The holiday season may be behind us, but the spirit of giving remains strong. Our community is home to many incredible charities, and they continue to need your time, talent, and treasure – now more than ever. Here we highlight several organizations to help you get involved with a cause that is close to your heart. Rest assured that every organization is taking the necessary precautions to keep its volunteers safe and in good health!
Adult Literacy League
Tutoring for the Adult Literacy League (ALL) has never been easier – you can volunteer from the safety, comfort, and convenience of your home, using platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or even FaceTime or Facebook Messenger. You don’t need to be a teacher to help an adult learn to read, write, or speak English. ALL holds new tutor training workshops every month. Visit AdultLiteracyLeague.org/Volunteer-Tutor-Orientation or call Bronwen Jurado at 407-422-1540, ext. 113.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida
Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida (BGCCF) helps inspire disadvantaged young people. There are 36 branches in six counties, including two branches in Seminole County. The organization has moved all volunteering to a virtual setting. Opportunities include virtual tutoring and reading-buddy programs, individuals and professionals sharing their passions via Zoom, writing messages of hope for members, and online game sessions, to name a few. Each branch also has a wish list for items needed for local youth. Visit BGCCF.org/Volunteer or contact Alicia Hodge at AHodge@BGCCF.org.
Christian HELP provides the solutions and resources people need to stand on their own. The organization is looking for care managers to lead clients through a job-search plan including résumé assistance, identifying strengths, interview coaching, and spiritual support.
Administrative volunteers are needed to perform office duties, food pantry volunteers are in demand to unload deliveries or sort and prepare food to feed hungry families, and job fair greeters are always welcome. Christian HELP is also looking for trainers to teach specialized classes. Training is provided and positions are available virtually. Visit ChristianHelp.org/Volunteer.
There are several virtual volunteering opportunities with the AdventHealth Foundation. The organization has developed strategies to serve and maintain engagement while continuing best health practices due to COVID-19. Opportunities include: creating no-sew fleece blankets, pillows, masks, and surgical caps for hospital patients; participating in Operation Gratitude to make handmade items for service members; and patient-experience projects such as creating cards and friendship bracelets for patients and caregivers.
Visit AdventHealth.com/Community-Benefit/Central-Florida/Volunteer or contact FH.Volunteer.Services@AdventHealth.com or call 407-303-6938.
Shepherd’s Hope is the largest free health clinic in the region, providing services for the uninsured and underinsured in Central Florida. The organization needs general and licensed volunteers including the following specialty providers: nurses, otolaryngologists (ENT), OB-GYN surgeons, orthopedists, physical therapists, urologists, gastroenterologists, endocrinologists, psychologists, rheumatologists, dermatologists, and neurologists. With the rise in unemployment and loss of healthcare coverage, the need is increasing every day. Volunteers set their own hours and are covered by Florida Department of Health Sovereign Immunity. Contact Ella Romano at Ella.Romano@ShepherdsHope.org or 407-876-6699, ext. 241.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity Seminole-Apopka builds houses for people in need of a decent and affordable place to live. With the help of volunteers, families in need put sweat-equity into the process. The organization is open to volunteers age 16 and older. There are volunteer opportunities at the ReStore in Sanford and at construction sites throughout the community. Training and supplies are provided for volunteers of all experience levels. Visit HabitatSeminoleApopka.org or contact Volunteer@Habitat-sa.org, 407-601-9159.
The Camaraderie Foundation’s mission is to provide healing for the invisible wounds of war through counseling and emotional and spiritual support for all branches of post-9/11 veterans, service members, and their families. Ways to get involved include: planning special events (live and virtual) from start to finish and mentoring and leadership opportunities to assist transitioning service members and spouses as they prepare for a career in the local community. Complete the volunteer application online at CamaraderieFoundation.org/Resources/Volunteer-Application.
HOPE Helps, based in Oviedo, helps reduce homelessness in Central Florida by equipping individuals and families to become self-sufficient through Housing, Outreach, Prevention, and Education services (HOPE). Volunteers can help serve clients in the food pantry, work in the HOPE Chest Thrift Store, or help at one of the organization’s many events. There are opportunities for groups and individuals to serve just one time or on a regular basis. Visit HopeHelps.org or contact Volunteer@HopeHelps.org.
Hearts, Hands & Hope
Hearts, Hands & Hope feeds the more than 36,000 children in Seminole County who struggle with food insecurity. Volunteers help deliver more than 8,000 meals a week through a food-line distribution and food-bag program. Hearts, Hands & Hope needs volunteers to distribute meal boxes on a weekly basis. Volunteers are also needed to pack, transport, and distribute food bags. To volunteer, submit the volunteer application at Hearts-Hands-Hope.org.
The Sharing Center
The Sharing Center in Longwood works to help prevent hunger and homelessness in our community. Volunteers are vital and needed every single day. Families can attend Family Fun Night, hosted every second Friday of every month. This is a great opportunity to gain Bright Futures scholarship hours. Pizza and drinks are served. Groups are also welcome to serve every day of the week and especially during Serve Saturday. Choose a morning or afternoon shift on any Saturday of the year for your company, church, or team. Visit TheSharingCenter.org/Volunteer.
The Foundation for Seminole County Public Schools
Volunteer opportunities are available for mentors of high-school students. Mentors are paired with a high-school student and commit to meet virtually or on campus for 30 minutes each week during the school year to provide support and encouragement. Volunteers are also needed to help sort and stock school supply products at the Tools 4 Seminole Schools store in Sanford, which provides free supplies to teachers. Visit FoundationSCPS.org or contact firstname.lastname@example.org, 407-320-0180.
IMPOWER offers a continuum of care for children, adolescents, adults, and families focused on addressing mental and behavioral health and child well-being. Some ways you can help this year are: volunteering at on-campus beautification days (spring and fall dates TBD), becoming a virtual tutor or life-skills facilitator for high school and above, joining a committee such as marketing and fundraising, and serving as a virtual table captain for the It Takes a Village Breakfast (May 2021). Visit ImpowerFL.org or contact Info@ImpowerFL.org, 407-215-0095, ext 211.
Meals on Wheels, Etc.
Meals on Wheels, Etc. provides appetizing and nutritious meals and support services for seniors. Volunteers are needed to deliver meals to homebound seniors in Seminole County. The organization provides masks, gloves, sanitizer, and training for all new volunteers. Volunteers may be the only contact to the larger community for so many of these elderly residents. Visit MealsETC.org or call 407-333-8877, ext. 104.
Seminole County Animal Services
All volunteering at the shelter has been suspended until further notice, but SCAS is accommodating high-school students needing Bright Futures scholarship volunteer hours. Students can foster litters of kittens through the BFF100-CATS program and earn two hours per day of volunteer time, while they care for the kittens and get them big enough for adoption. Contact Diane Gagliano at 407-665-5208 or DGagliano@SeminoleCountyFL.gov.
Kids House of Seminole
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Kids House of Seminole works to break the cycle of violence often seen with child abuse. The organization is currently unable to host volunteers on-site. However, you can host a donation drive for items such as clothing, toys, or school supplies needed throughout the year. You can also provide a service, such as helping with facility maintenance and upkeep like landscaping, pressure washing, touch-up painting, and cleaning gutters. Once COVID-19 is behind us, volunteers can help with in-office duties, event assistance, and more. Visit KidsHouse.org or contact Jennifer Napier at Napier@KidsHouse.org, 407-324-3036, ext. 241.