What began as National Volunteer Week in 1974 has grown into a social movement and celebration that now spans the entire month of April. The Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) is partnering with FWD>DFW and VOMO for National Volunteer Month to promote volunteer service opportunities available locally. The goal is to mobilize volunteers throughout the region to sign up and give back to the greater North Texas community.
“National Volunteer Month elevates organizations working to strengthen communities, shines a spotlight on those who volunteer, and encourages members of our global and local community to volunteer their time and talent,” said Nicole Paquette, CFT marketing and communications director. “Many nonprofit organizations cannot fulfill their missions without the support of volunteers, whether they be board members, committee members, or volunteers helping to meet their day-to-day operational needs and to the needs of those they serve.”
Paquette believes that volunteering allows people to build thriving communities by donating their time and talent, giving them the opportunity to get involved and support the causes that matter most to them.
Through the new online hub, volunteers can explore projects from more than 150 nonprofit organizations that are organized by date and CFT’s priority areas of health, wealth, life and learning. Volunteers are encouraged to #DoTheGood and volunteer alongside colleagues, friends and/or family members.
“It’s also a way to find fulfillment and joy in helping others. At the Communities Foundation of Texas, we believe that one of the ‘secrets’ of happiness is giving, and that includes giving time and talent,” says Paquette.
The hub is designed to make volunteering easier than ever by featuring hundreds of urgent volunteer needs that can be done solo or in a group.
“North Texas nonprofits are in dire need of volunteers, especially as they work to recover from the era of COVID-19.” said Paquette. “Even giving just an hour or two of someone’s time makes a meaningful difference to our local nonprofits and the community members they serve.”
How you can help
Brother Bill‘s Helping Hand, which provides food, health care and educational programs to people in need in the West Dallas and Oak Cliff communities, is one such nonprofit. On the hub, BBHH is calling for volunteers to help pack and distribute fresh fruits and vegetables, and interact with neighbors who pick them up.
“We also need volunteer help during our regular grocery store hours on Wednesdays and Thursdays, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. each week,” says Courtney Cuthbert, BBHH’s Director of Operations. “[And] we are in the second semester of our after-school program which just started in the fall of 2021. Volunteers are needed Monday through Thursday afternoons from 3-6 p.m. to help our students with homework, crafts, and lessons, and to play every afternoon.
United to Learn is an educational nonprofit with a proven model of engaging community partners to close opportunity gaps between public elementary schools, as well as awareness gaps in North Texas. With a network of partnerships with high schools, faith-based organizations, and businesses, United to Learn aims to accelerate student success, develop purposeful leaders, and create a thriving community.
“There are many ways people can work with United to Learn during National Volunteer Month,” says Carol Pierce Goglia, President of United to Learn. “Whether you volunteer as an individual or as part of a corporate team, community group, or place of worship, United to Learn provides meaningful volunteer opportunities that deliver proven results.”
United to Learn offers key volunteer opportunities in April, many of which can be found on the Volunteer Portal. They also have a variety of needs that can be met remotely.
The organization needs volunteers to share their work experience with elementary students during career days on April 21 and 22. They need volunteers to paint, plant, organize and perform other tasks to revamp the school campus at Rufus C. Burleson Elementary at 6300 Elam Road in Dallas on April 23. And they constantly need tutors for elementary students.
In downtown Dallas, The Stewpot, a ministry of First Presbyterian Church Dallas, is also seeking help. The nonprofit organization provides a safe haven for homeless and at-risk people in Dallas, providing resources for basic survival needs, as well as opportunities to start a new life.
“Volunteering is important all year round as it helps us better serve our neighbors in need. Without the help of volunteers, we couldn’t provide resources to our clients as effectively,” says Adrienne Nicholson, Manager of Stewpot’s Volunteer Services. “Our meal service program, for example, serves three meals a day every day of the year, and we need volunteers at each meal.”
Of course, this is just a sampling of nonprofits looking for help. There are over 100 other organizations with opportunities listed on the online hub, making it easy to find something that matches your schedule, skills, and passions. And if you ask Paquette, there’s no better time than now to start.
“We encourage everyone to get involved during National Volunteer Month by committing at least one day to give back,” says Paquette.
Doing good doesn’t stop in April. Find year-round volunteer opportunities on FWD > DFW’s Volunteer Hub at fwddfw.vomo.org and save the date for North Texas Giving Day, the nation’s largest one-day online fundraising event, on September 22, 2022. In 2021, donors in our communities gave $66 million, benefiting over 3,300 North Texas nonprofits that have registered with North Texas Giving Day.