Make a Difference: Best Local Volunteer Opportunities- Dean - WI

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Published on November 24, 2015

Make a Difference: Best Local Volunteer Opportunities 

No matter your interest, there’s a way to give back to the community. Start off the season of giving with these local volunteer opportunities, perfect for the whole family.

  1. Food: Help feed the hungry by volunteering at a local food pantry. Second Harvest Foodbank and the River Food Pantry both have opportunities available for individuals and groups over the age of 12. There are dozens of other ways to get involved by checking out the individual pages for the organizations in the Dane County Food Pantry Network. Another way to give back is hosting a food drive at your kid’s school. Make it fun by encouraging classes to compete for prizes to see who can bring in the most nonperishable food items. 

  2. People: If you’re a people person, look for ways to get involved with youth organizations in the area. Big Brother Big Sisters is continually looking for mentors for the kids of our community and giving your time to a child can have a tremendous impact through youth development, healthy choices and social responsibility. Connect with a school in your neighborhood through the Madison Metropolitan School District Adopt a School program and support the educational needs of the students in your area. Or work with people through organizations like the Catholic Multicultural Center or the Community Action Coalition – both with a variety of programs that could use volunteers or resources, including food and clothing donations, community gardens, meal programs, homework club and countless other efforts.

  3. Nature: With the busy holidays approaching, you might not find a chance to volunteer until springtime, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn about outdoor opportunities now. The Aldo Leopold Nature Center offers service learning projects like trail building and invasive species eradication to help conserve the environment. The City of Madison Parks Department and the Lakeshore Nature Preserve have similar outdoor volunteer programs to help maintain local parks and nature areas. If you and the family want to get involved doing your part for nature now, Olbrich Botanical Gardens has year-round opportunities, like working in their conservatory, gift shop or library.

  4. Animals: Volunteering with furry little creatures is both fun and rewarding. The Dane County Humane Society has various positions available depending on age and level of time to commit. Kids as young as 8 can help out as classroom animal assistants, critter cuddlers and event volunteers. Teens can volunteer while boosting their resumes as assistants in the donations or education departments. One of the Humane Society’s greatest needs, and an easy way for the whole family to get involved, is companion foster homes. Families care for cats in their own homes until a permanent family is found to give them a forever home. Other volunteer opportunities with animals can be found at the Henry Vilas Zoo or Angel’s Wish.

Where do you enjoy volunteering in Dane County? Share in the comments below!

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