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Heed the Call: Volunteer Opportunities For All

Boise Weekly's annual Volunteer Guide

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Brothers and sisters, it's time you started listening to the good word. Not a word from on high. No, the word from deep inside your very being. You know which one we're talking about: That nagging feeling it's about damned time you left your selfish ways behind and started giving back to others.

Rejoice, brothers and sisters, Boise Weekly is here to help you find your socially conscious salvation. And being the charitable souls that we are, we've even done the hard work for you.

Here in BW's annual Volunteer Guide, you'll find a list of Treasure Valley organizations that routinely work with volunteers to accomplish their missions. From nonprofits that bring the arts to children, to groups that help refugees get their bearings when they come to this country, to crews that help keep the environment clean, there's something to fit every interest, ability and time limitation.

This is by no means a complete list of organizations that need a little extra help, but we're hoping it helps readers see the light and find true inspiration. For even more volunteer opportunities, visit BW's new Volunteer page at boiseweekly.com, where you can find information on volunteer projects throughout the year. If you represent an organization that needs volunteer help, the Volunteer page will also be a resource you can use to rally the troops.


Agency for New Americans

New arrivals in the United States need a little help getting settled, and that's where the Agency for New Americans comes in. The nonprofit works to support refugees as they transition, and it takes a lot of volunteers to pull it off.

Volunteers are needed to help with job coaching, English language classes, working with families, mentoring refugees on the culture and daily life, as well as doing office work and fundraising. Anyone interested can start by filling out a volunteer application available online and attending an orientation. There is additional training for some positions.

Contact: Yasmin Aguilar,yaguilar@mtnstatesgroup.org

Website: anaidaho.org

Phone: 208-338-0033, Ext. 269


A.L.P.H.A.

Allies Linked for the Prevention of HIV and AIDS is a driving force behind education about HIV and AIDS--as well other sexually transmitted diseases--in the Treasure Valley. But volunteers are needed to do a little bit of everything and anything, from office work to staffing outreach events.

Volunteers are also needed at Exposure A.L.P.H.A. Interchange, the nonprofit's retail thrift store. New volunteer orientation is held every other Thursday.

Contact: Scott Weisenberger,scott.weisenberger@alphaidaho.org

Website: alphaidaho.org

Phone: 208-424-7799


Boise Art Museum

It's a tough job bringing beauty to the world--seriously, it takes a whole lot of work and a small army of volunteers to keep the doors of Boise Art Museum open and to bring an array of art and programs to the public.

Volunteers greet patrons, take admissions, work the museum store and provide information. They also work in the administrative office and help with programs.

If you're more interested in a concentrated effort, the museum's largest fundraiser of the year, Art in the Park, requires hundreds of volunteers to help with every aspect from setting up to final accounting. Check BAM's website and request a volunteer application for all positions.

Contact: Visitors' Services, Shauna, Ext. 34, shauna@boiseartmuseum.org; Office, Hana, Ext. 10, hana@boiseartmuseum.org; Education, Drew, Ext. 36, drew@boiseartmuseum.org; Art in the Park, Mary Corrock, Ext. 14, marycorrock@boiseartmuseum.org

Website: boiseartmuseum.org

Phone: 208-345-8330


Boise Bicycle Project

In the few short years of its existence, Boise Bicycle Project has become one of the most beloved nonprofit organizations in the Treasure Valley. Whether the crew is helping fix up old bikes to be donated to area children and those in need or running a bicycle safety program for kids, BBP is one busy group of people.

It's also a community-driven group that depends on volunteers.

BBP volunteers help fix up donated bikes, teach others how to care for their own bikes, lead kids' bike-safety programs, help out during community bike drives and represent the organization at numerous events throughout the year. Volunteers just need to have a love of bikes and, more importantly, the community.

Contact: Jimmy Hallyburton,boisebicycleproject@gmail.com

Website: boisebicycleproject.org

Phone: 208-429-6520


Boise River Volunteers

Boise has a lot of things going for it, but the members of Boise River Volunteers help make sure that the thing going through Boise is as clean as possible. BRV is the group dedicated to making sure the beloved Boise River stays nice and clean throughout the busy summer floating season.

The group conducts weekly cleanup floats to pick up any trash left in or near the river. Volunteers have even been known to rescue a forlorn boater or two.

Anyone interested in joining can contact the group via its website and click on the contact link.

Contact: Chris Crawford

Website: riverhelpers.com


Boise Watershed

We'll admit it, "waste water treatment" doesn't usually make people want to jump in and help, but Boise's WaterShed isn't your typical waste water treatment facility. While yes, the city's waste water treatment facility is on site, WaterShed focuses on public education, where people can go to learn more about conservation or join in one of the many educational events.

Teens can join the Green Teen Program, giving them the chance to spend a summer doing indoor and outdoor conservation projects. Adult and college-aged volunteers are also needed to help with the numerous group field trips that take advantage of the interactive programs at WaterShed.

Contact: Cindy Busche,boisewatershed@cityofboise.org

Website: boiseenvironmentaleducation.org

Phone: 208-608-7300


Boys and Girls Club

It's all about the kids at the three Boys and Girls clubs in Ada County--as it should be. The clubs offer a positive and fun place where kids of all ages can hang out, participate in activities, play sports or games, or do their homework.

Adult volunteers are always needed to help the nonprofit by working directly with the kids and helping staff members. Volunteers help lead field trips, assist with lunch and snack times, and give a little one-on-one time to club members who need some attention. Volunteers are also particularly needed to work as tutors for club members or to help them with their homework.

Volunteer orientation is held every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at the Garden City location, but contact each club to find out its specific needs and schedule. Volunteers can get an application form on the website.

Contact: Tim Whipple or Camilyn Elison, moseleyv@adaclubs.org

Website: mybgclub.org

Phone: Volunteer coordinator, 208-639-3170; Garden City club, 208-321-9157; Meridian club, 208-888-5392.


Capital City Public Market

Most Boiseans know the market by a much simpler name: the Saturday Market. This popular farmers market is where you'll spot nearly all of the city every weekend throughout the summer and fall, when the streets are closed down and pedestrians and veggies rule.

But a successful market needs some volunteer help to stay that way. Volunteers are needed to do everything from manning the information and veggie valet booth to helping to process EBT and credit card transactions. Time commitments and skills required vary, but check out the website for more info.

Contact: friendatthemarket@gmail.com

Website: seeyouatthemarket.com


Children's Home Society of Idaho

The Children's Home started off as an orphanage, but in the last few decades, its mission has been to provide counseling and therapy for children who have been through some serious challenges. No child in need is ever turned away from getting help regardless of his or her family's ability to pay.

The nonprofit works with groups of volunteers on specific projects. This year, Children's Home Society is looking for a few groups willing to help with events, do a good spring cleanup of the society's grounds and even help paint inside.

Contact: Joanne Taylor,jtaylor@childrenshomesociety.com

Website: childrenshomesociety.com

Phone: 208-343-7813, Ext. 1510


City of Boise Parks and Recreation

In the days of shrinking budgets, public parks need a little extra help from the public. The Department of Parks and Recreation already depends on the more than 60,000 hours of volunteer labor donated by city residents, labor that fills the work load of 26 full-time employees.

If you're interested in getting your hands dirty, Parks and Rec is all about physical labor with projects that range from weeding and painting to building picnic tables and planting trees. There are also a couple of big community projects each year, including cleanup days along the Boise River and in the Foothills, as well as the Rake Our Parks event in the fall.

Volunteers are always needed to help with youth programs at the city's neighborhood centers, as well as with the Adventure Program, which helps disabled residents get involved in outdoor recreation.

Check the website for specific volunteer opportunities.

Contact: Jerry Pugh, jpugh@cityofboise.org

Website: cityofboise.org/Departments/Parks

Phone: 208-608-7617


Community Cakes

You know that warm fuzzy feeling you get when your friends and family give you a birthday cake to celebrate the day you arrived on Earth? Well, imagine giving that feeling to patients in area hospices and elder-care facilities and local foster children.

Community Cakes (formerly known as Angel Cakes) is a group of volunteer bakers who make birthday cakes for those who might not get one otherwise, as well as supporting events like National Adoption Day, Valentines for Vets, and baking monthly at the Boise Ronald McDonald House.

Volunteers are asked to bake and deliver one cake per month. Anyone interested in joining the baking army can fill out a volunteer application online. After submitting the application, a recruitment officer will call to set up a time for a home visit and orientation.

Website: communitycakes.com


The Community Center

The Community Center is Idaho's only facility that focuses on LGBT issues, and volunteers are needed to help staff the center, maintain the database and assist with various office duties.

Contact: Rick Ramos, info@tccidaho.org

Website: tccidaho.org

Phone: 208-336-3870


Create Common Good

From growing food to getting a job, Create Common Good helps refugees get on their feet once those feet hit Boise. The nonprofit offers job skills classes and training that is vocationally focused, including culinary training, classes on filling out applications and interviewing, as well as opportunities to work on a small local farm growing vegetables that are sold to support the organization.

Volunteers are needed to help with one-on-one tutoring, as well as working in the classroom, manning the group's farm stand and working on the farm.

Contact: Megan John,megan@createcommongood.org

Website: createcommongood.org

Phone: 208-991-3799


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