Local organizations provide volunteer opportunities

Alex Jolley, Reporter

According to Youth.gov, a federal collaboration that coordinates youth programs across the country, more than 4.3 million teens volunteered their time to a variety of charitable organizations in 2015. Benefits to volunteering include improved school performance and employment opportunities. Here are some local places to volunteer.

Salvation Army Bell Ringing

With the holidays in full swing, the Salvation Army is looking for volunteers to ring bells for those in need. The bell ringers stand in front of stores across America to encourage individuals to donate. Every year the money collected across the country helps over 25 million people in need. They give out meals, shelter, and even Christmas gifts. Teens under 16 will need parental permission and those under 14 will need to be supervised. To sign up go to https://www.registertoring.com/default.aspx

Habitat for Humanity of Omaha

Many people in the community currently don’t have a place to call home. To help reduce this number, Habitat for Humanity builds homes to give to those without one. Volunteers can range in skill ability as there are plenty of things to get done. To volunteer individuals need to be 14 years old and those 15 and under need supervision. Anyone under 19 will need parental consent. To sign up to volunteer go to https://habitatomaha.org/volunteer/local-opportunities/ 

Sarpy County Museum

A little over three miles from Bellevue West, the Sarpy County museum harbors important relics from Sarpy County’s history. I recently volunteered there and helped prepare flyers to inform members of the plan to expand the museum. Currently they are trying to digitize all their records for easier access for the public. There are also other opportunities including helping out with tours in the spring. To volunteer go to  http://sarpycountymuseum.org/volunteer/ 

Durham Museum

The Durham Museum used to be the Union Pacific railroad station and is still a gorgeous building that needs help to stay the flourishing museum it is. Volunteers’ jobs include admission desk attendant, museum shop attendant, membership ambassador, tour guides, gallery guides, and many more. A minimum number of hours per year for volunteers is required. Volunteers must be 16 and older. To sign up go to https://durhammuseum.org/support/volunteer/.

American Red Cross

The American Cross is a national organization that helps communities recover from disasters, armed conflicts, and health problems; provides 40% of the nation’s blood; and trains individuals in CPR and first aid. There are various volunteer opportunities available. Age of volunteers range from task to task. To apply to volunteer go to https://www.redcross.org/volunteer/volunteer-role-finder.html 

 Other Ways to Help the Community 

Give Blood

The past two years it has been hard to collect blood with Covid preventing in person gatherings. Now more than ever blood is needed across the country. One time of giving blood can save three people’s lives. To give blood you must be healthy and at least 110 lbs. Some medications or medical conditions may prevent you from giving blood. Athletes are advised to wait till their sports off-season to give blood, because of the effect giving blood and high intensity activities can have on your body. Blood donors must be at least 17 or 16 with parental consent. To find a blood drive near you go to https://www.redcrossblood.org/give.html/find-drive 

Donate to drives

Various places around the community including our school hold drives for items ranging from food to hygiene products and even toys. These items are donated to organizations that can distribute them properly to those in need. A simple can of food could be the difference between eating or skipping a meal for some people. Key Club is hosting a toy drive this winter for parents who are struggling to get their kids Christmas gifts. Pay attention to signs and announcements in the community  to know when other drives are being held.