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Volunteer Harmony: Boise Weekly's Annual Volunteer Guide

Creating lasting relationships between volunteers and those who need them

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Are you tired of one-way relationships? Of giving and giving and never getting anything back? Tired of wasting your downtime just sitting on the couch? Are you looking for a more meaningful connection?

At Boise Weekly, we believe you can have that kind of deeply rooted relationship that leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. Best of all it's easy--all you have to do is find the right match for you in our annual Volunteer Guide.

Think of us as matchmakers, pairing organizations looking for that special someone--or "someones," in many cases, but we're not judging--with community members who are looking for active relationships in which they can truly give of themselves.

Whether you're the type who goes for an artist or a do-gooder, or you see children in your future, the right volunteer opportunity is waiting for you. Remember, not every potential volunteering match for you is listed here--you may have to be bold and step out on your own--but it's a good starting place to find lasting happiness. You can always visit the Volunteer page at boiseweekly.com if you're looking to expand your relationships throughout the year.

We've given you the tools, the next step is up to you.


Agency for New Americans

When refugees first hit the ground in Boise, a new home and a new culture can be a little overwhelming. But the Agency for New Americans is there to help with the transition.

The nonprofit depends on numerous volunteers to help with job coaching, teaching English, working with refugee families, mentoring new arrivals on local culture and daily life, as well as by helping out with office work and fundraising. Would-be volunteers can start by filling out an application--available online--then attending an orientation and 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 has been the driving force behind education about HIV and AIDS in the Treasure Valley for years, and the organization has a loyal group of volunteers to thank for helping further its mission. Volunteers are always needed to do a little bit of anything and everything, 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


Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southwest Idaho

Sometimes kids need a positive influence in their lives in the form of someone who can serve as a mentor and friend. Big Brothers Big Sisters matches kids with adults willing to give some of their time to make a difference in a child's life.

Volunteers need to be able to meet with their little brother or sister two to four times a month for a full year, and the organization is particularly looking for men to step up and be big brothers. After applying online, would-be volunteers meet organizers for an interview and undergo a background check, including references. Big brothers and sisters need to be at least 16 years old.

Contact: Olivia Sorensen, sorensen@bbbsidaho.org

Website: bbbsidaho.org

Phone: 208-377-2552


Boise Art Museum

As the Boise Art Museum continues to grow, so too does its need for volunteers to support the museum and its mission.

Museum volunteers do everything from taking admissions and greeting patrons to working in the museum store and serving as docents--they're even needed to work in the administrative office and help run BAM's many programs. Of course, the biggest demand for volunteers comes at the annual Art in the Park fundraiser, when hundreds are called upon to help make the event happen.

Anyone interested in donating time can check the BAM website to request an application.

Contact: Visitors' Services, Melissa, Ext. 34, melissa@boiseartmuseum.org; Office, Hana, Ext. 10, hana@boiseartmuseum.org; Education, Kimberly, Ext. 36, kimberly@boiseartmuseum.org; Art in the Park, Mary Corrock, Ext. 14, marycorrock@boiseartmuseum.org

Website: boiseartmuseum.org

Phone: 208-345-8330


Boise Bicycle Project

Boise has a mini love affair with Boise Bicycle Project, continually naming it the best local nonprofit in Best of Boise voting. It's not hard to understand why. BBP fixes donated bikes to be given to area children, refugees and those in need, while running bike safety programs for kids--and it's all done with volunteer effort.

Volunteers fix bikes, teach bike maintenance classes, lead safety programs, run community bike drives and help out at numerous events throughout the year. Regular volunteer orientations are held year-round, but more information on helping out can be found online.

Contact: Jimmy Hallyburton,boisebicycleproject@gmail.com

Website: boisebicycleproject.org

Phone: 208-429-6520


Boise Philharmonic

The musicians of Boise Philharmonic have the music part down, but that doesn't mean the arts nonprofit doesn't still need a little help making sure the show goes on. In fact, the Phil works with volunteers throughout the year, doing assorted office work like sending out mailers, printing projects and assorted administrative tasks. It also needs helpers at its numerous events, lending a hand with setup and cleanup.

Contact: Karen Louise Falk, karenlouisefalk@hotmail.com

Website: boisephilharmonic.org


Boise Rescue Mission

This faith-based organization provides both shelter and counseling to Boise's homeless population, and needs volunteers to help it do its job.

Volunteer duties include serving meals, sorting donations, office work and serving as drivers, mentors, job coaches and tutors. Volunteer opportunities are available throughout the year, so contact the mission for specific information and openings.

Contact: Glenn Compton, glennc@boiserm.org

Website: boiserm.org

Phone: 208-639-3297


Boise River Volunteers

Boise might not be the sought-after high desert city it is were it not for the Boise River running through town; and the river might not be what it is without the Boise River Volunteers.

The group works to clean trash from the river throughout the floating season, as well as come to the aid of many a troubled rafter or tuber. Boise River Volunteers holds weekly cleanup floats down the most popular section of the river throughout the summer floating season.

Anyone interested in joining the cleanup crew can contact the group through its website.

Contact: Chris Crawford

Website: riverhelpers.com


Boise Schools Community Education

Life experience is a grand thing, especially when you can share your knowledge with others. The Boise Schools Community Education program has helped valley residents keep learning for more than 40 years by offering a wide variety of evening classes and lectures at area schools.

The popular program includes a vast array of subjects, including technology, languages, cooking, art, fitness, travel, photography, crafts and more. All classes are taught by volunteers, who come up with the subject of their classes and arrange them around their own schedules.

Visit the website for applications.

Contact: communityed@boiseschools. org

Website: boiselearns.org

Phone: 208-854-4047


Boise WaterShed

It can be hard to imagine a wastewater treatment facility as an educational and enriching experience, but only if you haven't been to Boise WaterShed, where staff and volunteers work to educate the public about the importance of conservation and nature.

Adult volunteers are needed to help run the numerous group field trips for students who come to check out the interactive programs at WaterShed, as well as help during the facility's numerous public events. Teens are invited to join the Green Teen Program, during which they spend an entire summer working on indoor and outdoor conservation programs.

WaterShed staff is also running educational programs at the new Hyatt Wetlands park near the corner of Maple Grove Road and Chinden Boulevard. Volunteers are needed to help with field trips and group tours.

Contact: Cindy Busche,boisewatershed@cityofboise.org

Website: boiseenvironmentaleducation.org

Phone: 208-608-7300


Boys and Girls Club

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

Adult volunteers are needed to help the nonprofit by leading field trips, assisting with lunch and snack times and giving a little one-on-one time to club members. Volunteers are particularly needed to help with homework.

Volunteer orientation takes place every Wednesday at 6 p.m. at both the Garden City and Meridian locations, but contact each club to find out its specific needs. Volunteers can get an application form online.

Contact: theclub@adaclubs.org

Website: adaclubs.org

Phone: Garden City club, 208-639-3170; Meridian club, 208-954-5030.


Capital City Public Market

While the downtown farmers market is in the middle of some big changes this year, it still needs volunteers to help the local food-art-etc. extravaganza running smoothly.

Volunteers are needed for everything from manning the information and veggie valet booth to helping process EBT and credit card transactions. Time commitment and skills required vary, so check out the website for more info.

Contact: friendatthemarket@gmail.com

Website: seeyouatthemarket.com


Children's Home Society of Idaho

The Children's Home is dedicated to providing counseling and therapy for children who have been through some serious challenges. No child is ever turned away, regardless of his or her family's ability to pay.

Volunteers are needed for specific projects throughout the year, including helping at the Race to Robie Creek and with the City Santa program each December. This June, the organization will be the beneficiary of the Tips for Charity program at Alive After Five. Each Wednesday throughout the month, 15-20 volunteers are needed to run the beverage booth at the night concert series. Proceeds will go to the Children's Home Society.

Visit the website for more information, as well as additional volunteer needs throughout the year.

Contact: Joanne Taylor,jtaylor@childrenshomesociety.com

Website: childrenshomesociety.com

Phone: 208-343-7813, Ext. 1510