Be the Change - Bellingham seeks volunteers just like you!

You. Yes, you! You have a set of skills and experiences unlike anyone else. Maybe you radiate positive energy, are creative, work well with your hands, are passionate about helping others, or seek justice relentlessly  – whatever it is, you are needed. Your skills render you an invaluable individual to organizations that pride themselves to better the community. Volunteering is a great way to help others (while also helping yourself!) Helpguide writes in Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits, volunteering can increase self-confidence, combat depression, helps make new friends and contacts, can increase your social and relationship skills, provides career experience and teaches valuable job skills! Whether you have already found your passion or are still waiting for something to speak to you, this guide will give you a taste of the organizations in Bellingham seeking volunteers just like you.

 

Bellingham Food Bank

The Bellingham Food Bank is an organization dedicated to ending hunger. According to their website, "For the past 40 years, we have served as a hub, connecting our neighbors and emergency food providers with a steady supply of nutritious groceries, fresh food, and a smile." They are always looking for volunteers to help meet their mission. They write, "Volunteers are here when the doors open and when they are closed at the end of the day. We need volunteers at our downtown site and in our agricultural programs. You will make friends while making a difference." Another way to benefit their cause is by joining their Hunger Response Team, which is responsible for contact with elected officials regarding their efforts to end hunger. Interested?  Volunteer now! 

 

Bellingham Senior Activity Center

The Bellingham Senior Activity Center is an organization that coordinates health and wellness programs for senior citizens. Their classes and activities include educational seminars, card games, recreation, music and dancing, artistic opportunities, writing and discussion, wellness and fitness programs. They write, "Volunteering is a great way to meet people and get involved with the Bellingham Senior Activity Center." Most volunteers work less than four hours per week, and there are opportunities to work as a substitute if you cannot make a commitment to a regular shift. A few of their many volunteer possibilities are assisting with the front reception area, helping out with the musical groups, driving for meals on wheels, leading tours and volunteering with open gym. Visit their site to learn more about their volunteer opportunities. 

 

Lydia Place

Lydia Place is a community-based agency committed to serving homeless families. They provide transitional housing, permanent supportive housing placement, case management, advocacy and education, life skills classes and resource referrals. Whether you are looking for a short project or a long term commitment, Lydia Place is happy to host volunteers. Their volunteer positions include client support staff (creating a safe and friendly environment, tasks vary based on volunteer), children's program assistant (working with children to help foster interpersonal skills and self control), transportation assistant (transporting families from essential errands and appointments), moving assistant (helping families with the move-in process), and landscaping assistants. Check out their website to learn more!

 

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS)

Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services is a non-profit that provides support to individuals who have experienced violence or assault. DVSAS provides advocacy counseling, support groups, legal assistance, community trainings and referrals. According to their website, "DVSAS has many volunteer and internship opportunities, including one-time projects and ongoing commitments.  Whether you are interested in working directly with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault or helping with special events, you’ll find many opportunities to participate in helping address and end violence in our community." To become a volunteer advocate and work with clients directly, you must complete a training program. However, DVSAS is often looking for volunteers to assist with business operations. Check out their volunteer page to learn more. 

 

Alternative Humane Society

The Alternative Humane Society is a non-profit dedicated to improving the lives of dogs and cats and helping them find and stay in permanent loving homes. According to their website, their goals are "to make Whatcom County a community where no healthy adoptable animals are euthanized. To prevent unwanted dog and cat births through spay and neuter assistance. To cultivate respect and awareness for the needs of animals through education. To advocate for the humane treatment of dogs and cats in all areas of life." The AHS has many volunteer opportunities, some requiring a larger time commitment than others. A few programs that are in need of volunteers are Spay/Neuter assistance, education, canine foster/adoption program and community cats program. Visit their website to learn more about these programs. 

 

Max Higbee Center

The Max Higbee Center provides recreation programs for individuals with developmental disabilities ages 14 and older. If you visit their website you will find that "The Max Higbee Center envisions a caring, inclusive, respectful, and thriving community where people are empowered to grow, develop, and enrich their lives through recreation activities and the relationships they create." They offer five permanent programs; a weekend drop-in program, community access program, SPIN dances, 365 Fitness Program and a daytime drop-in program. The Center is always looking for dedicated volunteers. Check out their Volunteer page to learn more.

 

Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center

The Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center offers "conflict prevention and intervention services for businesses, organizations, individuals, and families. On a prevention level, the WDRC seeks to build the capacity of community members to better manage conflict as it arises, and to learn ways to minimize the possibility of it occurring. To this end, the WDRC offers training for adults and youth, all in an effort to build skills and reduce unproductive conflict." Currently, the WDRC is seeking volunteers to fill the following positions: youth program facilitators, outreach and administrative assistants, mediators, custodians and board members. To learn more about these opportunities visit their website

As these organizations demonstrate, there is a huge need for volunteers in a diverse array of fields here in Bellingham. Whether you enjoy mentoring kids, doing administrative work, prefer being around animals or like working directly with other individuals, there is a volunteer opportunity out there for you!

“Be the change you wish to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi