The holiday season tends to bring out the best in people, as we find that extra dollar in our pocket to drop into the Salvation Army bucket, pull together a bag of gently worn clothing to give to a local shelter, buy Christmas gifts for a family in need or help out in other ways.
But you don’t have to wait for December to give back. Needham has many organizations that offer support for children, families, seniors and others year-round, and they can always use more help.
Needham Patch dropped by the Volunteer Opportunities Fair on Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Needham Free Public Library to check out a few of the places around town where residents could give their time. Here’s a look at nine of those locations:
- Located at: 59 East Militia Heights Rd., Needham
- Serves: The Charles River Center offers programs for children and adults with developmental disabilities.
- Type of work: Volunteers are needed for a variety of programs, including help with employment services, therapeutic day services such as music therapy, arts and crafts, music, cooking and exercise activities and special events such as teen dances and the Ellie Bloom Special Olympics. Volunteers also can assist with Charles River Center’s Community Living Program by becoming a buddy, sharing a hobby or helping a resident around the house.
- Learn more: Call 781-972-1000 or visit www.charlesrivercenter.org.
- Located at: 51 Lincoln St., Needham
- Serves: The Community Council supports the people of Needham though health, educational and social programs.
- Type of work: Volunteers are needed as tutors for Needham residents and employees for whom English is a second language, to work with the Child Assault Prevention program, to help transport residents to medical appointments, to help out at the Community Council Food Pantry and Thrift Shop, to provide clerical support and grounds assistance and to help out with special projects. High school and middle school age volunteers are also welcome.
- Learn more: Call 781-444-2415, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.needhamcommunitycouncil.org.
3. Needham Public Schools
- Located at: Various schools in Needham
- Serves: Needham students
- Type of work: Volunteers are matched with the best position for their skills. Positions include working with high school students in the Math Resource Room, working with middle school students who are struggling in math or science, assisting elementary school teachers in the classroom and helping out at the Needham Science Center. Additional opportunities could include providing homework help, being a guest reader, working as a recess aide, helping direct traffic in school parking lots and others. All volunteers must undergo a Criminal Offender Record Information check.
- Learn more: Contact Amy Goldman, Community Volunteer Program director, at 781-455-0400 ext. 214 or email Amy_Goldman@needham.k12.ma.us.
4. Needham Public Health Department
- Located at: , 1471 Highland Ave., Needham
- Serves: Needham residents
- Type of work: The Needham Medical Reserve Corps recruits, trains and mobilizes a community-based group of volunteers during emergency health situations or to help with local public health needs throughout the year. The Corps welcomes public health professionals, practicing retired or otherwise employed health professionals and others who are interested in assisting their community. Also, the Public Health Department is in need of people to help with its daily traveling meals program. The program needs people to set up meals for delivery between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. on weekdays and people to deliver the meals between 11:00 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. on weekdays.
- Learn more: For the Medical Reserve Corps, call 781-455-7523 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. For Traveling Meals, call 781-455-7523 ext. 257.
5. Relay For Life of Needham, Dedham and Wellesley
- Located at: on Dedham Avenue in Needham
- Serves: The annual Relay For Life raises awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.
- Type of work: Volunteers are needed to help organize and run the event, scheduled this year for June 16-17, and teams are needed to raise funds and participate.
- Learn more: Visit www.relayforlife.org/needhamma.
- Located at: 1139 Highland Ave., Needham
- Serves: Needham residents
- Type of work: Volunteers are needed at the library to help shelve books and audiovisual materials, shelf read and search shelves for missing materials. Also, desk volunteers are needed to help out at the circulation desk, working one- to two-hour shifts on a regular schedule.
- Learn more: Call the assistant director at 781-455-7559 ext. 203
7. Circle of Hope
- Located at: 65 Rosemary St., Needham
- Serves: Circle of Hope supports a number of food and shelter programs in the greater Boston area and also operates the International Medical Team, which provides medical care in rural Haiti.
- Type of work: Volunteer drivers are needed to deliver donated goods to Boston area programs and homeless shelters, and helpers are needed to sort and package donated clothing, household goods and medical supplies.
- Learn more: Call 781-449-3700 or visit www.circleofhopeonline.org.
8. Neighbor Brigade
- Located at: Needham
- Serves: The Needham Neighbor Brigade is a growing network of volunteers that assists individuals and families in temporary crises.
- Type of work: Volunteers are needed to join the Brigade and offer a variety of services including preparing and delivering meals, grocery shopping, running errands, providing transportation for medical appointments, helping with child care or household chores, taking care of a family pet or offering a simple act of kindness.
- Learn more: Call Jo-Ann Rosen at 781-449-1507, email NeedhamMA@neigbhorbrigrade.org or visit www.neighborbrigade/chapters/needham.
9. Needham Council on Aging
- Located at: , 83 Pickering St., Needham
- Serves: Needham seniors
- Type of work: One way volunteers can help is through the Friendly Visitor Program—individuals are matched to seniors based on their mutual interests and hobbies and spend time visiting with the seniors. (All Friendly Visitors must pass a background check and provide acceptable references.) There are many other opportunities to volunteer, including but not limited to helping in the kitchen, working at the reception desk, assisting with special events, working as SHINE counselors and helping out on trips.
- Learn more: For information about the Friendly Visitor Program, call Joan DeFinis at 781-455-7555 ext. 212. For information about other volunteer programs, call 781-455-7555.