The Giving Spirit
By Lauren Green
We eat our veggies. We move our bodies. We try our best to get enough sleep. To be sure, we take self-care seriously around here. Ironically, one of the most impactful ways we can care for ourselves is to periodically shift the focus off, well … ourselves. With the extended pandemic-prompted season of self and solitude hopefully behind us now, it is the perfect time, with safety precautions in mind, to get back out and give to others. This summer, consider the following opportunities in our area, or use them as a springboard for discovering other ways you can lend a helping hand. Whether you do your best work alone or behind the scenes, crave one-on-one interactions, or want to include a posse of friends or involve the whole family, an opportunity is out there. A computer, a calendar and a dash of curiosity are all you need to get started. We’ve divided up a few options by category.
WORK ON YOUR OWN OR BEHIND THE SCENES
If you’re a bit of an introvert or enjoy some alone time, these volunteer opportunities are for you.
Humane Society of North Texas
Does your love language include a periodic lick on the face? No doubt our family pets have enjoyed the extra attention this past year, but perhaps it’s time to share the love with less-fortunate furry friends. The Humane Society of North Texas has numerous ways you can help, be it walking dogs, playing with cats, or assisting with adoptions. With service opportunities provided in multiple locations, including nearby Keller, volunteers age 16 and up can work directly with the shelter animals. Younger volunteers can assist by creating cat and dog toys using supplies provided by HSNT. A word of caution: Slobbery kisses may result. Humane Society of North Texas Keller Regional 330 Rufe Snow Drive, 817-743-4711, hsnt.org/keller-regional Contact Volunteer coordinator Ashtyn Vance, 682-209-2747, firstname.lastname@example.org
If your lifestyle default is on-the-go, then giving blood could be just the volunteer opportunity for you. Quick and easy, in as little as an hour, you can donate 1 pint of blood and help save up to three lives. Locally, Carter BloodCare is one of Texas’ largest blood centers, providing 300,000 units of lifesaving blood and blood components annually to patients in North, Central and East Texas. Visit the Carter BloodCare website to schedule an appointment at its nearby Keller facility or one of the other locations, including Flower Mound. Carter BloodCare 101 Town Center Lane, Keller, 817-337-1520, carterbloodcare.org
Southlake Public Library
Bibliophilia is a condition shared by many here in town. If you are a proud bookworm, volunteering with the Southlake Public Library might be just the right fit for your current chapter of life. Welcoming both teens and adults, the library keeps volunteers busy with tasks such as stocking books, processing new materials and maintaining well-loved items. For those looking for a more public role, volunteers also have opportunities to interact with young readers during the eight-week summer reading program. Step one is applying through the city of Southlake volunteer website, volunteersouthlake.com. Once approved, you can sign up online for the days and shifts that work best with your schedule. Southlake Public Library Southlake Town Square, 1400 Main St., 817-748-8243, southlakelibrary.com Contact Adult services librarian Maria Cameron, 817-748-8247, email@example.com
Get personal and do good deeds.
GRACE Friends & Family No doubt many of us have spent a lot of time in and around the house this year. Perhaps it’s time to focus on someone else’s home or yard. Grab your rake and cleaning supplies and give the gift of a tidy home and yard, brightening the space of someone who could use a helping hand. Friends & Family, a program under GRACE in Grapevine, provides a wide range of assistance for the homebound, including periodic home/yard spruce-up services. Once the cobwebs and corners have been cleared, volunteers can find ongoing opportunities to help in areas such as the GRACE food pantry or donation station. GRACE Friends & Family 837 E. Walnut St., Grapevine, gracegrapevine.org Contact Coordinator Christine Szymaszek, 817-488-2181, firstname.lastname@example.org
CARS (Call A Ride of Southlake)
Fuel up your car and take a special “joy” ride by providing transportation for a Southlake resident in need. Call A Ride of Southlake (CARS) works with seniors and disabled individuals, and you’ll provide not only wheels but interaction with clients. The summer months offer plenty of flexible hours and opportunities to help. A car, a key fob and a caring heart are all you need to get started. Call A Ride of Southlake 817-798-4022, callaridesouthlake.org Contact Executive director Erik Phelps, email@example.com
Taste Community Restaurant
Travel outside the Southlake bubble to Taste Community Restaurant in Fort Worth, a nonprofit focused on chef-driven healthy meals made from fresh ingredients. What sets Taste apart is its pay-what-you-can model. Affectionately dubbed Taste Buds, volunteers as young as 14 (12, with an accompanying adult), are tasked with running the restaurant each day. Daily fun opportunities include waiting tables, prepping food and greeting customers. Taste Community Restaurant 1200 S. Main St., Fort Worth, 817-759-9045, tasteproject.org Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
THE GROUP EFFORT
The more the merrier, right?
CEC (Community Enrichment Center)
Gather your posse of friends and head to the hills. North Richland Hills, that is. There, you will find the Community Enrichment Center, which works directly with families and individuals to move them out of crisis mode and into a more stable lifestyle through employment readiness, education, financial coaching and counseling. CEC also provides safe housing, food and basic necessities. Choose from the CEC food pantry, the Second Glance Thrift Shop or a variety of other ongoing programs and events that will eagerly utilize you and your group. Community Enrichment Center 6250 N.E. Loop 820, North Richland Hills, 817-281-1164, cechope.org Contact Volunteer coordinator Tori Queen, 682-730-2633, email@example.com
As a coalition of businesses, nonprofits and churches, 6 Stones provides hope to the hopeless in the communities of Hurst, Euless and Bedford. Volunteers assist year-round in a variety of ways, such as helping in the New Hope Center food pantry or lending a hand with one of the annual large-scale events serving hundreds of families. 6 Stones 209 N. Industrial Blvd., Bedford, 817-868-7400, 6stones.org Contact Volunteer coordinator Suzie McMahon, firstname.lastname@example.org
Together time takes on new meaning.
Metroport Meals on Wheels
Get everyone in the family involved, young and old, as you deliver meals to the elderly and others in need of a nutritious meal and social interaction. Metroport Meals on Wheels is made up of neighbors helping neighbors to alleviate hunger, isolation and loneliness. Volunteers pick up prepackaged meals from participating area restaurants and deliver to local MMOW clients. It’s food for the soul — for all involved. Metroport Meals on Wheels 428 U.S. 377, Roanoke, 817-491-1141, metroportmow.org Contact Program coordinator Annette Blount, email@example.com
If you can tie a knot, then you can create a blanket. Project Linus is a nationwide organization providing new blankets to children in need. Polar fleece, scissors, a pattern and helping hands are all you and your family need to construct a Linus blanket. Locally, the staff at Must Love Fabric in Grapevine will collect your finished blankets and help answer any questions you may have. Premade kits are also available for purchase at the store. Project Linus projectlinus.org Collection site Must Love Fabric, 1451 State Highway 114 W., Grapevine, 817-488-6764, mustlovefabric.com
City of Southlake Adopt-a-Street Program
Summer is the season for bugs, especially those pesky roadway litterbugs. To counteract their negative impact, the Southlake Adopt-a-Street Program and its volunteers help ensure that our city thoroughfares stay clean and beautiful. As a family, consider adopting a stretch of Southlake roadway for a year. Together, make family Trash-Be-Gone T-shirts, don sassy safety vests or start your own Squeaky-Clean-Street Facebook page. And you can use this flexible volunteer opportunity as a way to model active citizenship for the entire family. Adopt-a-Street Program 285 Shady Oaks Drive, Southlake, 817-748-8019, experiencesouthlaketexas.com/406/Adopt-a-Street Contact Janie Ocampo, City of Southlake, 817-748-8019, firstname.lastname@example.org
THE VOLUNTEER LIFE
Keep your eyes and ears open. Read local newspapers and magazines. Listen to friends, neighbors and co-workers. Volunteer opportunities are out there, but many fly under the radar.
Browse resources like volunteermatch.org, voly.org, wevolunteer.org or simply search “volunteer opportunities near Southlake” to match opportunities in the area according to your interests, skill set and schedule.
Call or email area churches. Almost all are involved with a variety of projects that serve others in the community and will assist you in getting plugged in.
Call or email nonprofits directly. They can help match you with a specific need you might not know about.
Remember that it is OK to say no. Volunteerism, taken to the extreme, can lead to the dreaded burnout. To stay motivated and involved, set firm time boundaries and stick to them.
It’s easy to get in a rut, especially in volunteerism. Fortunately, opportunities to help are in limitless supply and constantly changing. Let your curiosity take the lead and discover for yourself the symbiotic benefits of spirited giving.