As the New Year approaches, Texans across the state will make new resolutions for personal wellness or personal improvement. According to Inc., last year resolutions reached high percentages in the areas of health and getting gym memberships, saving money or eating better.
What didn’t make the list was something everyone has to give: our time.
In honor of the holiday season and new beginnings for 2020, consider checking out these nonprofits in Texas actively looking for new volunteers.
Aberg Center for Literacy
This very popular literacy center gets 100 volunteers a week. If you’d like to be one of them, their website describes how to sign up and how their program impacts the community, “At Aberg Center for Literacy we rely on a committed group of community and professional volunteers to offer our tuition-free services to our students and their families.”
This Dallas-based organization helps special needs children “by removing barriers to care in order to serve these children through education, health, advocacy and social services.” There are many ways to get involved, including volunteering for various programs throughout the year, donating items from their Wishlist or getting involved with a digital campaign. More information is available at the website here.
SPCA of Texas
Animal lovers looking for ways to give back should know that the SPCA of Texas is looking for volunteers. The Volunteer Recruiting Manager shared with Reform Austin that “Volunteers at the SPCA of Texas give their hearts and time to make every day special for the animals who are waiting for their forever home. We depend on hundreds of volunteers to help in our shelters, clinics, and in our community. We have locations in McKinney and Dallas, with several volunteer opportunities. Volunteers help with adoption counseling, horse training, socializing cats, walking dogs, grooming, office support, and more. We have openings seven days a week, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m., and we accept volunteers ages 10 and older.” Find out more about volunteering on the SPCA website here.
This non-profit bereavement center offers free grief support services to children, families and adults during their grief journey. Volunteers help with programs for all ages and assist in the kitchen as well. To support someone who is grieving, consider becoming a Volunteer Facilitator and run a support group. More information on volunteering can be found on Bo’s Place’s website.
Houston Food Bank
Volunteers are always needed at the Houston Food Bank for food sorting, packaging food and assisting with meal prep. For those looking for family volunteer opportunities, it’s a great way to involve younger helpers. Volunteers are also encouraged to round up co-workers and plan a corporate volunteer and “work side-by-side in the fight against hunger.” The Houston Food Bank shared with Reform Austin, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’ Those are the words of Helen Keller, and they could easily be a motto of the Houston Food Bank,” says Jermaine Harmon, director of Volunteer Services at Houston Food Bank. “Last year, our organization provided access to 104 million nutritious meals in 18 counties in southeast Texas through our 1,500 community partners, but it could not be done without the assistance of volunteers. They are crucial to the fight against hunger and accomplishing our mission to provide food for better lives.” More information on volunteering can be found here.
Project Row Houses
Project Row Houses engages neighbors of Houston’s Historic Third Ward “with artists and enterprises in collective creative action to help materialize sustainable opportunities in marginalized communities.” The 39 structures serve as a base for “enriching initiatives, art programs, and neighborhood development activities.” Eureka Gilkey, Executive Director of Project Row Houses shared with Reform Austin, “Project Row Houses’ volunteers are integral to the success of our organization. We are fortunate to have a group of committed volunteers who continuously provide support for our events and facilities team, childcare for our Young Mothers Residential Program participants, and tutoring for our Third Ward youth and adult learners. We look forward to welcoming more volunteers as we expand our reach and services.” Learn more about volunteering and supporting programs here.
For book lovers, BookSpring has a passion for closing the early literacy gap. Their website states, “We’re big on books, but small on staff.” Their website shares plenty of helpful details on how to get involved with in-office book sorting every day of the work week, and their Twitter page is bursting with volunteer opportunities and updates. Volunteer roles include “sorting books, supporting motivational reading activities including reading aloud to groups of children, delivery driving, and organizational support.” Through 2020, BookSpring’s goals include achieving 2,000 volunteer placements, both groups and individuals.
The Health Alliance for Austin Musicians
If you love the music scene in Austin, consider getting involved with the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians, which provides “access to affordable healthcare for Austin’s low-income self-employed working musicians, with a focus on prevention and wellness. The organization offers year-round volunteer opportunities that include “taking donations at concerts, spreading the word about HAAM, and helping the small but mighty HAAM staff out in a variety of ways.” Learn about their volunteering programs here.
Austin Habitat for Humanity
A nationally known nonprofit, Austin’s Habitat for Humanity is built around “ending the cycle of poverty housing and the deeply held belief that everyone deserves a decent, affordable place to live.” The website stresses, “You don’t have to be part of a group or team to volunteer with Austin Habitat. Each individual volunteer plays an essential role in achieving our mission of building homes, communities and hope.”
Meals on Wheels
This long-serving organization works to “Eliminate hunger, alleviate isolation, and foster independence among seniors, in partnership with volunteers and the community.” Volunteers for Meals on Wheels in San Antonio bring nutritious meals through home-delivery to seniors, deliver pet food on weekends, and “spend quality time over coffee or tea with our more isolated Meals on Wheels recipients” to “keep people mentally, physically and emotionally fit.” Volunteer hours are flexible and kids are welcome participants. Find out more about volunteering and sign up for volunteer orientations here.
Dress for Success San Antonio
Dress for Success was created to “empower women to achieve economic independence by providing a network of support, professional attire and the development tools” and targets “the needs of low-income women by promoting economic security and self-sufficiency to break the chains of generational poverty through job preparation, employment retention and career development programs.” In San Antonio, volunteers serve in a variety of ways, including as personal shoppers to help clients select suits for interviews and jobs, working in the career center, and for meetings and special events. More information on volunteering is available here.
The San Antonio Botanical Garden
For anyone hoping to spend some time outside or get a little closer to natural beauty in San Antonio, no experience is needed to be involved at the San Antonio Botanical Garden. Volunteers can help out once a year or more regularly, and green thumbs aren’t always a necessity. The garden’s website says, “Volunteers play a critical role in helping the Garden grow—and not all work with plants!” More information on volunteering is available here.