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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 19, 2000
    Location
    Crown Point, IN
    Posts
    3,745

    Default Do you volunteer?

    and if so, what do you do? If you dont, do you want to? If you did, what would you do.

    A year ago this month I became a CASA, a "Court Appointed Special Advocate" for children in our county that are deemed by the court to be in need of services. I represent what is in the CHILD'S best interest and make reccommendations based on interviews and investigations of everyone involved in the child's life in any way.

    Admittedly, I have a tough (or hard, however you want to think of it) personality. For this reason, they give me crack babies that they know will die before they ever leave the hospital and some of the really, really tough things that most people like to pretend arent out there.

    I've seen some really, really shocking, terrible things in this past year.. I never imagined some of the things people will do to children. It certainly made me take a long look at my life and appreciate every single second of it.

    It can be a lot of work- between visits to children, visits with Family Services, interviews with therapists, doctors, visits to jails, endless phone calls from parents, court appearances, continued education and training, it can sometimes be almost more than I can handle.

    But it has completely changed my life.. I've never been so glad to have chosen to do something. I do not have time for this- I work more than full time most weeks and have young children (2 and 4) of my own. I cant imagine giving it up though and I hope I'll be able to continue as long as I can gather my crippledy old butt can drive around. I change people's lives every week with what I do. Its the best job I've ever had and I dont even get paid for it!

    I guess this is part educational- I'd never even heard of the CASA program until a little over a year ago. So if you volunteer for something awesome, spread the word here and help get other people involved.

    You can find more information on the CASA program (and its exsistence in your area) by going to the website.. www.casaforchildren.org
    Last edited by RumoursFollow; Dec. 25, 2009 at 01:11 AM.
    Teneriffe Enterprises- NW Indiana
    www.saradanielhaynes.com



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 23, 2006
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    3,585

    Default

    Wow, RF, thanks for doing that. It must be intense.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 12, 2005
    Location
    dur-Ham, NC
    Posts
    492

    Default

    RF, that is amazing.

    I volunteer as a domestic violence advocate at my local agency. I do both in-house and overnight shifts. During the day, I answer the crisis line and handle walk-ins and certain scheduled appointments (such as safety planning meetings and DVPO explanations). Overnight, I carry the crisis line cell phone and answer any calls that come into the hotline when the office is closed. I always seem to get the suicidal clients who need someone to talk to at 3 am.

    It's intense and exhausting, but I love it. I got out of an abusive relationship last year and felt a strong need to help out other women who are going through this. I also recently graduated from nursing school and it's been incredibly valuable to have additional chances to learn how to work with people in crisie.
    Have YOU ever looked into the eyes of a rich white child who has just lost a jumping competition?




  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 22, 2000
    Location
    passepartout
    Posts
    10,008

    Default

    I volunteer at free spay/neuter clinics as well as at free human medical clinics. I'm a licensed EMT so for the human stuff, I get to triage patients.

    The group I volunteer with is Remote Area Medical. It's a terrific organization.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2005
    Location
    Clarksville, TN
    Posts
    522

    Default

    I volunteer at two vet clinics in my area. One cater to small and large animals while the other is geared to exotics.

    I also volunteer/intern for a Wildlife Rehabilitation center. We have almost any kind of native TN wildlife you could think of. Right now we have a young bobcat who's mother was illegally shot a couple months ago, a baby beaver who was orphaned, numerous squirrels that we bottle raised from fallen or abandoned nests, hawks who have been shot, and just a plethora of things in general. Working so closely with wildlife is very rewarding although stressful. While many of our animals are there due to accidents, it really opens your eyes to what people will intentionally do to animals including people rasping down raccoon teeth so they can use them to train their coon hounds to hunt.



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2006
    Location
    Berryville, VA
    Posts
    2,816

    Default

    DH and I are both volunteer Fire Fighter/Medics. He got me through Fire School, I got him through the Medic program. I run the EMS side of our station, which keeps me rather busy.
    Boarding for Show, Pleasure, and Retirement horses. www.LockeMeadows.com



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2002
    Location
    it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
    Posts
    12,079

    Default

    I started as a cop by being a volunteer Reserve. I do get paid for it now though. <phew> I still volunteer for Critical Incident Stress Debriefing as needed.

    I am a Special Olympics certified coach, and finally this year will have a horse again suitable for SO lessons and the goal of being an "Olympic Prospect."

    I use the horses with children of families in the homeless shelter system & special adults, and in the spring am starting up a Wounded Warriors program.

    I can't imagine not doing some type of public service, even though two of my jobs are public safety.

    I wish I had time for the training, (it's in the evenings, I work eves/overnights) I have a *huge* desire on my heart to become involved in Hospice.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug. 30, 2000
    Location
    Greensboro, NC
    Posts
    1,782

    Default

    Absolutely-always have, always will. I used to volunteer with a few different organizations, but I'm currently chairing the board of directors for a therapeutic riding program. Because we're transitioning from a part-time to a full-time, year round program, plus buying a farm, it doesn't really leave me time for anything else, but I love it. I can't imagine not volunteering somewhere, I'm just too fortunate to not give back to others.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun. 27, 2006
    Posts
    296

    Default

    Wow - you guys are the best!! I've always thought that when you give your time freely you are doing the best the service can offer because you care so deeply.

    I am a 24 year EMT volunteer with our cities Rescue Squad. I've seen a lot in that time...some have almost pushed me to the edge, but with the bad comes the good and it has a way of balancing things.

    For those who have taken the tough jobs - God Bless and keep you in his care.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar. 26, 2005
    Location
    Back to Normal.. or as close as I'll ever get
    Posts
    9,189

    Default

    I volunteer weekly at a pantry program for HIV+ clients & have since 1996.
    At first people were dying with great regularity, but since the introduction of improved anti-viral drugs there are more longtermers.
    AIDS has become more of a chronic condition (like diabetes) than a death sentence.
    Still, with drug companies keeping the cost of treatment so high, providing a week's worth of groceries is a necessity for our clients.

    My co-vols have become like family - probably 50% of my wedding guests were from the pantry.
    And my Christmas tradition for the past 8 years has been to attend the open house potluck dinner given by one of my fellow volunteers.
    *friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon:
    Steppin' Out 1988-2004
    Hey Vern! 1982-2009
    Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan. 16, 2003
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    2,925

    Default

    At work, we have many volunteer opportunities available to employees. They are not on-going, but rather specific events becuse we all have day jobs. Some examples are shed building for Habitat for Humanity houses, Adopt-A-Highway litter pickup every few months and United Way Day of Caring where volunteer visit local agencies and clean, fix, paint, etc. One of the projects I work on every year is the Doughboy Challenge 5K race. We get sponsors, runners and prizes, run the race and the proceeds go to three local charities. It's hard work, but a lot of fun. [url]www.doughboychallenge.com for pictures and more info.
    Last edited by pony4me; Dec. 25, 2009 at 09:51 AM. Reason: fixed link



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Mar. 11, 1999
    Location
    Clayton, CA USA
    Posts
    4,916

    Default

    I volunteer for a small animal rescue. I primarily foster the very young kittens, who have been orphaned/abandoned/or are otherwise compromised. It is often heartbreaking, but when the kittens make it, it is very rewarding. I am now on the board of directors for this organization, and usually spend part of every weekend at an adoption event. What started out as something I thought would be fun has turned into the equivalent of a full time job, and something I care very deeply about. It is often very hard to realize what people are capable of, but at the same time, I have found wonderful, caring homes for the kittens once they are old enough for adoption.
    Mystic Owl Sporthorses
    www.mysticowlsporthorses.com



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jun. 24, 2005
    Location
    Lorena, Texas
    Posts
    4,114

    Default

    I have found it HARD to volunteer in our area (Waco). I obviously work with the rescue - but I'm an employee. I give FAR more time than I'm paid for, so maybe I'm a cross-over (employee and volunteer). But I wanted to find something else to volunteer with... and I've run into brick walls. I sent in an application to the zoo and thought I would at least hear SOMETHING (I sent a copy of my CV, too, with research experience with large cats and elephants). Not a word. I emailed a dog/cat rescue and it took several emails before I got a response and then it was curt and not helpful. I've looked for other opportunities.

    I am somewhat limited since I can't drive - I need a regular volunteer shift so my husband can drop me off and pick me up. But really, I am amazed at how much trouble I'm having finding a place to volunteer!
    Visit us at Bluebonnet Equine Humane Society - www.bluebonnetequine.org

    Want to get involved in rescue or start your own? Check out How to Start a Horse Rescue - www.howtostartarescue.com



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct. 21, 1999
    Location
    Rochester, NY
    Posts
    12,212

    Default

    Well, obviously since I blather enough about it here, I volunteer for FLTAP.

    I want to do some kind of wildlife rehab volunteer work, also. There used to be a place attached to a vet's office near here a few years ago. I'll have to check and see if that is still running. Then, after I gain some knowledge, I'd like to do a little on my own.

    I really ought to do something for people, also. I'll think of something, but, it's a lot easier to think of things to do for animals.
    Originally Posted by Alagirl
    We just love to shame poor people...when in reality, we are all just peasants.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jun. 9, 2008
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    91

    Default

    I don't do anything as awesome as you all, but I do volunteer a bit.

    I usually help out at American Cancer Society's relay for life (this year I helped run the registration table) and some fundraisers for that. A simple thing to do, but I feel like I'm helping others. I love the families I've met there.

    I also volunteer at a therapeutic riding center, which has been an amazingly rewarding experience. I do barn work, horse leading or sidewalking, and any odd job that needs doing. The kids I have the privilege of being around are fantastic. I've met some wonderful folks there as well.

    Now I'm hoping to volunteer with USERL before I leave for school next fall. I've always wanted to get involved in animal rescue and can't wait to get started.
    Professional COTH lurker.
    Horses serve as a balm for the disquieted soul, and somehow allow even the most lost to feel at home in their presence ♥



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2005
    Location
    With a dog named Rockstar
    Posts
    2,988

    Default

    Wow, you guys rock!!!!!

    I volunteer at a feral cat TNR spay/neueter clinics.

    Of course, horse rescue I go to another rescue locally and usually they give me the nutty horse to evaluate that no one else wants to

    We just did a program with a snowboard outreach program: sosoutreach.org.
    It was great to help the kids, but I don't know if it is the right fit for us. Usually, I work with local kids where I live, without being part of an "organization". This helps me give directly to the kid and build a relationship with them. One of the kids I worked with at school plans on coming to visit for the entire summer (and maybe stay here for the school year, too), which is going to be awesome. He's from a developing country and this is the sort of expereince most of the kids there rarily have. I'm not rich- so I can't do a lot, but every little bit helps.

    My friend and I plan on doing the spay/neueter clinics in other countries routinely as DVM's. We were just talking about our eventual trip to Katmandu



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Dec. 4, 2002
    Location
    Dungeon of the Ivory Tower
    Posts
    20,394

    Default

    Besides Special Horses Inc.?

    The rest is small potatoes, and more one on one. I'm a speaker for Science (when called, go visit local elementary schools and talk about DNA or similar), I work with a summer research program for high school students, and I am a free tutor for any of the undergrads in my lab.
    www.specialhorses.org
    a 501(c)3 organization helping 501(c)3 equine rescues




  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 3, 2002
    Location
    it's not the edge of the earth, but you can see it from here
    Posts
    12,079

    Default

    Hay--DDB--any time you need to chat... my email's in my profile. (that's what *I* do.) Don't let it push you over the edge. We NEED you to stay on
    this side.

    Louise, 'tis OK if you don't do humans. Sometimes they're hard to work with.

    Bethechange--do NOT underestimate! We each have our own unique thing to give. The Walk for Life stuff is HUGE! I couldn't do it!

    There's no one thing that is 'more worthy.' And honestly, I believe, in the end, it's about what mark we might leave on this earth. I really don't think we'll ever know how far the ripples on the pond reach(ed) until we get to the next life.
    InnisFailte Pinto Sporthorses & Coloured Cobs
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Bits are like cats, what's one more? (Petstorejunkie)



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Mar. 2, 2007
    Location
    Upper and Lower Canada
    Posts
    2,849

    Default

    I do bird conservation related stuff. I used to do a lot more but, with two horses, have cut it down to serving on one board, teaching the occasional ID course and doing various citizen science projects. I'd like to do something horse related as well in the future.



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Oct. 1, 2003
    Location
    Nonsuch House
    Posts
    3,507

    Default

    My husband and I have volunteered in every place we lived.

    We delivered Christmas dinners to widows of veterans in SC and I became a lifetime Ladies auxilliary member of DAV

    I was involved with a Dharma center in SC

    My husband was a volunteer EMT in NY

    I'm now doing volunteer work for the local animal shelter and my husband flys with the Virginia Defense Force (a non paid militia that does search and rescue, replaces the National Guard in times of deployment etc.)

    We like doing it and it helps in a small way
    RIP Kelly 1977-2007 "Wither thou goest, so shall I"

    "To tilt when you should withdraw is Knightly too."



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