Heed the Call: Volunteer Opportunities For All 

Boise Weekly's annual Volunteer Guide

Page 2 of 3

Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge

The wildlife refuge along Lake Lowell in Nampa is a haven for migratory birds and other wildlife, but refuge staff need a lot of help keeping it that way. The expansive refuge is dealing with a major invasive species problem, meaning staff needs volunteers willing to go out and get rid of some unwanted plants.

If you're more into the fauna than the flora, Deer Flat holds regular wildlife surveys in which volunteers help keep track of what critters are spending their time at the refuge.

Of course, the refuge also needs help from volunteers doing things like manning the visitors' center and picking up trash.

Anyone interested in volunteering--whether an individual or a group--can start by filling out a volunteer application available online or at the refuge headquarters.

Contact: Kash Anderson,kash_anderson@fws.gov

Website: deerflat@fws.gov

Phone: 208-467-9278, Ext. 24

Eagle Bike Park

The Eagle Bike Park has become a favorite of mountain bikers who like to escape to the trails in the Foothills bordering Eagle. All those trails are the result of a whole lot of volunteer hours spent both creating and maintaining them. And with big plans for the area comes the continuing need for volunteers to put their backs where their wheels are and help with trails. To get on the volunteer list, check out the website.

Contact: Boise Area Mountain Bike Association, bamba.imba@gmail.com

Website: eaglebikepark.org

Exergy Tour

Idaho is about to hit the big time in the world of women's road bike racing. The inaugural Exergy Tour will bring some of the biggest names in cycling to Idaho for a multi-stage race Thursday, May 24-Monday, May 28. But to pull off the event, organizers are going to need some help.

Volunteers are needed to act as course marshals and help with security, media, volunteer check-in, parking and staff assorted events. Topping the sought-after list of positions are the 20 traveling course marshals, so be ready to fight for one of those. Anyone interested in volunteering can sign up online.

Contact: Laura Nichols,volunteer@exergytour.com

Website: exergytour.com

Phone: 208-608-3963

Family Advocates

This nonprofit organization stands firmly in the corner of at-risk families in the Treasure Valley, with a focus on foster children. The organization is particularly in need of people willing to work as court-appointed special advocates. CASA program volunteers represent the interests of foster children in all court cases, trying to ensure that the needs of the children take the forefront.

A legal background is not required but a significant time commitment is: Volunteers must undergo a 12-hour training course, then dedicate at least 10 hours a month to the work, which includes meeting with children, doing background research and making official recommendations to the court.

If your time is more limited, Family Advocates always needs help with basic office duties. The organization is also in need of someone who can serve as a data analyst on Tuesdays, as well as volunteers for two major fund-raising events.

All volunteers must undergo a background check and fingerprinting, which costs $30. Anyone interested in helping out must start by filling out a volunteer application form, available on the website.

Contact: Megan Bates,information@familyadvocate.org

Website: familyadvocate.org

Phone: 208-345-3344

Foothills Learning Center

The Foothills Learning Center is all about celebrating not only the Boise Foothills but the environment as a whole. Families and children are the focus of the center's numerous educational programs and classes held throughout the year, all done with the goal of getting people in touch with the natural world.

Volunteers of all ages are needed to help with the center's programing, doing everything from working on a newsletter, to helping with educational events, teaching programs and even weeding the native plant garden. Log on to the website to download a volunteer application.

Contact: Kristin Lundstrom,klundstrum@cityofboise.org

Website: bee.cityofboise.org/foothills

Phone: 208-493-2535

Giraffe Laugh Early Learning Centers

Giraffe Laugh is a nonprofit that helps provide childcare regardless of a family's ability to pay. The center also works with the Marian Pritchett School, allowing teen mothers to continue their education while their children are cared for.

The organization is always looking for volunteers to help with everything from rocking babies to organizing some of the group's fund-raising events. The group also needs volunteers to do various tasks around the center, including reading to children, working in the gardens of its various locations and transporting materials between sites.

The crew at Giraffe Laugh has recently set up a new online system allowing volunteers to create user profiles for themselves and view all the volunteer opportunities available through the organization. To check it out, or to create your profile, visit giraffelaugh.org.

Contact: Amber Murray,amber@giraffelaugh.org

Website: giraffelaugh.org

Phone: 208-424-3387

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is busy raising the roof--or rather roofs--over the heads of Treasure Valley families in need. Volunteers are the backbone of the organization dedicated to providing affordable housing to families who both need it and are willing to help work for it.

Volunteers do everything from working on construction sites to helping in the ReStore, where donated construction materials are sold to the public.

Contact: Construction, Sarah Waltman; Habitat ReStore, Tod Wingfield,info@hfhboise.org

Website: hfhboise.org

Phone: Construction, 208-331-2916, Ext. 315; ReStore, 208-375-5256

Idaho Botanical Garden

Idaho Botanical Garden is more than just a place where plants grow. It's a hub of the community with a full schedule of events--from concerts to educational classes.

Volunteers are needed to do everything from getting their hands dirty in the garden to helping staff public events and gatherings. Volunteers staff the summer concerts and also serve as guides for garden visitors.

Anyone interested in volunteering must fill out an application, which are available at the garden office and online.

Contact: Karen Christeson,karen@idahobotanicalgarden.org

Website: idahobotanicalgarden.org

Phone: 208-343-8649

Idaho FoodBank

To make sure families across the state get the help they need, the foodbank is in constant need of help itself.

Volunteers are particularly needed to sort and repackage food donations. Help is also needed in the warehouse.

There are also volunteer opportunities for groups and families, depending on the project, and foodbank staff is willing to help organizations put on their own food donation drives.

Following the success of the Picnic in the Park summer program, the foodbank is looking for volunteers to help with the project, which helps make sure children have a good lunch when schools are on summer break.

Organizers are also focusing on gathering the roughly 300 volunteers it takes to staff Post Office locations across the valley for the National Association of Letter Carriers Food Drive on Saturday, May 12.

Contact: Cathe Scott,volunteerservices@idahofoodbank.org

Website: idahofoodbank.org

Phone: 208-577-2720

Idaho Historical Society

History is a living, breathing thing, and to keep it vital, the Idaho Historical Society is always looking for some history-loving volunteers to help at any of the society's facilities.

If you don't mind the slightly creepy, you can lead tours at the Old Idaho Penitentiary. If you love a traditional museum, help with collections at the historical museum. If you prefer some dirt under your nails, you can work in the native garden in the Pioneer Village area of the museum. Those who prefer their history bound can work at the historical library and archives collection. Check the website for a volunteer application.

Website: history.idaho.gov

Phone: Idaho State Historical Museum, 208-334-2120; Idaho Historical Society, 208-334-2682; Old Idaho Penitentiary, 208-334-2844

Idaho Humane Society

The Idaho Humane Society is often the last stop for animals that need new homes, and the nonprofit organization's resources always seem to be being stretched further. Volunteers are a key part of keeping the doors open and pets going to new homes.

Volunteers are needed to help in a wide variety of ways, from walking, bathing and grooming dogs, to playing with the cats. Volunteers are also needed to serve as adoption assistants, answering questions and helping to match people with prospective pets.

If you're willing to do a little digging, people are also needed to help maintain the grounds of the facility, making sure the animals have as nice of a home as possible until they are adopted. Visit the website to fill out a volunteer application before signing up for an orientation.

Contact: Melanie Larson,volunteer@idahohumanesociety.org

Website: idahohumanesociety.org

Phone: 208-331-8553

Idaho Shakespeare Festival

Idaho Shakespeare Festival is always one of the biggest summer artist draws in the area--and that includes volunteers. In fact, volunteer slots for the 2012 summer season are already full.

It's hard not to blame people for jumping at the opportunity to spend an evening in the outdoor amphitheater, catching a free show. Of course, the real cost of admission is helping out taking tickets, handing out programs, ushering and picking up trash at intermission and after the performance.

So, why would we tell you about a volunteer program that's filled up? Because ISF has a waiting list for volunteers willing to step in at the last minute if someone can't make their assigned night. It might be a long shot, but at least it's a shot.

Contact: Chandra Woodward,chandra@idahoshakespeare.org

Website: idahoshakespeare.org

Phone: 208-336-9221

Idaho State Capitol Tours

History buffs can get in on the action as a volunteer tour guide at the recently restored and expanded Idaho State Capitol. Volunteers are needed to lead hour-long tours­--don't worry, training and a script are included--throughout the year, not just during the legislative session.

Contact: capitoltours@lso.idaho.gov

Phone: 208-332-1012

Interfaith Sanctuary

As Boise's homeless population has grown in recent years, the Interfaith Sanctuary has become even more important, and so too have the volunteers who help the nonprofit.

Volunteers do a variety of duties, but are especially needed to fill nightly shifts to check in people staying at the shelter, getting them settled, and serving food. They are also needed to help clean in the morning, as well as to help organize activities, programs and group volunteer efforts. A volunteer application is available on the website. After submission, staff will contact potential volunteers.

Website: interfaithsanctuary.org

Phone: 208-343-2630

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