Volunteer opportunities

SOUTHWEST MICHIGAN — United Way of Southwest Michigan has a variety of volunteer opportunities available. Below is a compilation of agencies and charity organizations that could use a helping hand.

• MLK Day of Service

MLK Day of Service on Monday, Jan. 21 is a federal holiday dedicated to the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in honor of his legacy and passion for serving others. Those interested can sign up at volunteer.uwsm.org on Jan. 21 and all year long to find opportunities to join the MLK Day legacy.

• Self-Help Legal Resource Center Niles volunteer

The Self-Help Legal Resource Center (S-HLRC) helps those from a wide range of backgrounds who all have one thing in common: they all need help navigating the legal system. Some patrons need as little assistance as handing them a form and others may need to be walked through the whole case filing process.

Volunteers will assist patrons by explaining the resources available at the S-HLRC and provide appropriate legal information. This position requires extensive knowledge of court processes and procedures, particularly family, civil and personal protection order filings, to direct patrons to the appropriate forms and instruction materials. Volunteers will be trained to learn this information. Ability to maintain confidentiality, work with a diverse group of people, possess excellent communication skills and present a calm, compassionate, professional attitude are needed. Learn more at uwsm.org/volunteer.

• Hospice patient companion

Caring Circle (Hospice at Home) is seeking volunteers to provide companionship to Hospice patients who reside in nursing homes as well as their own homes. Volunteers may choose to go to a patient’s home while their caregiver leaves for a short time, or can visit patients in nursing homes to offer company and friendship. Volunteers sit with patients and talk, hear about their lives, play games, listen to music or just provide quiet company. No medical training is required. Hours are flexible and can be tailored to a volunteer’s availability. Volunteers provide comfort and support to the patients and their caregivers at a difficult time in their lives and is a deeply rewarding experience. For more information, visit uwsm.org/volunteer.

• Therapeutic Equestrian Therapy volunteers

From high school students to retirees, TEC volunteers come from diverse backgrounds with an array of talents and skills. As different as each volunteer is, they all share an interest in making a difference in someone’s life. Volunteer as a horse leader or sidewalker during therapeutic riding lessons. Individuals walk approximately 45 minutes per lesson. Leaders are responsible for the horse during each lesson.  Sidewalkers assist and focus on the rider. Previous experience not necessary, training provided. Volunteer at uwsm.org/volunteer.

• Help out Emergency Shelter Services

Take advantage of an opportunity to service the community in need. The Emergency Shelter in Benton Harbor has daily opportunities for individuals to assist in prepping meals, household cleaning, sorting donations and yard upkeep. People can learn more at uwsm.org/volunteer.

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