Meow!

How many times have you heard someone say they like animals better than people?  Well, as someone that has said that before, I understand.  That does not mean you get a pass on volunteering, some might even argue need it more than others.  That’s for a different blog, but we can find many historical figures the welfare of animals at least equal to that of humans, and others that taught us to love each other, we MUST love our animal friends.

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I have done a little work at the Rohnert Park animal shelter in High School.  Im a life-long dog person, and have cared for several cats, rats, gerbils, hamsters, and rabbits too.  So why does this matter?  As an animal lover, it was emotionally very hard for me to be in an animal shelter, until I focused on the altruistic goal of making life a little better for these animals.  By the end of my stint there, I not only felt better for what I had done, but I had a deepened respect for those who do volunteer work with animals.

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I have also done much work with Forgotten Felines of Sonoma County.  The greatest joy was my feline friend Nick.  He was an old boy, that had not been neutered, and probably never saw a veterinarian.  We trapped him and the rest of his colony, before their area was bulldozed and cleared for construction.  After receiving shots, and veterinary care, the colony was relocated, but Nick came home with me.  He lived many more healthy years.  By the time he passed away, he was following me like a dog, and allowed every stranger to pet him after the obligatory leg rubs he would perform, no one ever suspecting he was a feral animal before.

Here’s a partial list of links to various Sonoma County animal charities, that want volunteers.  Enjoy!

Sonoma Co. Animal Services

Sonoma Humane Society

Rohnert Park Anima Shelter

Pets LifeLine

Forgotten Felines of Sonoma Co.

Fawn Rescue (deer rescue)

Sonoma Equine Rescue Rehab and Adoption (horses)

Wildlife Rescue Sonoma Co.

 

 

 

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Happy Graduation!!

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theparkonline.com

I’m gonna take a little detour from volunteer activities for everyone.  But don’t be discouraged, maybe I’ll inspire some of you find your own special way to volunteer.  The school year is coming to an end, I only have two more classroom sessions, YAY!!!

It’s not just the end of the semester for me, its the end of high school for so many Seniors all over Sonoma County, and graduation night is always a big party.  Project Graduation is a safe and fun way for all theses graduating high-schoolers to celebrate the event with each other and make sure that graduation day does not end in tragedy.

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bestevents.us

Project Graduation is a party that is chaperoned by parents and volunteers free from drinking, drugs and driving.  Usually the grads are expected to arrive by a certain time at the event and cannot leave until the next morning.  There is food, music and fun event at the venues.  Each High School will have variations of what and how the event is thrown, but the idea is the same.

There are Project Graduation pages for almost every high school in Sonoma County, and almost all of them rightfully boast that there has not been any fatalities associated with graduation celebrations at the school since participating in Project Graduation.  Most schools, solicit help from the parents of the underclassmen, so that the parents of the seniors can be at home packing their grads belongings in boxes, to get the out of the house the next morning.  Just kidding!  There may not be many of you that can volunteer at theses events, but after all the consideration I have given to the various volunteer opportunities associated with raising happy, healthy, productive children, I cannot ignore this event that is about the take place.

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Congrats to any high school grads that are reading this!  Congrats to the parents that got there kids this far! Let’s get them onto the next steps of life safely.

Here is a few of the local Project Graduation pages for the various schools.  If your’s is not here, search for it or start one.

Santa Rosa High School

Roseland Prep

Petaluma High School

Cotati-Rohenrt  Park

 

We the people…. feed the people

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Thanksgiving Food Drive.  Canned Food Drive.  Christmas Food Drive.  Donation barrels at the stores, or at work.  These are some of the times we either empty our pantry or we buy extra non-perishables at the store.  Drop of the donations, smile and walk away until next time we are reminded give.  Im not knocking it, I wish I wish I could give more, and I am proud of my friends and neighbors that do.  What happens to the food?  Where does it go and who gets it there?

There are dozens of food charities in Sonoma County, this website lists 150 food banks in Santa Rosa alone.  As I read about some of these charities, many of them report that they are 100% volunteer operated.  Almost all of them ask for volunteer help and give contact information.  That being said there are too many for me to describe them all.  I’ll just randomly profile a few that have volunteer opportunities now.

* Food for Thought has the mission of serving those with HIV/AIDS and other critical illnesses.  They have multiple types of volunteer positions listed.

* Redwood Empire Food Bank has an online calendar listing times that they need support.  They are a regional charity that works with the American Red Cross.

* The F.I.S.H. food pantry in Santa Rosa has daily shifts that need help along with many other positions listed.

* This Sonoma County Task Force for the Homeless web page is a list of food related links to area charities.

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One more idea!  We live in an abundant agricultural county, my garden always gives me more than I can eat.  Most of the time I find friends to share with, or I bring the bounty in work for anyone to take what they want.  A few times, I had so much produce I found food banks that would take my extras.  It wasn’t easy to find a food bank to take fresh vegetables, but who said this is supposed to be easy.  Moral of the story… you can be a “volunteer farmer” from your own garden and share the fruits of the ground we live on.

Sunbathing While you Volunteer

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Summertime sunshine is approaching, all I want to do is go outside and play.  Skip rocks, and swim in the lakes.  Hike the miles of trails, climb the mountains.  Watch the shapes in the clouds, listen to the birds and spy upon the deer.  Nothing like feeling the warmth of the sun and coolness of the water.   Hopefully I get a chance to share stories with those I pass on the trails, maybe help someone in need…. Oh yeah!  This blog is about volunteer work.  Time to stop daydreaming a get back to the mundane labors of life, no fun here.

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parks.sonomacounty.ca.gov

Just kidding!  There is lots of fun to have here in Sonoma County, and although you cant really call a day of self-serving play volunteer work, you can (and I think you should) put some of your goodwill efforts into helping while you enjoy and preserve the natural paradise we live in here.  I made a quick search of volunteer opportunities here in Sonoma County that will get you outdoors having fun and helping those around you.

  • The City of Santa Rosa’s Volunteer in Park page has several different way to help
  • The Creek Stewardship Program is also run the City of Santa Rosa, helping with the many creeks that run through the city
  • The Laguna de Santa Rosa Foundation has several different types of volunteer positions that help the 250 square mile watershed of the Santa Rosa Valley (this is really neat site if you don’t know much about the Laguna)
  • Sonoma County Regional Parks has positions and special days set aside for volunteers
  • volunteer.gov listed this position at Lake Sonoma partnering with the State of California and the Army Corp of Engineers
  • The Natural Resource Volunteer Program that is ran by the California Department of Fish and Game is a long term commitment, were you go through extensive training and assist in many ways
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These are only a few of the opportunities I found, but maybe most important, is the idea that you can “give back” and have fun at the same time if you want.

How do books get put away?

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Recently I was doing several projects for my job at the Main Branch of the Sonoma County Library.  At different times during the project, I noticed that there were sometimes more volunteers, than employees working in the building.  Whenever I had to work near them, they were truly happy and diligently working, no goofing off with this crowd.  I wasn’t glamorous work, they were moving books around the library, putting books away, sending extra books out to sell, sorting through donated books.  The work was detail oriented, but it was indoors in a quiet calm environment (its even quieter in the back rooms and basement of the library than it is in the public area, if you didn’t know).

I know that the Sonoma County Library is not technically a non-profit, its primary funding is from us the tax-payer.  But since I can remember, libraries everywhere are constantly losing funding and closing more locations.  They often try to make up their budgetary losses through donations, books sales, and utilizing volunteers.  The website for the Sonoma County Library system has a volunteer opportunity page that directs you to contact the branch directly that you are wanting to volunteer at, or to learn about the Library Friends or Library Foundation opportunities.  If you want to help adults learning to read, there is a chance to do that as well.  For teens that want work experience they have a program that is as little as two hours a week for ten weeks.

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I know I haven’t been inside a library to check out a book in many years.  I do not see any time in the future when I even might do that again.  But I do remember the many quiet conversations with Librarians teaching me how to find things, how to learn about things, and ultimately how to think.  Librarians were like one-on-one tutors for my mental explorations and discoveries, fueling my curiosity.  Not a word on this blog would have been possible without the help and guidance of the many Librarians and volunteers that made the libraries work.