Do you enjoy helping others? Or do you feel gratified by helping to support a cause that you believe in? If so, then lending your time and talent as a volunteer may be right for you. As thousands of Allegheny County seniors have discovered, the opportunities for volunteering are as varied and plentiful as their interests—from reading, gardening, teaching children, caretaking other seniors and conserving wildlife to simply helping those less fortunate in a variety of ways. Whatever your talents, interests or available time, the perfect volunteer position is waiting for you. Political organizations, social clubs, food banks, churches, theatres, elementary schools, hospitals, nursing homes—they all need and want your help. Following are a few local organizations that use volunteers. Check with your favorite organization to see what kind of difference you can make.
Allegheny County Department of Human Services Area Agency on Aging (DHS/AAA)
2100 Wharton St., Second Floor
Pittsburgh, PA 15203
(412) 350-5460 or (800) 344-4319
Volunteer opportunities through DHS/AAA include clerical work, telephone assistance, friendly visits with seniors and helping to prepare and deliver meals to the homebound. Other opportunities include the following programs:
Ombudsmen are advocates for nursing home and personal care home residents; they help to resolve problems related to rights and quality of care.
Ombudsmen inform and educate seniors, service providers and the public about long-term care services and consumers’ rights. An ombudsman monitors the quality of care and services, as well as quality of life issues to ensure that seniors are being provided with appropriate care and services. A training process is involved which leads to state certification. To learn more about volunteering as an ombudsman, call one of the DHS/AAA numbers.
Senior Companion Program
The Senior Companion program provides assistance to older adults with physical, emotional or mental health limitations. These individuals have difficulty with daily living tasks, and Senior Companions help them retain their dignity and independence by providing regular, helpful visits. Senior Companions are ages 55 and older, and serve a minimum of 15 hours per week. Senior Companions receive a small stipend, travel reimbursement, meal allowance, volunteer insurance and free monthly in-service training on topics related to older adults. Senior Companions must have a physical exam and criminal background check prior to serving.
Distributes holiday gifts to children in Allegheny County who have experienced abuse and neglect. Donations of new gifts for children ages birth to 18 years are accepted year round. Financial donations are also accepted. During November and December, volunteers are needed to sort and distribute gifts.
Provides evening attire to high school students who may not be able to afford to attend school dances. Donations of evening wear and tuxedos are accepted from January to March. During the giveaway in April, female volunteers are needed to organize dresses at a downtown location and assist with being “personal shoppers” for girls looking for gowns.
Money in Your Pocket
The Money In Your Pocket Coalition organizes teams of students and retired and current professionals in the accounting field who volunteer during tax season (mid-January through April 15) to assist low-income wage-earners recover their maximum tax refund. Volunteers receive free training and may choose to work at one of several assistance locations. Volunteers are asked to assist a minimum of three hours per week. Volunteer recruitment occurs from November through early January.
American Red Cross Southwestern Pennsylvania Chapter
Community Impact (United Way of Allegheny County)
Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)
Girls Hope of Pittsburgh
Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank
In Service of Seniors: Pittsburgh
North Hills Community Outreach (NHCO) In Service of Seniors: North
OASIS Intergenerational Tutoring
Open Your Heart to a Senior/United Way of Southwestern PA
Many senior center members volunteer for center activities and community services. Additionally the Butler County Area Agency on Aging welcomes volunteers for the Ombudsman Program, APPRISE health insurance counseling and help with bulk mailings. Trainings for volunteer programs is provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging. Call : (724) 282-3008, (888) 367-2434 or visit co.butler.pa.us/butler for additional information.