Organizations that help youth and families can use donations of time, talent or treasure. Below is a sampling of the many ways to contribute:
The Big Buddy Program pairs adults with young people who are economically, educationally or emotionally disadvantaged. There are a variety of opportunities and levels of time commitment available for volunteers.
Boys & Girls Club has several opportunities for volunteers such as academic mentors who go out to schools for after-school programs, volunteers who could help teach a special skill or groups that go to schools and read to children.
This privately funded, nonprofit organization provides children-in-need who are academically advanced a stable home and quality education. Volunteers are needed for everything from answering phones to cooking meals for the young people.
Capital Area Court Appointed Special Advocates volunteers work with children who have been abused or neglected by their caregivers. These are children who are in foster care through no fault of their own. Volunteers become advocates for them to make sure they don’t get lost in the legal system.
(225) 924-0123 or (225) 927-9810
Family Service of Greater Baton Rouge, 4727 Revere Ave., provides counseling, parenting classes and intensive at-home counseling with families. Although many of its programs can’t take volunteers because of confidentiality issues, there are opportunities to help.
Reading, math, help with band or even work on a school garden are just a few of the volunteer opportunities available in the public school system. Volunteers can help read to a class or work one-on-one to help students catch up on their reading abilities.
Volunteer opportunities include tutors to work in the transitional housing sites and collection-drive organizers to help set up people in new homes. A new program called Safe Families for Children is also looking for volunteers to offer safe homes. For example, if a single mother with no family in town needs to go to the hospital for a few days, the safe home would house the children until the mother can get back on her feet.
Habitat for Humanity works with low-income families qualified to own a home. Volunteers and the future homeowners work together to build simple, decent housing. The group serves an eight-parish area: East Baton Rouge, West Baton Rouge, Iberville, Pointe Coupee, East Feliciana, West Feliciana, Livingston and Ascension parishes. Homes are sold to the families at no profit and are financed by Habitat for Humanity with an affordable, no-interest 20-year mortgage.
The center needs master gardener volunteers to take on a portion of the campus for landscaping, and volunteers to build a playground or help provide field trips for children. Money and supplies also are needed, said Roxson Welch, director of the center.
St. Vincent de Paul runs a number of programs to help provide meals, shelter, medicine and more to people in need in the greater Baton Rouge area. Volunteers are needed in a variety of positions from volunteer pharmacists to people who work serving meals in the dining room. There is also a need for help in the St. Vincent de Paul stores sell items which help raise money for the organization. A list of volunteer opportunities is available at www.svdpbr.org.
Forward Arts is a multi-generational collective of youth, artists and educators committed to providing learning opportunities in southeastern Louisiana. It provides workshops, performance spaces, and professional development for young people and adults. Volunteers who have experience in education, marketing, youth development, or social work are needed. Volunteers who don’t have those specific skills are needed for other tasks.
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