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If your New Year’s resolution involves helping others, the Parkland offers numerous ways to volunteer.

Some opportunities are obvious. Churches and schools always need volunteers, as do chambers of commerce, service organizations and youth programs. However, there are many less noticeable places where help is needed to work with children, adults, senior citizens, people with illnesses or disabilities, animals or incarcerated people who are trying to straighten out their lives.

Service to other people can restore self-esteem, take your mind off your own troubles, or teach skills that can help in your career or personal life. Whether you reach out for religious, moral or personal reasons, volunteering can add a new dimension to your life.

According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 61.8 million Americans (26.4 percent of the adult  population) contributed 8 billion hours of volunteer service worth $162 billion in 2008. That amount is based on the Independent Sector’s 2008 estimate of the dollar value of a volunteer hour ($20.25).

Approximately 441,000 more young adults ages 16-24 volunteered in 2008 than in 2007, which is an increase from about 7.8 million to more than 8.2 million. http://www.volunteeringinamerica.gov.

The Midwest has had the highest volunteer rate since 1989 among U.S. regions for all adults, with a rate of 23.9 percent in 1989, and 30.2 percent in  2008. Before that, the West had the highest volunteer rate.

The largest number of volunteers is in the South, where 20.7 million people volunteer. About 15.6 million people volunteer throughout the Midwest.

Based on data from 2006 to 2008, Missouri had 1.3 million volunteers, which reflected 29.4 percent of residents.

Volunteer coordinators suggest that when considering where to volunteer, think about what you enjoy and how much time you have to give.

Among the many places to volunteer in the Parkland:

BJC Behavioral Health/Friends in Action Clubhouse

206 Crane Street, Park Hills

Contact: Anna Portell 573-431-9620

Friends in Action provides structured groups/activities for adults and children who have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness or emotional disturbance. It provides a safe environment for individuals with a mental illness to gain skills needed to become as independent as possible. Volunteers lead groups and teach independent living and other skills through activities such as crafts, cooking, recreation, art, flower arrangement and laundry. There also is a lot of unstructured time for the volunteers to interact with the clubhouse members.

Volunteers must complete an application and be interviewed. They also must have a TB test, a background check, and transportation to and from the Clubhouse. Training is provided as needed. Hours are flexible and volunteers are needed one to four times per week. Candidates should be self-starters who want to share their talents and skills to help people in need.

Food pantries

The Farmington Ministerial Alliance

1101 Ste. Genevieve Ave.

Contact: Rick Meyer 573-756-1917

The pantry is open from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays.

St. Joseph Catholic Church

404 East Liberty St., Farmington

Contact: Kathy Neiner 573-756-0997

The pantry is open 9 a.m. to noon on Tuesdays and Fridays.

The Church of God

1101 Gifford St., Bismarck

Contact: Lois Jaco 573-734-6468 or Pastor Robert Adams 573-562-7095.

The pantry is open from 9 to 11 a.m. every Friday.

Hands of Christ

911 Cedar St., Bismarck

Contact: Mike Dane 573-747-8234 or 573-734-6300

The pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays.

Elvins Food Pantry

17 W. Main Street, Park Hills

Contact: Wil Lampe 573-734-2436 or Flo Wampler 573-431-4355

Pantry hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Immaculate Conception Church

1020 W. Main St. Park Hills

Contact: Joe Rhodus 573-431-2437 or 573-562-2968

The pantry is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Fridays

St. Joseph Catholic Church

15 St. Joseph St., Bonne Terre

Contact: Janet Basse 573-358-2112

The pantry is open from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Mondays and Fridays.

Area food pantries often need volunteers to help run the pantries. Volunteers can perform duties such as stocking shelves, doing inventory, working with customers and picking up food supplies. Contact individual pantries to see where and when help is needed.

Habitat for Humanity of St. Francois County, Inc.

403 W Columbia Street, Farmington

Contact: Linda Dickerson 573-760-1702 or habitatofsfc@live.com

Habitat for Humanity builds affordable homes for families in St. Francois County. The families repay Habitat at no interest on the loans. Volunteers constantly are needed to work on houses, help with fundraising and many other services.

All that is needed is a willingness to work with Habitat and low income families. Safety training is provided. Volunteers may work as often as they like on Saturdays.

HospiceCare Inc.

P.O. Box 1000, Park Hills

Contact: Susan Swink or Tammy Bracken 573/431-0162

The nonprofit agency provides end-of-life care and grief support services to terminally ill people and their families. Volunteers are needed to visit with hospice patients in private homes and nursing homes. Volunteers also help with clerical projects. In addition to passing a background check, volunteers must understand and support the hospice philosophy. A caring attitude, a committed spirit and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others is required as well.

Training is provided and is ongoing. Volunteers are asked to visit their patients at least once every two weeks. Schedules are flexible and volunteers choose the extent of involvement.

Hospitals

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Mineral Area Regional Health Center

1212 Weber Rd, Farmington

Contact: Regina Stearns 756-4581

Parkland Health Center

1101 West Liberty, Farmington

Contact: Tina Tharp 756-6451

Hospitals often need volunteers to work at the front desk, in the gift shop, to escort visitors, work with patients and other responsibilities. In most cases, volunteers must be at least 14 years old and meet employee health service requirements. To sign up, fill out an application form and agree to reference and background checks. Volunteers are needed for a variety of hours.

SEMO Family Violence Council

Contact: Sandy Tripp 573-358-3913

The agency provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic and sexual violence as well as community education to five counties and prevention education to area high schools. Volunteers fill out an application and have a background check before being interviewed. They can receive training to do the same job as staff members, or can create their own programs, such as cooking classes, budgeting, Bible study, reading with children or homework helpers. Volunteers also are needed to help with the hospital advocacy program with victims of sexual assault.

Each volunteer decides what hours he or she will work. Volunteer hours also help the Council because they may be used as cash for grant matches.

Senior Centers

Park Hills

224 West Main St.

Contact: Holly 573-431-4974

Bismarck

922 Center Street

Contact: Betty Jellinek, 573-734-2429

Bonne Terre

420 North Long

Contact: Kimberly or Ginny at 573-358-3726

Farmington

607 Wallace Road

Contact: Mona Yates 573-756-1376

Senior centers provide meals on site Monday through Friday and deliver meals on wheels to senior citizens who are homebound. The centers typically have activities for senior citizens and are open in the morning to the early afternoon. Contact individual centers for specific hours. Drivers must be licensed and have insurance on their vehicles. Background check could be required. Training is available.

Routes usually are an hour of less. On-site duties vary in length. Help with fundraising also is needed. Volunteers decide how many hours and days to work.

Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center

1010 West Columbia Street, Farmington.

Contact: Judith Taylor at 218-61530 or Judith.Taylor@dmh.mo.gov

Volunteers are assigned to their areas of interest at the hospital for people with mental illness. Areas for volunteers include adult literacy/GED program, gift shop, clerical office, psychology department special projects and services and recreation. Client visitors, chaplains and courtyard monitors also are needed. Additional on-the-job training will be provided by the direct supervisor as required.

Volunteers must be 18 years and older. Hours are from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. daily. Additional information about volunteering is available at http://www.dmh.missouri.gov/southeast/volunteer.htm.

Helping Hands of SMMHC ( Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center)

Contact Janine Semar (218-7047) or janine.semar@dmh.mo.gov

Volunteers are welcome to help with the mental health center’s hospital auxiliary, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that advocates for the mentally disabled through community education and active solicitation of goods, services and donations that cannot be provided by the mental health facility due to law or limitation of funds.

St. Francois Society shelter for stray dogs and cats

Farmington

Contact: Diana Blackwell 573-358-0808.

The St. Francois Society serves as an animal pound and stray rescue service for dogs, cats, puppies and kittens. Volunteers are needed for fundraising and adoption events, creation of cage cards and fundraising appeals, and to sew bandanas and aprons for dogs to advertise availability for adoption. Training is provided as needed. Volunteers have the ability to commit to the projects they agree to do and the passion to complete them.

Volunteers in Corrections

Farmington Correctional Center

1012 West Columbia Street, Farmington

Contact: Jacquie Hand-Dennis 573-218-7100

Eastern Reception, Diagnostic and Correctional Center

2727 Highway K, Bonne Terre

Contact: Maggie Sparks 573-358-5516

Potosi Correctional Center

11593 State Highway O, Mineral Point

Contact: Steve Gifford 573-438-6000

Each correctional center determines the need for volunteers at that facility. Some of the typical volunteer opportunities include teaching classes, facilitating rehabilitative programs and providing religious/spiritual services. Potential volunteers can fill out an application and learn about volunteering in prisons at the Web site http://www.doc.mo.gov/division/hservice/vol_int.htm.

Volunteers complete an extensive training regimen before assignment and are supervised under state and departmental personnel rules and regulations. They work directly with incarcerated offenders or offenders in the community who are under the supervision of correctional staff. Contact the prison at which you would like to help to discuss available areas and times for volunteering.

University of Missouri Extension’s 4-H L.I.F.E. program

Potosi Correctional Center

Contact: Lynna Lawson 636-797-5053

The 4-H L.I.F.E. family strengthening program teaches incarcerated parents skills to help them become positive role models to their children to help the children avoid the offender’s poor choices. Once a month, the whole family meets for a traditional 4-H club meeting in the prison visiting room, where the offenders serve as club leaders and work with their families. Volunteers may help with activities, provide transportation for family members, supervise business meetings and otherwise help the 4-H staff that work in the program.

At Potosi Correctional Center, parenting meetings take place from 7-9 p.m. on the second Wednesday of every month, the business meeting is from 7-9 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of every month, and the family 4-H club is held from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. the fourth Saturday of each month.

Volunteers may receive free training to be a “Building Strong Families” facilitator and must be willing to attend Volunteer in Corrections training provided at no cost by the Department of Corrections.

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