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SENIOR VOLUNTEERING

12 Golden Opportunities to Serve

Published in the October 2022 Issue Published online: Oct 06, 2022 Senior Living
Viewed 101 time(s)

BY IFM STAFF



LOOKING FOR A POST-CAREER ACTIVITY in Idaho Falls to fill your time and feed your soul? These possibilities will help get you started.

Whether you’re freshly retired or well into your golden years, few activities can be as rewarding as volunteer work in your local community. As our friends at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center have so aptly declared, volunteering “not only helps others but helps the person doing the volunteering. It boosts self-esteem, expands your connections, makes you feel good, contributes to a longer life, gives purpose and combats stress. That is a win-win-win.”

Fortunately, East Idaho has no shortage of openings, running the gamut from healthcare and youth services to civic projects, the arts, animal welfare and even serving fellow retirees. Consider these examples, drawn straight from volunteer postings throughout the area:

1. United Way of Bonneville County, www.unitedwayif.org

Interested in early education of children in East Idaho? Help out by providing local kids with free books. United Way of Bonneville County is looking for a volunteer to dedicate 3-4 hours for one day a week to help with sorting, sanitizing and stickering donated books, as well as new scholastic books as they come into the office.

2. Idaho Falls Rescue Mission, www.ifrescuemission.org

Joyfully serving a meal is at the heart of Idaho Falls Rescue Mission’s Serving Hope ministry. It’s amazing what a smile and a hot plate of food can do for individuals and families who are struggling and working to get back on their feet. An evening community meal is served at 6 p.m., 365 evenings a year and typically feeds 100-150. Volunteers typically visit the pantry to pull food and set it aside 2-3 days prior to their shift to allow time for the meat to thaw and to ensure the items needed are secured and ready.

3. EIRMC’s Volunteer Army, www.eirmc.com

Volunteering is a critical part of healthcare in general and has a special place at Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center. Volunteers drive the shuttle, escort patients, cuddle babies, tend to those waiting for loved ones and visit with patients and visitors. EIRMC also has non-denominational chaplains who help people with their spiritual needs, as well as Intermountain Therapy Animal Teams who bring their dogs in to brighten someone’s day.

4. Mountain View Hospital, www.mountainview-hospital.com

MVH volunteers come from all walks of life, bringing a variety of skills and abilities with them to help improve the lives of others. Volunteers include retirees, professionals, former patients, homemakers, military personnel and students who share a common goal: to help others.

Currently the hospital is looking for volunteers wanting and willing to provide exceptional customer service to the patients, guests and staff. Specific opportunities are available for volunteers to greet guests, serve patients and provide clerical expertise.

5. City of Idaho Falls, www.idahofallsidaho.gov

Our city on the river has a long history of volunteering within the community. Volunteers help with youth activities, city-sponsored events, cleanup efforts, walking dogs at the animal-control building, planting new flower beds in municipal parks and much more. The Idaho Falls Zoo is especially welcoming to volunteers, with opportunities ranging from animal care to gardening, setting up exploration stations, working with keepers and assisting with special events.

Volunteer advisory boards and committees cover a wide range of topics such as park beautification, golf courses, ice rink, shade trees and recreation programming.

6. Bureau of Land Management, www.blm.gov/get-involved

From April through September, volunteers are needed at the front desk at the Eastern Idaho Visitor Information Center, 425 N Capital, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. answering phones and questions. Training is provided.

7. Snake River Animal Shelter, www.snakeriveranimalshelter.org

SRAS and the shelter animals would not thrive without the help of its many generous volunteers. Opportunities include cleaning the facility, kennel care, dishes, laundry, dog-walking, animal enrichment, administrative support, event support and more.

8. Community Food Basket-Idaho Falls, www.communityfoodbasketidahofalls.org

Formerly known as the Idaho Falls Community Food Bank, CFBIF began in 1980 as a community effort among several churches to meet the emergency needs of their church members. Today, CFBIF works to meet the emergency food needs of families and individuals facing food-insecurity in the greater Idaho Falls area. Currently, it serves over 850 families monthly, with some months exceeding 1,000 families (over 4,000 individuals). Each day, volunteers from around the community unload new food shipments, organize food boxes and much more. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the organization, and they can always use more hands to help lighten the load.

9. Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership, www.eicap.org

This service organization thrives on extensive volunteer support. Its Head Start Program needs volunteers to assist in the classroom and during family literacy programs and special events. Its Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP )works with Medicare beneficiaries, their families and caregivers to prevent, detect and report health care fraud, errors and abuse through outreach, counseling and education.

Looking to help out your fellow seniors? One of EICAP’s most consequential programs is VOICE: Volunteer Ombudsman Improving Care for our Elders. Its goal: to improve the quality of care and make a difference in the lives of elders who live in long-term-care facilities. Volunteers are trained and assigned to a facility to visit weekly, advocate and help solve problems for residents. Volunteers are also needed to work in the preschool centers Tuesday through Friday in Idaho Falls, Blackfoot, Rexburg, Driggs and Salmon.

10. Idaho Falls Senior Citizens Center, www.ifsccc.org

Have a “drive” to help seniors in your community? Consider giving an hour of your day to help deliver meals. The Idaho Falls Senior Center administers the local Meals on Wheels Nutrition Program, which delivers approximately 220 meals each day, Monday through Friday. You would use your own vehicle, but you can receive mileage reimbursement. On a typical day, you would deliver about a dozen meals in a small area. You would choose your day, or days, you would like to volunteer.

Other opportunities are available to help out with “fit and fallproof” classes, line dancing, woodcarving, all sorts of cards, and many other activities.

11. The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho, www.theartmuseum.org

Better known as TAM, The Art Museum showcases rotating art exhibits, acquires and displays artwork–particularly works by Idaho artists–and provides extensive art educational opportunities. As a result of these ambitions, TAM is always in need of volunteers. Opportunities include helping with special projects and special events, assisting with tours and classes, assisting in maintaining the grounds and assisting at the front desk and gift shop. Volunteering at the museum is a great way to meet people in the art community, learn new skills and enjoy the exhibits. It also provides an important service to the Idaho Falls community by helping connect people of all ages with art.

12. Idaho Falls Arts Council, www.idahofallsarts.org

The IFAC hosts a broad spectrum of events, arts, performances and venues to feature local and international talent within Idaho Falls and its surrounding areas. It manages four important properties: the Willard Arts Center, the historic Colonial Theater, the ARTitorium and the Civic Center for the Performing Arts.

At the ARTitorium, volunteers help with field trips and events. Volunteers need to be comfortable with technology and small children and have good communication skills. Volunteers are also often needed to help with a variety of tasks at the Colonial Theater and Willard Arts Center, including show ushers. Volunteer hours can be exchanged for show tickets.


Online Resources

Looking to broaden your search? In addition to specific opportunities with local organizations, you can find a gold mine of volunteer announcements through a variety of catch-all websites that pool together resources from around the state (and the world, for that matter).

www.justserve.org

www.volunteermatch.com


www.benefits.gov


www.vomo.org


www.breadoflifeint.org


www.serve.idaho.gov

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