Whether you’re looking to make a difference in the community, build your resume, or meet new people, volunteering is a great option that’ll leave you with a feeling of having made a positive contribution to the world.
In Jacksonville, there are plenty of community-oriented organizations that welcome volunteers year-round. Many of these organizations are either understaffed or simply need all the help they can get. Others rely almost exclusively on volunteers and the good will of the community.
If you’re interested in getting out and making a difference in the Jacksonville community, take a look at these five organizations we’ve highlighted who are all looking for volunteers.
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY JACKSONVILLE
Jacksonville’s chapter of Habitat for Humanity, referred to as HabiJax, has two main operations for which it recruits volunteers.
One is the construction of affordable housing, the organization’s main purpose. As a construction volunteer, you’ll work a seven-hour day doing all sorts of tasks involved in building a house – painting, installing siding, and laying sod are just a few examples of your potential tasks.
If you’re not much of the “handyman” type, HabiJax’s other operation may suit you better. The organization operates multiple retail stores, branded as HabiJax ReStore, that specialize in selling home improvement items donated by local businesses. Volunteers at ReStore locations play the roles of a home improvement store employee – unloading and arranging items, taking inventory, and helping customers find what they need. You’ll also work shorter, four-hour shifts.
Are you a pet person? If so, you’ll probably enjoy volunteering with Jacksonville Humane Society.
Be warned, though: volunteering with JHS is not to be taken lightly. The organization looks for volunteers who can commit to coming in once a week for the first three months of volunteering, and also charges an initial $25 fee.
But for many pet lovers, the rewarding feeling would likely be worth the commitment. Volunteers take on all kinds of roles within the organization, from caring for the pets to participating in community events on the organization’s behalf.
Perhaps the only thing more rewarding than working with pets is working with kids – and Wolfson Children’s Hospital provides that opportunity.
The hospital looks for volunteers who can work three to six hours a week performing tasks such as assisting patients and their families, performing administrative duties, helping with pet therapy, and even performing as a clown to entertain the children. They refer to their team of volunteers as the Auxiliary.
There’s also an expected commitment of at least six months initially, and a requirement of three references and consent to a background check – understandable given the nature of the work.
Wolfson isn’t the only opportunity out there for volunteer work in a hospital setting. UF Health’s Jacksonville campus in the Springfield area recruits volunteers to help with clerical work, patient wellness services, and more.
Volunteers are given a free meal for each four hour shift, a 10% discount at the hospital’s gift shop, and free flu shots. New recruits are asked to commit to 100 hours of work, and must purchase a volunteer uniform shirt for $18.50. As with Wolfson, volunteers need multiple references and must pass background checks.
Looking for something a little more low-key than some of these other options? Try volunteering at the Jacksonville Public Library, where various volunteer positions are always in need of being filled.
Opportunities include assisting with customer service, putting books back on shelves, doing clerical work, greeting visitors, and more. Anyone over the age of 12 can volunteer, as long as you have at least one reference available.