Get Your Volunteer Hours With These Great Organizations

Every year, I come up with a long list of resolutions: learn a new word every day, only eat sweets on Tuesdays, ask people more questions about themselves. On and on the list goes, until I have one full page of resolutions that I print out and hang up on a bulletin board. Yet each year, struggle to follow even one New Year’s Resolution, as I become overwhelmed by them all. So I’ve decided to do something different, and instead of coming up with a long unattainable list, I’m focusing on one goal this year; to help out in the community more.

Whether you want to get more involved this year or are looking for volunteer hours, the following organizations were founded in Cincinnati and will give you a smile as you give your time.

WordPlay Cincy

After Libby Hunter confronted boys on the corner of a neighborhood street who were throwing rocks, she had the brilliant idea to engage youth through reading and writing, fostering creativity and honing language skills in children that would benefit them throughout life. In 2012 Elissa Yancey and Libby Hunter founded WordPlay Cincy, a nonprofit organization that connects children and teens to artists and educators through workshops, classes, and events.

Every aspiring volunteer needs to attend a one-hour long orientation, undergo a background check, and then schedule your first volunteer shift and training for it. They often hold events throughout the week, but workshops and classes are typically held on weekends. If you’re a lover of reading, writing, the arts, or children, then this organization is definitely one worth looking into!

Heartfelt Tidbits

In 2008, Sheryl Rajbhandari met the first Bhutanese refugee family that arrived in Cincinnati, and shortly after, Heartfelt Tidbits was created. Heartfelt Tidbits is an organization that connects refugees and immigrants with the people of Cincinnati, enabling them to gain knowledge and settle into the Queen City. This amazing organization helps refugees learn English, find jobs, fill out paperwork, introduces them to best places to find groceries, get a tire fixed, and build connections in the community.

Some of Heartfelt Tidbits’ programs include a community garden that teaches refugees how to compost and garden while producing fresh fruits and vegetables for local food pantries. Additionally, every Friday an English learning and citizenship program is held at North Presbyterian Church that over 65 refugees attend. Heartfelt Tidbits also connects refugees to other programs including preparing for college, sewing classes, field trips, art, parenting classes, and summer camp programs. If you're interested in volunteering, fill out this form and email it to [email protected].

The Welcome Project

Founded by Sheryl Rajbhandari of Heartfelt Tidbits and Cal Cullen of the Wave Pool Art Gallery, The Welcome Project enables refugee and immigrant women to express themselves through art, while furthering their artistic abilities and teaching them about business and retail. There are three different projects to The Welcome Project; the Welcome Shop, Welcome Editions, and Welcome Housing. According to The Welcome Project’s website, the Welcome Shop, “...will sell art and craft objects created by refugees and immigrants living in Cincinnati to increase confidence and economic opportunity.” On the other hand, “Welcome Editions (WE) are limited edition art objects designed by nationally recognized artists and fabricated by the refugee and immigrant women of the Welcome Project.” One of the larger parts of the Welcome Project includes Welcome Housing, which will consist of eight refurbished affordable apartments for refugees and immigrants. As tenants pay rent on time, they will receive credits that will later be exchanged for the purchase of a home.

The Welcome Project is currently looking for volunteers who are willing to clean, help with the storefront, transport people to the different programs, and teach skills. If you’re interested, you can fill out the form and message here.

RISE

Rise Up News is a newspaper with an origin story as significant as its purpose. After battling opiate addiction and experiencing incarceration, homelessness, and panhandling, Tracy reached out for help. With two years of intense recovery, she started volunteering and mentoring women in the Hamilton County Justice Center. It was while volunteering at this jail, that the idea for RISE was born. The first issue of RISE, “The Recovery Issue”, was published in September last year. Each month after that, RISE has released another issue, the second one was “The Housing Issue”, the third “The Employment Issue”,  and the fourth published in December, “The Holiday Issue”. Not only does each issue provide resources on each topic it covers, but shares stories of people who are struggling with or have overcome addiction, unemployment, homelessness. You can read the issues here and learn more about this necessary and motivating organization.

If you want to volunteer, RISE is looking for people who like writing, photography, videography, volunteering at events, administrative work, distributing newspapers and help people RISE up. Check out the form here!

Give Back Cincinnati

Give Back Cincinnati is a social volunteer organization that focuses on assisting all-day or weekend community projects within the Cincinnati area. Projects include anything from cleaning to fundraising. What’s fun about this organization is that the group of volunteers goes out afterward to celebrate a job well done, giving you a chance to bond with the people you just met and build a network full of people passionate about service. Even between projects, Give Back Cincinnati hosts meetups for their volunteers!

They also have domestic and international service trips that people have the opportunity to go on. If this organization sounds like a fit for you, check out the event calendar here, and if you click on an event, you’ll be able to sign up for it.

 

In addition to the above organizations, below are also some more you should check out:

Freestore Foodbank

Matthew 25 Ministries

Habitat for Humanity

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Ronald McDonald House

Bethany House

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”    Howard Zinn

 

 

 

 

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