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Thursday, May 23, 2024

For those who aren’t fans of weekend benders, Gainesville has plenty of ways to spend your time productively.

Regardless of your past volunteer experience, Alachua County has something for you.

Environment:

Students with a green thumb can volunteer with the Florida Organic Growers, a local 501(c)(3) not-for-profit corporation that supports and promotes organic and sustainable agriculture through education, policy, certification services and outreach programs.

They are currently looking for volunteers to help with the Gainesville Initiative for Tasty Gardens. Volunteers will help build free, raised-bed vegetable gardens at low-income residencies and community centers in Alachua County.

For more information regarding this program and other volunteer opportunities with FOG, call 352-377-6345 or visit their website foginfo.org/index.php

Medical:

Whether you want to get a head start on your medical school application or simply put a smile on a patient’s face, Shands at UF has a list of volunteer opportunities available within most of its departments. Its website, shands.org, provides detailed information about all of the departments seeking volunteers as well as descriptions of responsibilities, requirements and a schedule for each position.

Departments seeking volunteers range from radiology to the children’s hospital. Details about the application process can be found online, or you can call volunteer services at 352-265-0360 for more information.

Museum:

The Florida Museum of Natural History, located on the UF campus, is holding a volunteer orientation Sept. 9 from 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Students can sign-up online at flmnh.ufl.edu/volunteers.

Students can help maintain the Butterfly Rainforest, lead docent tours or help curators with a variety of collections at the museum. For more information contact Julie Crosby, volunteer coordinator, at 352-273-2055 or volunteers@flmnh.ufl.edu.

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Veterans:

Students interested in volunteering with veterans can sign up at the Malcolm Randall VA Medical Center located on 1601 SW Archer Rd. Students must go to the Voluntary Service Office in the E-wing of the basement to fill out an application.
Once you have completed an application, you will be notified about an appointment to speak with the Chief of Volunteer Services to place you in a department. Information about departments seeking help will be provided during your appointment. For more information call 352-374-6068.

Ministry:

Whether you boast a toolbox that would put Tim “The Toolman” Taylor to shame or don’t know the difference between a socket wrench and a monkey wrench, you can help ensure families in Alachua County have a roof over their heads.

Alachua Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit Christian housing ministry that provides families in need with affordable, safe homes.

Jan LeDuc, volunteer coordinator, said the ministry is currently refurbishing a home in conjunction with the city. Volunteers are needed on Thursdays and Saturdays. Students interested in signing up for this project should contact Jimmy Southerland, construction director, at jsoutherland@alachuahabitat.org.

Volunteer opportunities are also available at the thrift store, at the office and at other construction sites. Students can contact LeDuc at jtlgator@cox.net or visit the ministry’s website at alachuahabitat.org for more information.

Child Development:

The Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County is a local organization focused on the personal development of young women and young men in the community. Laura Javidi, director of special events, said they are looking for volunteers to help tutor children and assist with their homework.

Students can also volunteer during recreational hours and assist with storytelling and arts and crafts. To apply, students must come to the office located at 2700 NW 51st St. to pick up an application.

A federal background check is required in order to become a volunteer. A copy of your driver’s license and social security are required along with fingerprints and a $30 fee. Javidi said it usually takes up to 10 days to process an application once it is completed and returned to the office.

Volunteers are needed Mondays through Fridays from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, visit myboysandgirlsclub.com.

Education:

If your 12 credit hours aren’t quelling your desire for education then head over to any of the 42 Alachua County Public Schools seeking volunteers. Liz Stark, volunteer coordinator, said Alachua County Public Schools place about 5,000 students in volunteer positions each year.
Representatives from Alachua County Public Schools will be tabling at Santa Fe College and UF the first two weeks of school. For detailed information about what time and where they will be set up visit sbac.edu or call 352-955-6760.

Looking for something else?

If the list above doesn’t satisfy your volunteer craving, the list of opportunities in Alachua County goes on. Visit gainesvillevolunteer.com for a detailed list of organizations seeking volunteers.

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