Archived Story

Volunteer Southwest Michigan: Help drive senior citizens to appointments

Published 11:00pm Monday, June 4, 2012

Spotlight of the Week

Help seniors get to community programs and doctors appointments. As a volunteer driver for Covert Senior Lifeline — a program of the Van Buren United Civic Organization — you are the lifeline that provides access to the care they need and the chance to socialize with others.


• Community AIDS Resource and Education Services (CARES) depends on transport volunteers to assist clients with rides to medical appointments in Berrien, Cass and Van Buren Counties Monday through Friday (flexible times).

• On Saturday, June 9, more than 1,000 people will gather for the Annual Heartland Alliance Home and Garden Tour. This event draws people from all over and features some of Harbor Country’s most beautiful homes and landscapes. This event benefits struggling families in Benton Harbor, Chicago and around the world. As a docent volunteer, you will be assigned a home to help welcome and manage guests or be assigned to help at the lunch or after-party. Volunteers will receive a free ticket to go on the tour before or after their shift — a $100 value.

• The American Red Cross is ready to respond to disasters, but every day they help people locally by providing services to military families and veterans, hosting blood drives, providing trainings and by giving referrals for those seeking assistance. You can help too when you volunteer as a receptionist at their local offices. You will be responsible for answering phones, greeting visitors and helping with general office work. They currently have openings at their Van Buren County office in Hartford and at the Berrien County office in St. Joseph.

• Save a life — donate blood!

American Red Cross of West Michigan

Friday, June 15 — First Presbyterian Church, 13 S. Fourth St., Niles, noon to 6 p.m.

For a complete listing and to schedule an appointment, visit

Michigan Blood

• Monday, June 11— South Haven Memorial Library, 314 Broadway St., South Haven, 12:30 to 6 p.m.

• Saturday, June 16 — VFW Post 6803, 8777 Red Arrow Highway, Watervliet, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For a complete listing, visit

Adults and youth opportunities

• Van Buren Intermediate School District has a gardening project in Paw Paw. Individuals of all ages and abilities are welcome as well as groups.  Get in the dirt and help feed our community healthy food! You can prepare soil, put in stakes for tomatoes, weed and do many other tasks.  Come learn about community gardens and why they are important by volunteering once; if you like it, they would love to have you become a regular volunteer.

• Everyone loves a carousel! Wouldn’t you like to be the one to see all the kids — young and old — smile as they enjoy this Silver Beach attraction?  As a carousel assistant, you will help riders enter through the turnstile, make sure riders observe the safety rules, help riders mount and dismount figures and answer questions about the carousel. Minimum age is 16.

One-day volunteer opportunities

• Krasl Art Fair July 14-15 on the bluff in St. Joseph is a juried show featuring over 200 artists and offering a wide variety of high quality art and fine crafts. Hundreds of volunteers make this event possible. You can choose from many tasks, including distributing surveys, working in the hospitality suite, assisting in the children’s tents, helping in the parking lot and other interesting tasks.

• Please join other Chikaming Open Lands volunteers for cleanup days at Grand Beach Marsh in Grand Beach, near New Buffalo. You will be doing a variety of tasks depending on the date including invasive species identification and elimination. You can help out once a year or get involved on a regular basis. You will need to wear long pants, long sleeves and bring your gardening gloves. Do you have loppers? If so, bring them.


• Do you enjoy food and talking? Volunteer at the Cafe at Lakeland Hospital in St. Joseph or in Niles.

• Summer is here! Do you know what you are going to do? The Volunteer Southwest Michigan will be offering Youth Summer Serve 2012. Volunteer for 40 hours over the summer and you will be officially recognized. It looks great on job and college applications, you get to learn new things and also have fun! Contact Callie today at and find the summer volunteer position that fits your interests, your schedule and your transportation situation.


Summer is almost here which means that every week there are fun activities and festivals. Do you know who makes all that fun possible? You are right — volunteers! Visit to find a festival near you or cotact the Volunteer Center. We would love to get you involved.

This is a great way to volunteer with a friend or with your family.

In cooperation with Volunteer Southwest Michigan, we are pleased to publish opportunities for volunteers each week. To inquire about these opportunities or to make an appointment, call 983-0912 in the St. Joseph-Benton Harbor area, 683-5464 in the Niles area; visit; or send email to for further information. 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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