Volunteer Center's new Web site makes it easy to sign up to lend a helping hand
There's no such thing as too many volunteers.
The Volunteer Center is trying to dispel misconceptions. Many people think there are only a few ways to help, according to Director Gabriele Beck.
"Sometimes when we think about volunteering, we think about certain things and we don't get beyond those certain things, but there's something for everyone," Beck said.
The center has launched a Web site making it easier for people to find a volunteering opportunity.
By visiting thevolunteercenter.com, people can find a variety of positions that appeal to almost any interest.
The options include golf cart driving, musicians, museum guide and Web site developer, among others.
The site includes one-time volunteering opportunities, as well as ongoing opportunities.
"We can always use more volunteers. Sometimes people tend to flock to certain opportunities, but tend to avoid the harder ones," Beck said.
Beck said it's especially hard to find volunteers to drive people, to deliver meals, and to work with people who are victims of crime or are dying.
Carol Lloyd, director of Erie County Senior Center, said it is also hard for the center to find drivers for its Meals-on-Wheels program.
"We have a shortage right now, especially drivers. We're not turning people away, but it takes other staff away from their duties," Lloyd said.
Lloyd said the center is always in need of more help.
"We like to start new programs. If we didn't have volunteers, I'm not sure the senior center would exist," Lloyd said.
One common misconception about volunteering is that it is a daily obligation.
"Sometimes people think for those type of positions they have to do it every day, but they can take a day a month," she said.
She also said there is no ideal age for volunteering.
Bob Hemminger, 87, has been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity since he was 70. He was surprised at how much he liked it.
"I thought I would give them a few bucks and help them once in awhile. I didn't know it would be a 16-or 17-year deal back then," Hemminger said.
He had a hand in the entire build from the foundation to the drywall, but he stays off the roof.
"A few years ago, they said I shouldn't be on the roof after 72, I said, 'Why didn't you tell me that 10 years ago?'"
For the youngsters interested in volunteering, Hemminger suggests not trying to do too much.
"I don't like to get into a lot of stuff. I like to get into one or two things and do it right," he said.