.volunteerswmi.org.

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