If you are looking to add connection and meaning to your life, volunteering may be just the way to get started. Volunteering builds social capital and has been shown to lower stress and boost self-confidence. More and more agencies are relying on volunteers to support their programs and teams. Know that volunteer drivers are ALWAYS needed to give people rides and deliver Meals on Wheels -- in addition to those opportunities, here are some unique things you may not have thought of for getting involved:
Audio Information Network (AIN)
Phone: 877-443-2001 or 303-786-7777
Do you like to read? Ever picture yourself on the radio? Audio Information Network of Colorado provides listeners who are blind, visually-impaired or print-disabled with recorded programming so they can stay current on information found in newspapers, magazines and local event calendars. As a volunteer, you will be recorded reading content which is then played online and over the radio to over 1,500 listeners.
AIN can set-up a way for you to record in your own home or you can use AIN’s recording studios in Boulder. Volunteers read from the same newspaper or magazine each week. Kat Bradbury, Director of Volunteer Services, is rad and matches volunteers with topics they are interested in.
What makes volunteering here unique? Volunteer from home and practice your radio voice. Make a difference through the airwaves!
If you live in Douglas County and want to help seniors in your community, Neighbor Network is for you. Neighbor Network uses volunteers to help older adults remain healthy and living independently in their own homes.
Neighbor Network has a huge variety of things you can do to help older adults: changing light bulbs, making cookies, checking in on someone returning home from surgery, or giving someone a ride to the doctor to name a few. Staff is trained to help make the most of your talents and interests.
What makes volunteering here unique? Variety! Unique to Douglas County.
The Center is home to SAGE of the Rockies, a program offering activities and events for those 50+ and LGBTQ. SAGE offers social, educational and support programs in their beautiful building off Colfax, close to Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Programs are small to promote a big impact in the way they provide connection and meeting to both participants and volunteers.
The Center offers one of the only Friendly Visitor programs in the Denver metro area. Volunteers visit LGBTQ elders in skilled nursing facilities and assisted livings. You can also volunteer from home with their Phone-a-Friend program providing weekly calls to elders. Currently, the Center is often seeking enthusiastic foodies, chefs and nutrition buffs to assist with their Cooking & Nutrition Classes.
What makes volunteering here unique? LGBTQ-friendly; opportunities to volunteer from home; foodies wanted!
The State Health Insurance & Assistance Program (SHIP)
Do you enjoy advocacy, fast-paced work, details and organization? The SHIP program at the Denver Regional Council of Governments provides Medicare beneficiaries with objective information, counseling, and enrollment assistance. Volunteers work alongside staff to assist people over the phone in obtaining Medicare coverage.
What makes volunteering here unique? Go through training to become SHIP-certified; impress your friends with your know-how on how to navigate Medicare.
Does your interest in volunteering stem from your church community? Volunteers in Action connects faith-based individuals and groups with projects supporting older adults and adults with disabilities in the southeast Denver metro area. Some of the projects volunteers take on include home repair, grocery shopping, companionship and transportation help.
What makes volunteering here unique? Faith-based; one-time service projects as well as ongoing volunteer opportunities.
Boomers Leading Change is a sort-of volunteer incubator. Volunteers who are 50+ receive training and then are connected to service opportunities through their Volunteer Program, the AmeriCorps Encore Program, Boomers Advocacy Academy or the Connect for Health Colorado Guides program. Boomers Leading Change works with over forty local organizations that serve as host sites for volunteers.
What makes volunteering here unique? Training on how to be a volunteer; special emphasis on finding a place that’s the right fit.
Want to meet more people in your neighborhood? A Little Help works with neighborhoods in Denver and Jefferson counties to connect volunteers with older adults needing assistance. After you receive training from the A Little Help coordinators, you can answer requests for help in your neighborhood. Requests may include check-in calls, yard or household help, snow removal, transportation, caregiver respite or educational/socialization activities.
What makes volunteering here unique? Volunteer in your own neighborhood! Denver, Jefferson, Delta and Chaffee counties.
Most people don’t realize that hospices are mandated to have volunteer programs to support their patients. Hospice patients may be in their own homes or in skilled nursing or assisted living communities. While many people think of hospice as only being the last few days of a person’s life, people can actually be admitted to hospice when a doctor says that, based on their diagnosis, they have 6-months or less to live and the patient decides to no long pursue medical treatment for that diagnosis. That said, hospice patients are often more alert and interested in visiting than a lot of people expect. Volunteers visit with the patient so families supporting the patient can take a break – called “respite”.
Volunteers go through an orientation to understand the scope of their duties as well as how to be supportive to individuals and families. You may also get to interact with an interdisciplinary hospice team made up of a nurse, chaplain, social worker and CNA. Use Google to find hospices near you or contact Western Care Partners for suggestions.
What makes volunteering with hospice unique? Be highly-valued; learn about the process of death and dying which no one talks about but everyone wants to know about; work with an interdisciplinary team.