My Turn: Hands On Tahoe helping community
You’ve probably seen them on the Legacy Trail, walking Humane Society Dogs. Or at the Senior Center, serving meals, or directing traffic at the scene of an accident. They’re your neighbors, people who have volunteered their efforts to serve our community. They are volunteers who invest in our community with their time.
If you ask them why they volunteer, you’re likely to get a different answer from each person you ask. This isn’t surprising. Our motivations are all over the map. One thing for sure, though, is the reason why most of us continue to volunteer. That’s the satisfaction of knowing that we’ve tried to make a difference.
Last Friday, General Colin Powell announced President-elect Obama’s plans to call on Americans to serve their communities on the King Holiday and throughout the year. “At this moment of great purpose and great promise, President-elect Obama is calling on all Americans to make an ongoing commitment to serve their communities and their country,” said Powell. “The Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday is not only a day off but also for the last 14 years, it has been a day on. It’s a day to reach out to our fellow citizens in need.”
You may have seen the ads that have appeared here in the Sierra Sun. Or maybe you’ve seen the weekly Volunteer Corner page. Volunteering is a perfect way to say you agree that Truckee is one of the best towns to live in. Hands On Tahoe’s website lists more than 70 current opportunities with more than 40 local non-profit organizations. There are opportunities with Sierra Senior Services, the Nutrition Coalition, Project Mana, and the Tahoe Forest Hospice, just to name a few.
If you’re interested in volunteering, take some time to visit http://www.handsontahoe.org. As a prospective volunteer, you can search for opportunities that fit your specific interests and skills. Or you can register as a volunteer on the website to receive notice of opportunities that come in after your visit.
The Hands on Tahoe staff will send you an e-mail if your interests and skills match what the nonprofit organization is looking for.
If you are with a local nonprofit organization in need of volunteers, your organization can list the opportunity with Hands On Tahoe. Just click on the link for nonprofits and complete the form. Your opportunity will soon be posted and possible volunteers matching your needs will be notified. Cindy Maciel, Director of the Sierra Teen Education and Parenting Program, is very happy she did.
“We’ve gotten our best volunteers from listing with Hands On Tahoe,” Cindy says.
Hands On Tahoe is a project of the Truckee Tahoe Community Foundation. For the past three years, the Hands On Tahoe website has existed for the sole purpose of connecting prospective volunteers with local nonprofit organizations. It is, not surprisingly, staffed by volunteers.
Arlene Becker, retired at Donner Lake, is the former owner of a staffing service and an executive with the State Department of Corrections. Tahoe Donner resident Linda Stewart is an investment advisor and tennis enthusiast who wanted to do some volunteer work. I’m a Silicon Valley refugee who’s lived in Truckee since 1987. Our focus is on local people helping local organizations.
Next Monday is the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. Instead of making it a day off, make it your first day “On” as a volunteer. Visit http://www.handsontahoe.org. Find an opportunity that fits and volunteer. It could be the start of a most worthwhile investment.
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