Plenty of ways to give back

‘Tis the season to be giving. Regardless of any religious or holiday affiliation, the dark days at the end of December are the perfect time to try giving back to your community. Throughout the Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor areas, there are many places and opportunities where your help is wanted and needed.

One such place that is in need of your help is SOS Community Services, located at 101 S. Huron St. in Ypsilanti. SOS offers three different programs for families who are homeless.

SOS offers a Shelter program, with a maximum of a three month stay so that families can get back on their feet. There is also Transitional Housing that is available for up to two years where the families pay 30 percent of their income towards rent and SOS covers the difference. Finally, SOS offers Housing First, in which they help families find homes that are affordable for them.

As far as volunteering goes, SOS is looking for people in three different skill areas. For future teachers and people looking for experience with kids, try the area of child services. It includes the position of an after-school tutor for kids in grades K-12, or transport assistants to monitor kids on the bus to and from the daycare center.

Requiring two hours of training, you can also work with kids between the ages of 6-9 on Tuesdays at 3:30 p.m., and Monday’s at the same time for kids ages 9-12. For both days, volunteers are needed to work with kids to improve literacy skills and work on creative art projects.

If you’re more of a public relations person, you might be interested in working at SOS’s administration office as an event planner or receptionist. But, if your expertise lies elsewhere, you are welcomed to volunteer for housing-services, where you’ll have the option of being a greeter who works with the families on filling out documentation. You may also like to distribute food and personal care items to families, though it requires a 32-hour training period.

If you like the idea of helping provide people with food, you might be interested in the organization, No Kid Hungry. Though the headquarters of the organization is located in Washington D.C., you have the option of helping kids in Ann Arbor.

The No Kid Hungry program is a little different from your average community service program. No Kid Hungry puts the volunteers in charge, offering different suggestions for programs that you could start in your community to either raise money or to directly help address problems.

One of the potential programs that No Kid Hungry suggests is for you to teach a course in healthy eating. No Kid Hungry provides you with the necessities in order to help local families learn how to make yummy, yet healthy foods.

No Kid Hungry also offers opportunities for you to do some community service, while having a ton of fun on a night out. For instance, No Kid Hungry has Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation where you can get tickets for which the proceeds go directly to the organization.

Another organization that encourages volunteers to have fun while helping out the community is called One Brick, which is located in Detroit.

While Detroit is a little bit farther away from our local community, the organization has multiple little events posted on their website’s calendar. One Brick invites any and all people who would like to volunteer to pick an event to help out with. The events include Breakfast with Santa, Girls 5K Run, serving meals and many more.

If you are interested in helping out with any of the organizations mentioned, you can gain more information from their websites:

SOS: www.soscs.org/

No Kid Hungry: www.nokidhungry.org/

One Brick: detroit.onebrick.org/

Also, if you’re not in the Metro Detroit, Ann Arbor or Ypsilanti areas over the break, try looking around your hometown. Most likely, there are some people in your hometown who really need your help.


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