Volunteering in Your Community

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Volunteering in Your Community

Audrey Alspach

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Volunteering, though you receive no compensation, is a wonderful opportunity. Most teenagers naturally assume that people volunteer solely for the moral rewards. However, high school students must really consider the other benefits of volunteer work; it looks great on a resume, gives invaluable experience working with specialized organizations, and it can help teens gain access to groups such as National Honors Society. Volunteering truly opens many new doors to the inexperienced adolescent beyond just the realization that you are giving back to your community.

Around Colorado there are many opportunities to volunteer. Here are four examples of nearby organizations who allow volunteers.


Anythink Rangeview Libraries

Anythink Libraries are a chain of interactive campuses that provide a safe, easy-to-use resource bank for the public. They host an extensive selection of books, both recreational and informative, a full computer lab and various tech, study rooms, and more at every Anythink outfit. Programs and activities are often run there in order to promote local businesses and artists as well as to entertain and teach children about basic skills, such as sewing sessions or baking labs. It’s easy to see why Anythink Libraries are a hit with the community, and the creative atmosphere makes for a great volunteering environment.

Volunteering with Anythink Libraries is easy; first, you need to fill out an online application. At the top of the Anythink website homepage (https://www.anythinklibraries.org/), there is a tab labeled ‘Job Center’. This pulls up a list of job information, under which the listing ‘Jobs With Anythink’ appears. After clicking the words ‘jobs page’, the volunteer opportunities link will be visible. It leads to a page labeled ‘Volunteer Opportunities’, where the paperwork can be located. Once filled out, it can be faxed over or turned into any Anythink campus.

The second stage of the initial application is an interview. If your packet is accepted, you will be notified within a week or two and an interview will be arranged to determine if you become a ‘sidekick’. You will meet with an employee – most likely the Branch Manager and/or your future mentor – who will ask you questions. Like most interviews, you aren’t allowed to know the questions ahead of time, so it is important to simply answer to the best of your ability.

Sometimes there aren’t any mentors available to take on a new volunteer and in that case it is important to continue asking around or to check up with the libraries in a few weeks. Additionally, if you sign on and are accepted, there is an obligation to put in roughly four hours of volunteer work a month for half a year. If you cannot make the commitment, hold off on applying until you have the time to dedicate. All that set aside, Anythink is compatible with both the summer months and a school schedule, making it a great beginner volunteer job for those wanting an interesting, fulfilling experience that is manageable.


Broomfield FISH

FISH (or Fellowship In Serving Humanity) is a charitable organization founded in 1963 by six Broomfield churches. Its goal was to help the community by distributing food and other services to people in need, and in the last few years it has accomplished this by providing a food pantry, transportation and rent assistance, utilities, and more.

On their volunteer opportunities page online (https://www.broomfieldfish.org/volunteer), middle and high school students can apply for the JV (Junior Volunteer) Club, which will send out information via email about volunteer opportunities coming up with FISH. The sheet is simple and brief, making it easy to understand and convenient to access. For those eighteen and older, you can fill out an adult volunteering form online. The link to a volunteering PDF is available on the link I have provided. Keep in mind that only the first page of the ‘Volunteer Application’ document is must be filled out and submitted for volunteering purposes, as the pages following it discuss volunteering for required community service purposes. Within two weeks of turning in the application you will be notified.

There are several ways to aid FISH besides volunteering, and one is to participate in or start a local food drive. By giving one lump sum to the organization it makes the gathering of resources and its later distribution less challenging. Another is to simply donate online; as its website promises, for every dollar given, ninety cents go directly to their clients. Additionally, by keeping up with their hosted events you can discover what other community projects and collections FISH is doing. Though volunteering is prefered, for those who can’t make the commitment at this time, all of the following are alternatives to help you stay involved.


Adams County Animal Shelter & Adoption Center

The ACASAC is an open admissions shelter, which means that they take in all homeless animals regardless of age, health, temperament, etc. They provide many services; adoption, vaccination, and microchipping are all examples of what this shelter and center gives. Overall this is an admirable county-run organization doing its best to aid creatures in need. In general, for any animal lovers or aspiring vets, volunteering at a shelter will provide the hands-on experience you desire within a local environment, and this is a great place to start.

Volunteers, as explicitly stated on the website (http://animalshelter.org/volunteer-foster), must be sixteen or older, have a background check, and attend a two hour orientation and training session. After completing this and an online application, you must be able to volunteer for a minimum of two hours a week for a duration of six months. The link provided under the section ‘How to join our volunteer team’ will transport you to an in-depth application form. Most of the information is relatively straightforward and easy to answer, but two references are required by the shelter in order to submit the paper. Make sure these are people who aren’t related to you and are comfortable with giving out all their information.

On the whole, this is a fun and involved volunteering job that is good for anyone who enjoys spending time around both animals and other people. As long as you are able to meet the time requirements, it’s a fulfilling opportunity within our community.


Denver Museum of Nature and Science

The Denver Museum is a museum that provides a variety of interesting walk-through exhibits, many of which are family-friendly and interactive. They host events and exclusive traveling attractions, such as the recent Dead Sea Scrolls feature, and have many in-house specials unique to its campus, including the sky roof and its astronaut space simulators.  In this way it has become an attractive spot for field trips and city tours, and its diversity makes it an interesting volunteer opportunity.

For those 14-17 who want to apply, positions are available in the Expedition Health, Museum Ambassador Program, Prehistoric Journey, and Space Odyssey features, as is stated on the website under ‘How To Apply’ (http://www.dmns.org/join/volunteering/how-to-apply/). After opening up the application itself, you must fill out all information and write a brief essay. Those who have a specific job in mind or know multiple languages have a slight advantage when reviewing the paperwork. Additional expectations will be listed online.

Those who are 17 and older may apply for an adult listing, which includes any category available on the website’s main volunteering tab. This includes a heftier commitment than that of a teen volunteer; most volunteer positions for adults require a minimum shift of four and a half hours per week. Other than that, the actual document is similar to that of the teen papers, though specifics are listed within the form as you go along. Again, being bilingual puts applicants at an advantage, and students with two or more languages under their belts should seriously consider applying for these types of volunteering openings.

Following the initial application, both the adult and teen applicants will be sent an email for information on upcoming interview schedules and their papers will be reviewed. If you successfully pass both legs of the process, you will be inducted into the museum as a volunteer. Applying doesn’t guarantee a volunteering position at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and if you don’t get accepted, you shouldn’t necessarily lose faith. Sometimes other people are vying for volunteer work as well and there just wasn’t enough room in that specific department. It’s important to try again in a few months and to continue diligently looking over the website.

In any event, for people wanting to learn more about history and our world, the museum is an interactive campus that presents the possibility of a educationally stimulating volunteer experience.


Still Not Enough?

Volunteering may seem like a lot of work, but as most can assure you, it is more than worth it. If you aren’t convinced, I would advise you to simply give it a try for three to six months. It will give you a taste of the obligations, and even if it doesn’t work out, the experience still looks good to colleges, hiring managers, and other organizations. There’s no pressure to continue.

Also, these listings may not have seemed interesting to you. Perhaps working at a library or an animal shelter just isn’t your niche. If so, there are many more positions out there. Here is a brief list of groups that also offer volunteering positions:

In conclusion, volunteering offers so many great opportunities to young citizens like us. It is imperative to find these options in our communities and continue to make the world a better place.