Archived Story

Volunteer Center: Help job-seekers learn interviewing skills

Published 10:39pm Monday, November 21, 2011

In cooperation with the Volunteer Center of Southwest Michigan, we are pleased to 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; or e-mail us at 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 affiliated with the HandsOn Network.

Spotlight of the Week
• Getting a job can be tough. If you aren’t comfortable with interviewing it is even more difficult. Join the team at Heartland Alliance/Opportunity Center in Benton Harbor to help participants in their programs feel prepared.  As a mock interviewer you will assist them in preparing for real interviews by playing the role of an employer and providing feedback.

• Berrien RESA’s Blossomland is a great school for people with disabilities. You can be part of providing a positive learning environment and experiences for students. Help with office work or assist in the classroom to make a difference.
• What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? You can combine starting off the year right by volunteering and having a lot of fun at the Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra’s New Year’s Eve Speakeasy Ball at the Vineland Center in St. Joseph. Have you always wanted to be “the house” at the casino — here’s your opportunity.  You can volunteer as the game dealer and be trained on Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. Other opportunities are available on the 31st that don’t require training and include registration, coat check, cashier, usher, prize redemption attendant and bouncer.
• The Niles Salvation Army does a lot for our community! Bring your passion for their mission and learn the many ways you can volunteer with them. For example, you can volunteer as their receptionist and give a second chance to families in crisis situations. You can help provide emergency groceries from the pantry, schedule appointments for rent and utility assistance and give hope to those in need. You can also greet guests, answer phones, do filing and special projects. Another way to help is through their Feeding His Sheep program, which has delivered 1,424 backpacks to elementary school children in our area. You can be involved in handling food deliveries, packing and getting backpacks to schools.
• Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan volunteers place bereavement calls or visit clients’ surviving family members to provide emotional support and information on support groups and assistance. They also work in partnership with hospice grief counselors in local schools assisting students with loss. Special training provided.
• Are you interested in learning about child protective services, foster care, adult services, assistance payments and other programs of the Berrien County Department of Human Services? As a general volunteer aide you will learn all about them as you assist with clerical tasks. Volunteers should be responsible adults who understand the importance of rules, policies, procedures and confidentiality.
• The Volunteer Center got another call for drivers from the American Cancer Society. Whether it vets, cancer patients or senior needing meals, there is someone waiting for you to drive. There are opportunities in every corner of southwest Michigan.
Ask your circle of friends, family and co-workers how many of them have received blood products during their life? You might be surprised at how many people you personally know have benefited.

Berrien County Chapter of the American Red Cross
For a complete listing visit

Michigan Blood
Thursday, Dec. 1 — Watervliet High School, Gym, 450 E. Red Arrow Highway, 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Friday, Dec. 2 — Lakeshore High School, Auxiliary Gym, 5711 Cleveland Ave., Stevensville, 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
For a complete listing visit .

Adults and youth
• Do you enjoy providing companionship to seniors and people with special needs? Child and Family Services of Southwest Michigan counts on volunteers to prepare and serve snacks, play games, do crafts and spend time with clients in the adult day care program in Benton Harbor. This program makes it possible for these clients to live in the community instead of a nursing home.
•Are you off work on Martin Luther King Day? Would you like to be part of an effort to honor his memory and promote volunteerism? Please contact the Volunteer Center to learn how you can get involved.
•Michigan Blood helps people make a life-saving difference through blood products and service excellence. Do you have special talents you want to contribute to their mission? They want you to call them and talk about what they have available and about your next great idea of how you would like to help.

• The Ronald McDonald Family Room in South Bend provides a “home away from home” for families of seriously ill children in Michiana area medical facilities. Their very active teen board allows you to get involved in a global charity at the local level. You will be involved in community service, outreach and help raise funds.

Families and youth
• Looking for ideas and projects? Visit for lots of great ideas. This month’s project of the month — see if you can figure out the riddle: “It is the season when people give, canned food and clothes to those who live in a shelter or on a street, or in a home where ends don’t meet. We’ve heard from shelters there’s a need, for something basic, so we plead:  Give the thing few people do, and should only donate if it’s new.  It might sound weird, but we don’t care:  Donate a pair of _________________!”  Once you figure out the riddle why not post to your Facebook and get others to donate as well. Contact the Volunteer Center for more family and youth friendly volunteer opportunities.

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