Volunteer at Social Service Agencies
Social Service is personal assistance to those in need. Examples include assistance to Second Harvest in sorting food, volunteering with Habitat for Humanity to build homes, or working directly with the homeless through groups like Rock for Hunger.
The Social Services Coordinator will maintain a list of volunteer opportunities on the website. The purpose of the list is to inform church members of various social service opportunities currently available in the community. All agencies listed will be seeking assistance from volunteers, or donation of specific items, such as food or school supplies.
Agencies with volunteer opportunities will be listed in three groups:
1. Currently being scheduled regularly by a church member, such as Second Harvest.
2. A church member has researched or has experience with this group, and can provide additional information.
3. A list of links to appropriate social service agencies. These groups are likely to be recognized by many in our congregation. Interested members will do their own review. [Not yet started]
If members have volunteer experience, they may wish to provide feedback to John Hartgering, the SJCC Social Services Coordinator, so our list can be expanded.
1. Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida www.foodbankcentralflorida.org
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida collects and distributes donated food to more than 600 nonprofit partner agencies in six Central Florida counties. They rely on more than 7,900 volunteers, whose hours total over 31,000, every year to fulfill their mission. First Unitarian members have volunteered with Second Harvest at their Orlando warehouse on a regular basis. Arranged and scheduled by Steph Garber.
2. Habitat for Humanity of Orlando www.habitat-orlando.org
Habitat Orlando is the local affiliate for a national not-for-profit, Christian organization dedicated to transforming the lives of low-income, hard working families by providing them the tools to become successful homeowners. These families join in partnership with volunteers of all faiths, funded by local communities of faith, businesses and civic groups, to build new homes, strengthen neighborhoods and improve our community. Habitat Orlando is currently building in several Orlando neighborhoods. John Hartgering will be working with the Orlando affiliate this fall to determine how our congregation can best be involved in their program on a scheduled basis. Learn more...
3. Central Florida Coalition for the Homeless www.centralfloridahomeless.org
Coalition for the Homeless of Central Florida was created in 1987 by a group of concerned citizens, and is now the largest provider of homeless services in Central Florida. Their mission is to address the needs of the homeless in our community and to serve as a catalyst for community collaboration to end homelessness. The Coalition is able to help nearly 600 people each day, including men, women and children. They are one of the few emergency shelters that accept intact families in Central Florida. On any given night, the Coalition provides services to nearly 200 children, with an average age of six years old. Last year, the Coalition served nearly 300,000 meals. Supported by The Alliance. The Alliance currently prepares sandwiches for the Coalition monthly.
(See also Health Care for the Homeless, a separate non-profit agency providing medical and dental services to the homeless population. www.hcch.org)
4. Florida Guardian ad Litem Program www.GuardianadLitem.org
In Florida, there are tens of thousands of children who have been abused, neglected or abandoned by the adult in their life and are a part of the dependency system. The Guardian ad Litem Program helps these children through volunteers – currently the Program has 7,000 volunteers who give a voice in court to thousands of children. A Guardian ad Litem (GAL) is appointed by the court to advocate for a child. Most of these children have been removed from their homes because of alleged abuse, abandonment or neglect. The GAL becomes familiar with the child and the child's case and makes recommendations to the court to help ensure a safe, caring, stable and permanent environment. Many more volunteers are needed. Please contact current volunteer Dick Gilbert for further information.
5. Tutoring and Mentoring: Howard Middle School
Two programs at Howard Middle School are looking for volunteers at this time to support mentoring and tutoring efforts at the school. Each requires an application to the Orange County Public Schools to be a volunteer, for which there is no cost.
Tutoring Program: Howard Middle School has a no tolerance policy regarding missed homework, or failing tests or homework. A student who needs to work on missed, incomplete or failed assignments is sent to the Tutoring Room during his or her elective classes. The volunteer tutor is available in the Tutoring Room and works with students as they arrive. There is always a paid staff person in the room. Volunteers choose their times; some weeks are busier than others.
Mentoring Program: The mentor meets with the student once per week during the student’s lunch period, between 11:10 am and 1:28 p.m. The entire session is approximately 40 minutes. The student will eat lunch and then spend the remainder of the time with the mentor on an activity that interests the student (ex. calligraphy, drawing, a game, music). A mentor commits to the student until the end of the school year. Mentors receive support from Linda Johnson, Howard’s Mentoring Coordinator.
See the Orange County Public Schools website for more information about volunteering in the school system at the following link: www.volunteer.ocps.net