Doris Higgins: Lend a green thumb to Harbor Habitat community gardenPublished 8:23pm Thursday, March 17, 2011
In cooperation with the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan, the Niles Daily Star will publish opportunities for volunteers each week. To find out about these or other volunteer opportunities, please call 983-0912 in the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area, 683-5464 in the Niles area; visit our website at www.volunteers wmi.org; or e-mail us at email@example.com for further information. To arrange an appointment, please call ahead. Appointments do not constitute an obligation to accept a volunteer opportunity. The center is a United Way agency.
Spotlight of the Week
As a community garden keeper you will supervise inexperienced volunteers with planting, maintaining and harvesting produce at Harbor Habitat for Humanity’s new community garden in Benton Harbor. You will also supervise maintenance of gardening tools and equipment and communicate regularly with the volunteer coordinator. There are community gardens in Niles and other areas looking for volunteers as well.
• Do you enjoy scrapbooking? Lakeland Hospice volunteers can work with families upon special request to preserve memories of a loved one. You can also help in the office with a scrapbook of patient’s obituaries.
• The First Robotics Competition is coming to Niles High School March 25 and 26. They will need 100s of volunteers for this regional event. They are looking for quick-thinking observant types for referees, technically-minded people for inspection and can-do folks to be plugged in where ever needed. More information is coming very soon so contact the Volunteer Center to find out how you can get involved in the big event!
• The Salvation Army provides many important services out of their old building in Niles. They could really use some custodial help. Why not stop by and let them know what you are able to do? If you have a couple a hours a month great, a couple hours a week even better!
• In April, 800 fifth-graders ascend on the Berrien County Youth Fair Grounds for Earth Day. Volunteers can help Berrien County Resource and Recovery get ready. You can come Tuesday, April 26 and help with setting up 9 a.m. to noon. You should be able to lift and help carry benches and tables. Another option is to help prepare the 800 white pine seedlings that the fifth-graders will take home. Volunteers will count seedlings, wrap roots and water the seedlings from 9 to 11 a.m. If you are not available on the 26th, you can pick a two hours block of time the first two weeks of April and help stuff goodie bags for the students.
• Reception assistants at Fernwood Botanical Garden and Nature Preserve greet visitors, accept money for admissions and purchases, describe the map of grounds, answer general questions and answer phones. If you enjoy meeting people and like to be busy, this could be for you.
• Hospice at Home serves people throughout southwest Michigan including people in your community. They can find you a volunteer position close to home as a caregiver support volunteer. You will stay with a hospice patient at their home so their caregiver has the opportunity to rest, get out of the home to do errands, or enjoy alone time or seeing others. Being a caregiver is difficult and providing this type of respite care allows them to be refreshed. You have flexibility in when you volunteer and training is provided.
• Community Alliance Against Substance Abuse (CAASA) wants parents to join its parent advisory council to provide input into the planning of coalition activities, particularly those targeted to increasing parental awareness and involvement. Members may be called upon to assist with various projects targeting parents or possibly lead projects of their own. The meeting times and time commitment varies. Certain times of the year are busier than others. Volunteers can expect to spend between two and four hours a month.
• Boys and Girls Club in Benton Harbor and Big Brothers Big Sisters have teamed up to offer the kids of Benton Harbor a Dinner Buddy program. As a dinner buddy you will meet your little brother or sister once a week during the school year at the Boys and Girls Club. The goal as a mentor is to build a friendship and to encourage the child to think about the future and what it could look like if they did well in school. Your commitment is for one school year. Twenty-five kids are waiting for 25 dinner buddies.
• If every person who donates blood once a year recruited one person to donate once a year, blood shortages could be a thing of the past. Recruit a friend to donate blood today!
Berrien County Chapter of the American Red Cross
• Thursday, April 14 — St. John’s Church, 601 Sycamore, Niles, noon to 5:45
• Friday, April 15 — United Methodist Church, 144 South Church St., Coloma, noon to 5:45 p.m.
For a complete listing, visit www.berrien redcross.org.
• Saturday, March 26 — Martin’s Super Market (blood bus), 720 South 11th St., Niles, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
• Wednesday, March 30 — Berrien RESA, conference rooms B&C, 711 St. Joseph Ave., Berrien Springs, noon to 5 p.m.
For a complete listing visit www.miblood.org.
Adults and youth
The Michigan Nature Association has sanctuaries across the state for everyone to enjoy. Spring is right around the corner and you can help. Activities include removing invasive species, trail maintenance and general land stewardship. Visit their calendar of events www.michigannature.org.
• Curious Kids Museum in St. Joseph wants you to come and have fun with them during spring break week the first week in April. You will enjoy helping children explore the exhibits. Face painting, anyone? If you enjoy kids, this is the place to be!
• The first Saturday of every month you can volunteer at Lakeland Continuing Care in St. Joseph. A volunteer leader will be on hand with a planned activity and you will meet some of the interesting people living there. In April volunteers will make cards for the Easter basket project and in both April and May they will help residents practice for the Senior Olympics in May.
Spring will be here soon and you know what that means — yard clean up. Why not talk over with your family about doing a clean up project for a neighbor who could use some help or offering your help at a local nonprofit? You could make it a one time project or offer ongoing assistance over the summer as well. Emergency Shelter in Benton Harbor is one such organization. Contact the Volunteer Center and we can connect you to an organization in your town.