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International Rescue Committee
When refugees arrive in Boise, they often face an alien world. But the folks at the IRC are there to help with the transition, supporting refugees and their families for their first eight months in the United States with things like job placement, housing, English classes and various programs.
IRC is always in need of volunteers who do everything from clerical duties to working as mentors directly with refugees. Volunteers are also needed to work one-on-one with refugees in jobs classes, helping with resumes and interviewing skills and working in the IRC's women's program that works on life skills with high-risk women.
Anyone interested in working with the group should start by filling out an application. A background check is required, and IRC staff will work with volunteers to find a position that works for their time constraints and skills.
Contact: Shannon Davis-Jones,email@example.com
Phone: 208-344-1792, Ext. 20
Peregrine Fund World Center for Birds of Prey
Think volunteering is for the birds? You're right--kind of. The World Center for Birds of Prey is one of the centerpieces for raptor conservation, with an array of educational opportunities that go hand in hand with its recovery work.
And while the center is known around the world, the nonprofit still needs help carrying out its mission. Namely, it needs people to work as tour guides and Interpretive Center ambassadors, who work in the gift shop and greet visitors.
No prior experience with either birds or retail is required, but volunteers do need to fill out an application online and then go through both orientation and training.
Contact: Nick Piccono, firstname.lastname@example.org
For the people, by the people could well be the motto of the public library system. While libraries serve as hubs of the community, tight budgets mean that wrangling all those books, videos, computers and public programs require some serious volunteer hours. Public libraries across the Treasure Valley need people to help prepare and shelve books, prepare donations for annual book sales, organize public events and help with summer reading programs.
The Boise Public Library has even more need for volunteers at each of its branch libraries across the city. The library bases its volunteer effort around its website, which posts volunteer opportunities as they become available. Would-be volunteers are asked to fill out an online form and be ready to undergo a background check.
Volunteers are also needed with Friends of the Boise Library, which puts on used book sale fundraisers and runs the book store.
Phone: Boise, 208-384-4076; Garden City, 208-472-2941; Friends of the Boise Library, 208-384-4198
Ridge to Rivers
It takes more than the adoration of a community of outdoor-oriented folks to keep trails along the extensive Ridge to Rivers trail system in shape. But luckily, there seems to be no shortage of volunteers willing to step up and break a sweat in the name of their favorite trail system.
In fact, there's a waiting list for those who want to help maintain and expand one of Boise's most-popular attractions. Opportunities to work on the trails are project dependent but usually involve trail construction and the best chance to work on a trail is during specific large-scale projects. Watch the website for new projects.
Contact: David Gordon,email@example.com
Special Olympics Idaho
Special Olympics Idaho jumped in the public spotlight when Boise hosted to the 2009 World Winter Games, and since then the organization has kept growing. But as is the case with most nonprofits, Special Olympics Idaho depends on the kindness of volunteers.
The organization has volunteer opportunities year round, with enough variety to match just about anyone's time constraints and interests. Volunteer jobs include serving as coaches and mentors, helping with the logistics at events, fundraising, serving as medical staff at events and acting as management and sports management team members.
The first step to volunteering is to fill out an online application form. Anyone who wants to work closely with athletes will have to have a background check.
Contact: Dallas Leatham,firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 208-323-0482, Ext. 11,or 1-800-915-6510
Stage Coach Theatre
The actors may get all the glory, but it takes an army to mount any successful theatrical production. Stage Coach Theater---one of Boise's longest-running community theater companies---is looking for some front-of-the-house help. Volunteers are always needed to help with the customer-service side of the arts by selling concessions, cleaning, stocking supplies, ushering, taking tickets and other assorted duties. Ages 12 and older are welcome (as long as minors are accompanied by an adult).
Contact: Kim Librum,email@example.com
Maintaining the trees in the City of Trees is no small task. That's why the City of Boise's Community Forestry crew needs the help of volunteers to keep the trees filling the city's right-of-way areas and parks healthy and maintained.
Tree Stewards join city crews one morning a week to help prune public trees. But joining the pruning brigade takes some planning: Volunteers must complete a series of tree-care classes held every Wednesday in March in order to be certified to be a steward.
Contact: Ryan Rodgers
Schools may be forced to cut funding for the arts, but the Treasure Valley Institute for Children's Art is doing everything it can to make sure kids across the valley have access to an array of arts programs. The nonprofit never turns any child away because his or her family can't afford tuition.
TRICA depends heavily on volunteers, who do everything from data entry to helping staff the multitude of events the organization is involved with to helping fix up the old Immanuel Methodist Episcopal Church in Boise's North End--the site of the group's future home.
Helping with fundraising for the group's capital campaign so TRICA can move into that site is also a main focus of volunteer work. TRICA is closing in on the final $600,000 it needs to complete the second phase of renovations, which will allow it to move into its homebase.
Contact: Meshel Miller, firstname.lastname@example.org
United Way of Idaho
OK, so you want to volunteer somewhere, doing something, but you're really not sure where or what. Don't let your indecision scare you away. The crew at United Way of Idaho works to match volunteers with organizations spanning a broad spectrum of needs and interests. United Way also hosts numerous groups of its own, offering ways for people to get involved in the community with various levels of commitment.
The organization has partners in education, youth, health and finances and it serves as a clearinghouse for volunteer work. It works with individuals, as well as sets up projects for groups, companies and schools. The best way to get started is to create a user profile online.
United Way also facilitates several service groups. The Junior Service Club is for junior high school students and offers a hands-on, year-long project driven by students. High school students can join One Stone, a similar group that has numerous projects.
Working professionals with limited time can join DIRT, a group that meets to do one-hour projects over the noon hour. Projects nearly always are physical, giving those usually tied to a desk a way to blow off some energy.
Adults who want to get more involved can join LEAP, which is more focused on specific issues and works to engage more in the community.
United Way has also started a reading initiative at Morely Nelson Elementary in Boise, where tutors, readers and mentors are matched with students who need a little extra help. Volunteering for this project requires a background check.
Contact: Neva Geisler,email@example.com
Phone: 208-336-1070, Ext. 122
Veterans Affairs Medical Center
In order to provide the best care possible for our military veterans, the Boise VA works with hundreds of volunteers each year in a variety of jobs.
Volunteers are particularly needed to drive a van used to transport patients from Canyon County to the hospital. Help doing clerical duties is also a priority, but jobs range from stocking shelves, teaching vets a how to use a computer program to aid in their health care, working in the hospice program, serving as couriers and visiting patients in the hospital.
Anyone interested should call the volunteer coordinator to pick up an orientation packet. Volunteers must undergo a background check.
Contact: Sharon Clark, firstname.lastname@example.org
Women's and Children's Alliance
The Women's and Children's Alliance has been fighting domestic abuse for more than 20 years, helping women, men, children and families who have faced domestic violence or sexual assault. The nonprofit organization is always in need of volunteers to do an array of jobs, from clerical work to working in the crisis shelter, manning the hot lines and staffing special events. WCA is also looking for people to join the Ambassador Program, which deals with community outreach.
Anyone interested in volunteering can schedule a tour of the facility by visiting the WCA's website. After a tour, would-be volunteers can meet with staff to find a job that best suits them.
Contact: Tami Fisher, email@example.com
Phone: 208-343-3688, Ext. 41
Want to explore your wild side? Zoo Boise is always looking for volunteers to work with its ever-growing collection of animals, but keep in mind that it can get quite competitive to land a spot as a volunteer at the zoo.
To focus its efforts, the zoo does volunteer interviews twice a year, with training done in May and September. Anyone looking to land a summer volunteer slot needs to have an application in ASAP, since interviewing will only be done through the end of April.
This year, volunteers are needed to work as Conservation Cruise boat drivers, captaining a boat across the zoo's lagoon. Zoo Naturalist volunteers are also needed to work in the educational aspects of the zoo, including the giraffe feeding station, Wallaby Walkout exhibit, the butterfly exhibit, Zoo Farm and introducing visitors to the animals. Finally, Animal Care volunteers work with zookeepers on the care and feeding of the animals.
You can start the process by filling out an application available on the zoo's website, or call or email for more information.
Contact: Tracy Bryan,firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: 208-384-4125, Ext. 206