Erie’s Hooked on Books summer 2013 program needs more than 300 volunteers to read to children between June 24 and July 25. Classes take place from 12:05 to 12:35 p.m. Mondays through Fridays (except for July 4 and 5).
Volunteering is an excellent way to broaden your horizons, help your community, meet new people and lift your spirits. Many local nonprofits desperately need help from volunteers to accomplish their everyday missions and to put on special events. But how do you find out where your time and talents can do the most good? If you’re looking for volunteering opportunities in the Erie area, there are two excellent places to start – besides this blog, of course.
First, GoErie.com hosts a list of opportunities that is updated periodically as organizations submit their needs to us. Reach it by clicking the blue button, labeled “Latest Volunteer Opportunities,” to the right of this post. Anyone wishing to submit their volunteer needs for inclusion in this database can send them to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The United Way of Erie County and the Nonprofit Partnership recently launched Get Connected, a Web-based platform that matches volunteers with one-time and ongoing needs in Erie County and beyond. The site, http://getconnected.unitedwayerie.org, allows users to search for volunteer opportunities a number of different ways. You can browse through a list of nonprofit agencies, big and small, with descriptions of the organizations’ missions and their volunteer needs, as well as links to their websites.
If you have a certain kind of expertise or interest area, you can search for opportunities by topic area. You can also search events and for opportunities available within a certain distance of your location. If you want, you can register to receive updates of volunteer opportunities fitting the criteria you specify.
So if you have time and energy to give — whether it’s a lot or a little — check out these resources for some great ideas on how to use them.
Looking for some ways to help out this weekend? Here’s a roundup of some volunteer and fundraising opportunities in Erie County. If you have any suggestions for future posts, please send me an e-mail at email@example.com or drop off your announcement at the Erie Times-News, 205 W. 12th St.
1. Give blood. Memorial Day weekend is traditionally one of the three worst weekends of the year for blood usage, due to all the travel and activities, and it kicks off the unofficial blood shortage season. Help the Community Blood Bank go into the weekend with the blood supply at a high level by donating. The blood bank, at 2646 Peach St., is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A photo ID is required.
2. Bike Around the Bay. The 11th annual Bike Around the Bay benefiting Environment Erie’s education programs will take place Saturday. Riders can choose among 10-, 30- and 50-mile rides. The rides will begin at 8 and 9 a.m., starting and ending at the Pilot House, 1 Holland St., behind the Intermodal Transportation Center. Day-of-ride registration is $25 for an individual and $45 for families. Call 835-8069 or visit www.environmenterie.org to learn more.
3. Erie Animal Network’s Art for Animals. Have fun and purchase an original piece of art by local professional and amateur artists, Sunday, 1 to 5 p.m., at Performing Artists Collective Alliance, 1505 Peach St. Admission is free; proceeds from the sale help support the Erie Animal Network’s pet food bank and its mission of reuniting lost and found pets with their owners.
4. Rummage sale at Orphan Angels Cat Sanctuary. Find some great stuff — clothing, books, DVDs, knick-knacks, pet items, household goods and more — and help the cats at Orphan Angels. The sale will be held Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m., in the shelter’s parking lot, 5439 West Lake Road.
Spring means it’s time to spruce up Erie’s neighborhoods, and the United Way is leading an effort to mobilize as many as 4,000 volunteers to help clean up local nonprofit organizations between Saturday and April 28.
The weeklong event, known as Days of Caring, has more than 30 projects to choose from at various Erie locations. The projects are of all types and sizes, so there’s sure to be something that fits your schedule and your skill level. Volunteers are needed for activities ranging from general cleaning, such as removing trash and debris, to painting, gardening and making minor repairs. Much of the work will be outdoors, so be prepared for all types of weather.
One of the most popular events is the Presque Isle State Park cleanup, which takes place Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. If you want to help get the beaches ready for summer, just show up and register at the Rotary Pavilion between 9 and 11 a.m.
To find a schedule of Days of Caring cleanup events or to get involved, visit http://getconnected.unitedwayerie.org.
Members of the public are invited to vote once a day through April 30 for their favorite senior citizen volunteers, at least eight of whom are from the Erie area.
You can check out the full list of nominees at http://www.salutetoseniorservice.com/volunteer-contest/entries/, which includes the stories of all the amazing volunteers from across the country who were nominated by their peers and friends.
If you know someone who has been nominated, search for their first name and last initial (such as Sally K. or Ruth S., two of the nominees from Erie). If you want to see the entire list of nominees from Pennsylvania, simply type “Pennsylvania” in the search box.
A winner will be chosen from each state based on online voting. Each of those state winners will receive $500 for their favorite charities. A national winner will receive $5,000 to donate to his or her charity of choice.
Head to Bob Evans, 8041 Peach St., on Saturday, March 9, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m., for breakfast, lunch or dinner — or all three if you like. The restaurant will donate 15% of sales that day for which the diners present a BYC coupon when they order their meals.
Coupons can be downloaded from Because You Care’s website, www.becauseyoucare.org, and are available upon request at the restaurant. Visit BYC on Facebook for more information.
Do yourself some good — and have fun — while doing good for Erie. The 2013 Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community Erie will take place Saturday, June 8, at Presque Isle State Park. This year’s Walk benefits 25 local health and human service organizations, including the Erie County Diabetes Association, YMCA of Greater Erie, Therapy Dogs United and the Mental Health Association of NW Pennsylvania, among others. Walk participants can choose which organization they want their donations to go to. For the complete list of participating organizations, or to register for the walk, go to www.HighmarkHealthyWalk.org.
On-site registration and check-in will begin at 7:45 a.m. on June 8, and the walk, which is 5K (3.1 miles), will start at 9 a.m. There’s also a 1-mile fun walk, which starts at 9:15 a.m. The walk will be held rain or shine. Strollers and wheelchairs are permitted.
After the walk, participants can enjoy food, beverages, music, activities and prize drawings. For every $50 a walker donates or raises in support of a participating organization, they will receive one raffle ticket. Prizes worth a total of more than $1,000 will be raffled off.
Walkers who donate or raise $25 or more will receive a Highmark Walk for a Healthy Community T-shirt (while supplies last).
Parking is available at Beach 1, but get there early because it fills up fast.
Children who participated in the YMCA’s after-school programs will be eligible for a Big Brothers Big Sisters “match.” Matches of youth and adult mentors will meet for one hour per week and ideally utilize the equipment and programs at the YMCA branches.
“We are thrilled at the opportunity to partner with such a wonderful organization,” said Paula Hayes, director of Big Brothers Big Sisters, in a news release. “Not only will we be able to provide more children with a big brother or sister, this partnership also provides volunteers throughout the county with additional opportunities to get involved and make a difference.”
I featured one Big Brothers Big Sisters volunteer on this blog a few months ago. Read about Jessica Crossman’s experience with the program and learn how you can get involved.
It’s been quite a week of fill-in-the-blank days: Grey Thursday (or rather, Thanksgiving,) Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now Giving Tuesday.
The final of these days emphasizes giving to charitable and nonprofit organizations during the holiday season. According to its website, “We have a day for giving thanks. We have two for getting deals….Wouldn’t it be great to have a day for giving back?”
Here’s more information in their video promo:
More than 2,000 charitable organizations are getting involved in Giving Tuesday, including these Pennsylvania-based nonprofits.
Want to get involved in Giving Tuesday? Become a social ambassador. All you need to do is Facebook, tweet, blog or pin the #GivingTuesday hashtag and share the day with your social networks.
The Erie Community Foundation is hosting the second Erie Gives day, which encourages residents to make online donations to the local nonprofit of their choice, on Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Donors must give at least $25 dollars and can give to up to 10 nonprofits per transaction. Donations can be made at ErieGives.org.
Participating nonprofits are members of The Nonprofit Partnership or have an endowment with The Erie Community Foundation.
They will share a pro-rated match pool of $101,000 sponsored by The Erie Community Foundation and GE Transportation. Essentially, the more money a nonprofit raises, the more it will be matched.
In 2011, 213 nonprofits received an additional 14 percent on each dollar raised.
“The goal of Erie Gives is to encourage philanthropy to a younger generation of donors, to increase online giving and utilization of social media, and to provide added value to members of The Nonprofit Partnership and those who have endowments at The Erie Community Foundation,” said Mike Batchelor, president of The Erie Community Foundation, in a news release.
Logo courtesy of Erie Gives