Whether you’re new to Spokane, or a lifer who might have taken some of its qualities for granted during the course of a long career, Boomer U would like to offer a list of local opportunities, for those who’d rather enrich the community than leave it. Here’s a sampler, to get the discussion started. If you’d like to nominate a favorite or two of your own, look up this article online at www.spokesman.com and post a comment.
Tutor a kid
Public schools welcome volunteers, in a host of roles. What could be more rewarding, if you’ve got the knack, than helping a first-grader to discover a love for reading, or an eighth-grader to understand algebra, the foundation for good-paying careers such as engineering? Spokane Public Schools, the largest district but not at all the only one, operates a sophisticated volunteer program, with all the appropriate training and background checks that you would need and expect. Check it out, at www.spokaneschools.org.
Comfort a family
Vanessa Behan Crisis Nursery offers nonjudgmental shelter, counseling and parent education for parents who have reached the end of their rope. Named after a little Spokane girl who fell victim to horrific abuse, the nursery welcomes volunteers who serve in roles such as child care, house parent, kitchen assistant, and more. Visit www.vanessabehan.org.
Be a star
The Spokane Civic Theatre, according to its website, “has more than 1,000 volunteers who serve as actors, backstage crews, house managers, hosts and hostesses, ushers, and board members.” www.spokanecivictheatre.com/
Save classical music
From Christmas Tree Elegance to card parties, the Spokane Symphony Associates holds fundraisers and provides volunteer assistance to support one of Spokane’s oldest and most respected fine arts organizations. www.spokanesymphony.org
No, you won’t need a Batman suit or a six-gun. But you’ll get some cool training and make a difference for public safety. SCOPE, a volunteer program run by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office, trains volunteers for a long list of roles, such as dusting for fingerprints on burglarized cars, teaching bicycle safety, patrolling public lands on horseback, or answering the phone at the Public Safety Building’s front desk. www.scopespokanewa.org
Help City Hall
Why fight it, if you can make it work better? City government would grind to a halt without volunteers to serve on its boards and commissions. See the amazing range of civic opportunities at www.spokanecity.org/ government/bcc.
Build a house
Jimmy Carter did it for his second act. So can anyone else who likes to swing a hammer for a good cause. Spokane’s Habitat for Humanity helps needy families build homes. www.habitat-spokane.org