It’s a new year and for many of us that means renewed calls for self-improvement. And while resolutions like laying off the ice cream and spending more time on the treadmill are worthy goals, for many in Western North Carolina, the new year is also a time for focusing on others.
Several area organizations are seeking new volunteers for 2015 to foster goals as wide-ranging as promoting marriage equality to increasing independence in people with disabilities. It’s a chance to utilize skills from data entry to makeup design because whatever your interests, talents or passion, there’s likely a nonprofit or community group that could use your help.
To get you started, Xpress has rounded up a sampling of area organizations seeking volunteers for 2015. So whether you’re a farmer, a carpenter, a lawyer, a face painter or just a good neighbor, there’s a way for you to check off the resolution of becoming a volunteer.
The mission: As the oldest continuously operating theater in Asheville and one of the oldest community theaters in the nation, ACT works to provide entertainment, enrichment and education while making theater an integral part of the community.
How to help: Volunteers have essential backstage duties, including painting sets, stitching costumes and working on production crews. But they are also needed in the front of the house to usher, work in the box office and help with special events. And for those interested in performing, onstage roles are also available.
How to sign up: Volunteer orientation sessions are held once a month on Mondays from 6:30-7:30 p.m., with the next session occurring on Jan. 12. For more information, contact Chanda Calentine at 254-1320, ext. 27.
The mission: Provides access to local, fresh produce, healthy food, nutrition education and health and wellness counseling for underserved households in WNC.
How to help: Volunteers are needed to help with the organization’s produce markets, including unloading trucks, setup and cleanup and interacting with clients. Other needs include social media management, administrative support, fundraising assistance and videography and video editing.
How to sign up: Contact Ali Casparian at 419-0533 or visit bountyandsoul.org.
The mission: Provides a variety of independent living services with the goal of increasing independence and improving quality of life for individuals with disabilities.
How to help: The organization offers unique volunteering opportunities for folks with disabilities, including the option to own a refurbished computer in exchange for 10 hours of clerical and office assistance. There is also a specific need for volunteers with computer skills to refurbish the computers used in the Cyber Pal program.
How to sign up: Contact Disability Partners at 298-1977.
The mission: Promotes healthy eating choices by making nutritious foods accessible to people of all income levels through hands-on cooking classes for adults and students in local schools.
How to help: While the organization needs volunteers for its special events (including the Farm to Table 5K in June and the Feasting for FEAST annual gala in September), there is also a need for teachers. Volunteer teachers assist students and professional teachers with cooking projects or chores in school gardens. There is a specific need for volunteers at Vance Elementary’s garden-to-classroom program this spring.
How to sign up: Contact Nan Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mission: Works to end homelessness in WNC by providing stable housing and ongoing support.
How to help: In addition to clerical support, volunteers may help clients as they move into their new homes by picking up furniture donations, purchasing personal belongings or home items or sponsoring a move-in through financial or emotional support. There is also a special need for faith communities to provide shelter for up to 12 women by opening up facilities as a warm, safe place to sleep.
How to sign up: Contact Ashley Campbell at 777-1886 or email@example.com.
The mission: Helps youths and adults living in poverty to obtain jobs that support their families and improve community and environmental health.
How to help: Most functions are performed by interns, but volunteers may commit to an “as needed” pool, which performs various tasks for the program. Potential interns may apply for administrative, marketing and development, training and placement or social enterprise work.
How to sign up: Contact Jasmine Middleton at 398-4158.
The mission: The organization serves the Latino community by connecting community members with local resources, providing education through computer classes and English as a second language courses and organizing cultural and political events.
How to help: General needs include staffing information tables at community events, assisting with child care and setup and cleanup for fundraisers. Specific needs include volunteers with computer skills and bilingual writing ability (English and Spanish).
How to sign up: Contact Mirian Porras at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 273-6823.
The mission: Provides free legal advice, pro bono lawyers and community legal services for underserved populations in WNC.
How to help: General needs include clerical work, fundraising research and data entry, event coordination and interviewing potential clients to determine eligibility for free legal services. Specific needs include attorneys willing to volunteer in the Mountain Area Volunteer Lawyers Program, which involves pro bono casework.
How to sign up: Contact Beth Herrman at email@example.com or 210-3787.
The mission: Works to assert the full humanity and equality of LGBT people living in the South.
How to help: Activities include clerical work such as sending out invitations and newsletters, fundraising work, including set-up and clean-up, and support for information tables, actions and pride events in Asheville and other regional areas. Interested volunteers will be added to a pool and notified when the need for volunteers arises.
How to sign up: Contact Lindsey Simerly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 242-1559.
The mission: Works to preserve and promote the unique historic resources of the region and sustain the heritage and sense of place of Asheville and Buncombe County.
Volunteer needs: Opportunities include guiding historic property tours, marketing, WordPress website management, photography and videography, historic neighborhood outreach, architectural surveys, research and archives management and preservation easements monitoring. There is a specific need for a volunteer coordinator, who would work the executive director to organize volunteer activities.
How to sign up: Contact Jack Thomson at 254-2343 or email@example.com.