by Katy Lemieux
The Dallas Fort Worth metroplex is a vastly diverse area. Volunteer opportunities abound for virtually any interest or personality.
When you think of volunteering, visions of doling out ladlefuls of soup may spring to mind. While this is still a viable option and worthy cause, there are many different ways to give back to the community. Jeff Hedglen has been working in volunteer ministry for most of his life. He is Director of Campus and Young Adult Ministry for the Diocese of Fort Worth and Catholic Campus Minister at The University of Texas at Arlington. He says volunteering is a great way to stay connected to the community.
“Volunteering can be anything from visiting people who are homebound, to mentoring kids, to helping refugees learn English, to making meals for the homeless. It can be as simple as getting to know your neighbors or organizing a block party.”
For seniors with more limited abilities who still want to help, there are a multitude of options. Cornerstone Assistance Network has programs specifically designed for those over 55. A Christian-based program, Cornerstone works to help those in dire poverty in the Fort Worth area. Annalisa Lim, Director of Volunteers, says their partner organizations are chosen with senior volunteers in mind.
For Dallas-based individuals, The Senior Source also pairs older residents with organizations that can benefit from their expertise with the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). Individuals 55 years of age and older are recruited and placed as volunteers in almost 200 community organizations doing a wide variety of projects such as improving our environment, tutoring adults and youth, educating seniors about Medicare fraud and assisting nonprofit agencies with short-term projects.
For those who want to volunteer their time and talents these organizations are good places to get started. For individuals with an interest in the arts, ushering is a great way to help your local theater or symphony. This service provides much needed cost-free help to these organizations with very limited budgets. The benefit for the volunteer is seeing a performance for free. Most arts organizations have outreach programs of their own as well.
Hedglen says the benefits of volunteering go beyond just making the life of another person better. For him, the ultimate reward is internal.
“I think a reward that most everyone receives from doing volunteer work is a boost to your own psyche. We are social beings and when we focus only on ourselves we miss out on a big part of what it means to be human. When we turn towards our fellow citizens and serve them, we ourselves become more whole.”
Boys and Girls Club: http://www.bgca.org
Catholic Charities https://www.catholiccharitiesfortworth.org/ 817-534-0814
Cornerstone Assistance Network: canetwork.org 817-632-6022
HOPE Tutoring http://www.hopetutoring.com/ 817-860-7757
Jewish Family Service, Greater Dallas http://jfsdallas.org/ 972.437.9950
Love Never Fails http://www.lnfi.org/ 817-831-8877
Presbyterian Night Shelter http://journeyhome.org/ 817-632-7415
The Senior Source https://www.theseniorsource.org/index.php/rsvp 214-823-5700
VNA Meals on Wheels https://www.vnatexas.org/ 214-689-0000
Volunteer Center of North Texas http://www.volnow.org/ 866.797.8268
World Relief http://worldrelieffortworth.org/ 817-924-0748