Archived Story

Volunteer Southwest Michigan: Let Sept. 11 inspire volunteerism

Published 10:26pm Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spotlight of the Week

• Sept. 11 is a national day of service and remembrance. How will you remember and honor? Here are a few ideas:

• Visit and explore volunteer opportunities and contact an organization about volunteering.

• Make cookies and thank you cards with your kids and take them down to your local fire station or police station.

• Remember that sense of community after the tragedy? Decide how you will re-connect to your community. Will you help  neighbor rake their leaves this fall?  Visit someone in a nursing home?

Visit or for more ideas.

Adult opportunities

•   If concerned about helping aging people stay in their homes and making sure they have good nutrition,   Senior Nutrition’s board would like to interview you as potential board member.  No commitment needed to find out more about it.  If you would like to help in other ways, help with fundraising or as a driver.

•  Volunteers who are mature adults act as liaisons between the City of Niles’ departments and community citizens.  Vounteers in policing (VIP) report neighborhood concerns and needs to the police department, as well as assist police during parades, festivals and other large gatherings.

• Cass County Council on Aging Handy Helpers assist in making homes safer so individuals are able to remain in their homes longer.  Repair work includes installing grab bars, installing or repairing railings, putting down non skid tape, installing smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, weatherizing and building wheel chair ramps. Carpentry experience is a definite plus.

• Consider contacting a local school and offering to volunteer in the classroom, on the grounds, with special projects or on a committee.

• Volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club in Benton Harbor as a computer lab assistant. Engage children in interactive and hands-on creative activities.  Volunteers also supervise children’s behavior and encourage their participation.

Hospice at Home invites barbers and hairstylists to style the hair of their clients.  Volunteers should be willing to go to clients’ homes.

• Do you have the ability to teach basic pencil art, work with water colors, or provide instruction on completing kit projects?  Do you enjoy being creative in the development of ideas and projects for young people?

If so, consider sharing your talents at the Berrien County Juvenile Center in Berrien Springs.  You should be at least 18 years old and a background check is required.

American Red Cross of West Michigan

The Red Cross reports that, if it had just three extra donors at each blood drive, it would stabilize the blood supply.

• Noon to 6 p.m. Sept. 7: First Baptist Church, 902 Broad St., St. Joseph

Michigan Blood

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday: Best Buy, 1515 Orchards Crossing, Benton Harbor

• 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 5: Bronson Lake View Hospital, 408 Hazen St., Paw Paw

One-day opportunities

• On Nov. 30, do your part to bring holiday wishes to people who are elderly and to adults with disabilities as a volunteer greeter at the St. Joseph’s Martin’s Super Market.  Greeters stand inside the entrance doors and inquire if shoppers would like to become a Secret Santa.  Near the entryway will be a Christmas tree adorned with ornaments with wishes written on them.  Shoppers can select one or more ornaments from the tree and find the item during their shopping trip.  At checkout, shoppers give the ornament and purchased items to the cashier.  Gifts are delivered to the person’s home by Area Agency on Aging staff members.  These gifts are small but significant reminders  the community remembers them.

Youth opportunities

• Time to finish reporting volunteer hours for 2012 Youth Summer Serve.  Go to and report them by Friday. If you volunteered more than 40 hours over the course of the summer, you will be officially recognized.

If you need assistance,  contact Callie at

Family  opportunities

• While out school shopping, why not pick up a few extra items to donate to a local school or one of the many programs serving families and kids.  Call Volunteer Southwest Michigan, and someone will help you figure out which organization would welcome a donation.

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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