Archived Story

Volunteer Center: Advocate for those in need of housing

Published 10:40pm Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Spotlight of the week

A major part of the work of Harbor Habitat for Humanity is advocating on behalf of those in the community that are in need of decent, affordable homes. Volunteer partner family advocates help partner families, those selected to receive Habitat Homes, with budgeting, filling out forms and paperwork, applying for colleges, typing resumes, etc.


4-H utilizes volunteers to offer a wide range of personal development experiences.  Members range in age from 5  to 19.  The 5- to 8-year-old programming is activity-based, cooperative, fun and experiential.  It allows youth members a variety of learning opportunities with a non-competitive focus.  The efforts of parents, leaders, MSU staff and community volunteers are needed to provide opportunities for youth to learn, grow and have fun.


• As a custodian for the Salvation Army in Niles you will create a welcoming environment and main a functional building for Salvation Army program participants, volunteers and staff.

• The Heritage Museum and Cultural Center in St. Joseph offers interesting exhibits in a beautiful building.  A greeter in the museum store has the job of being the first person a visitor encounters.  Greet visitors, offer information about the exhibits, make sales in the gift shop and perform small administrative tasks.  The minimum commitment is one weekday per month.

• United Way of Southwest Michigan is sponsoring a Reading Day of Action on March 15 at schools throughout Berrien and Cass counties.  Demonstrate the joy of reading by sitting down and reading to preschool and elementary school students. Stay for a few hours, an afternoon or a whole day.

• Lakeland Specialty Hospital in Berrien Center provides a specialized type of care for patients whose conditions require a long hospital stay. The gift shop at Lakeland Specialty Hospital is not able to be open as much as needed.  Greeting and socializing with customers and operating the cash register can be fun. Orientation, TB test, flu vaccination and criminal background check required and provided by Lakeland.   Other opportunities are also available including being an activity assistant.

• Make a difference in the life of a child by volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club in Benton Harbor. Computer lab assistants help in all aspects of program operations including but not limited to:  setting up activities, providing instruction, assisting with computer lab activities, encouraging participation by all members and supervising children’s behavior.  This is an opportunity to be an important role model for the children and have fun engaging them in interactive and hands-on creative activities.

• Volunteers are needed to sit at the reception desk of the Krasl Art Center and greet visitors, answer the phone and other small tasks. Shifts are available Monday through Friday 10 a.m.  to 1 p.m. or 1 to 4 p.m.

Michigan Blood

• Friday – Eau Claire High School Gym, 7450 Hochberger Rd., Eau Claire: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Saturday – Martin’s Super Market, 720 S. 11th St., Niles:  9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For a complete listing visit

Berrien County Chapter of the American Red Cross

• Monday – Pleasant View Church of Christ, 60550 Crooked Creek Rd., Cassopolis:   noon – 5:45 p.m.

• Tuesday – Woodland Shores Baptist Church, 3555 Shawnee Rd., Bridgman: noon to 5:45 p.m.

• Feb. 29 – Lawrence High School, 650 W. St. Joseph St.:  9 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.

For a complete listing and to schedule an appointment visit

Youth and adults

• Consider joining the all volunteer staff at Therapeutic Equestrian Center.   Its mission is to enrich the mind, body and spirit for people with special needs through horse-related activities.

Help take care of horses, be trained as a side walker for the participants or support TEC through administrative and fundraising work.

• Activity aides at Gateway help people with disabilities socialize and engage in planned activities.  Volunteers at Berrien RESA’s Blossomland Learning Center work with a younger group also assisting with activities.

Youth, adults and families

Did you know the Easter Bunny is hiring an assistant?  Since 2008 local families have helped the Easter Bunny by providing supplies for more than 300 Easter Baskets for kids in shelters and in foster care.   Contact the Volunteer Center to learn more.

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.

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