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Foothills United Way in talks to acquire Volunteer Connection
Times-Call, June 2011

Give and Ye Shall Receive
Daily Camera, November 30, 2010

90-years-old and Still Mentoring Students
KUSA-TV, August, 2009

250 Volunteers Lend a Hand
in Boulder County
Times-Call, April, 2009

Volunteer Swarm Boulder County for Service Day
Daily Camera, April 25, 2009

Residents Encouraged to
Participate in 6th I Volunteer
April 10, 2009

Thriving During the Teenage Years - Community Volunteering for Teens

A Message from the Board of
County Commissioners
January 12, 2009

Note from the Superior Mayor
December, 2008

Day of Volunteering Helps Boulder County Projects
Daily Camera, September 27, 2008

I Volunteer Day - A great day for hard work
Daily Camera, September 20, 2008

Nova awards recognize nonprofits
Daily Camera, September 7, 2007

Today's Teen An Ace Volunteer
Denver Post, September 2, 2007

The Power of One
Daily Camera, July 30, 2007

I Volunteer day
Colorado Daily, April 23, 2007

Volunteers celebrate Earth Day
Boulder Camera, April 22,2007

5 Holly Questions
Boulder Camera, April 16,2007

Spring into service
Colorado Daily, April 15, 2007

Nonprofit Spotlight
Boulder Camera, April 13, 2007

Homeless - You can help in a
tangible way
Daily Camera, January 24, 2007

Business Philanthropy
Women's magazine
January, 2007

Laura Kinder - Executive
Director of Volunteer
Women's magazine
January, 2007

Theme For King Day
Daily Camera
January 15, 2007

Giving Goes Downhill

Join Me and the First Lady in
Helping Youth
Colorado Daily
November 1, 2006

Volunteer Connection to
Host Fundraiser
Daily Times-Cal

Volunteer Connection
Frazier Meadows, The Mirror

Jobs, purchases, extra time
spent helping others
Colorado Daily
August 27, 2006

City of Longmont Hosts
Volunteer Fair

Service in Bloom
Colorado Daily
April 30, 2006

Broadway building faces
Boulder Daily Camera
January 13, 2006

Filling Family Gaps -
Mentors provide support,
education to kids
Daily Times-Call
January 6, 2006

Make your list, check it
Boulder Daily Camera
December 5, 2005

Seniors put skills to work
by volunteering
Boulder Business
Report, November 25th-
December 8, 2005

What are the biggest
Colorado Daily
November 27, 2005

Charities Face A Hard
Sell Across Boulder
Boulder Daily Camera
October 20, 2005

Volunteer Connection
merges in Boulder
Daily Times-Call
October 14, 2005

Letter to the Editor
Boulder Daily Camera
August 28, 2005

Spreading the Wealth
Colorado Daily
August 10, 2005

Foothills United Way
Foundation awards
$75,000 in grants
August 5, 2005

"Drop in the Bucket"
Panel Members
Boulder Daily Camera
August 3, 2005

Web site of the day
Dirt, August 2, 2005

Nonprofits streamline
efforts with Web
Boulder County
Business Reports
May 27, 2005

Mentor Mania - Local Groups Combine To Search For Volunteers
Colorado Daily
January 24, 2005

Outsourcing - Sun Takes
Innovative Approach
to EVP
Volunteer Leadership,
Fall, 2004

Volunteers mark 9/11
anniversary with work
Boulder Daily Camera
September 12, 2004

City declares April 22 as "Volunteer-a-thon Day"
Boulder Daily Camera
April 22, 2004

Volunteering is giving
Boulder Daily Camera
April 12, 2004

Volunteer-a-thon to raise pledges of time
Boulder Daily Camera
April 4, 2004

Making the Connection
Colorado Daily,
December 22, 2003

Nonprofit Week
Longmont Times-Call,
March 12, 2003

Honor roll
Longmont Times-Call,
March 12, 2003

Conference seeks stronger ties to human-service agencies
Boulder Daily Camera,
March 8, 2003

Marlene Wilson - consultant makes volunteering work
Boulder Daily Camera,
January 18, 2003

Organizations need toiletries, food
Boulder Daily Camera,
November 28, 2002

Volunteer Connection: where families and opportunities meet
Parenting Place's Family Connection,
November, 2002

Blood Drive
Kingsbery-Baris-Vogel Newsletter, Winter 2002

Taking care of Colorado
Rocky Mountain Sports,
August 2002

The Volunteer Connection matches
Boulder County Business Report, May 2002

Parties with a purpose
Boulder Daily Camera,
November 2001

Foothills United Way in talks to acquire Volunteer Connection
By Magdalena Wegrzyn, Longmont Times-Call, June 11, 2011

Foothills United Way is in negotiations to acquire Volunteer Connection, a Boulder-based nonprofit that matches Boulder County residents with nonprofits and projects that need volunteers.

"It is such an important service for our community. We need to make certain that it remains available to our community," said Barbara Pingrey, president and CEO of Foothills United Way, a nonprofit that raises funds and develops programs to fill gaps in health and human services in Boulder and Broomfield counties.

Pingrey said both organizations have similar missions of mobilizing people and resources. "It's a logical coming together," she said.

Volunteer Connection was established in 1969 as a program of Foothills United Way. In 1984, it started to operate as a separate agency. It refers people to Boulder County agencies that need volunteers, supports volunteer managers at nonprofits and advocates for volunteerism.

Volunteer Connection board president Ann Tinkham said the organization has faced funding challenges over the past few years. "Most likely, we needed to partner within the next year to survive," she said.

The board voted June 3 to approve the merger with United Way, and the two organizations are working on the details, Tinkham said. Both parties said they hope to finalize plans by mid-July. If the acquisition is finalized, Volunteer Connection will once again become a program of Foothills United Way and would serve residents of Boulder and Broomfield counties, Pingrey said.

Pingrey said Volunteer Connection would keep both its name and mission and have at least an advisory committee that oversees it. Right now, Volunteer Connection employs one full-time and two part-time employees, and Pingrey said she did not yet know if staffing would be affected by the merger.

Tinkham said it is likely that Volunteer Connection will not continue to rent its building in Boulder, but will instead move into Foothills United Way's office in Lafayette.

As nonprofits see funding dollars shrink, many have relied on volunteers to fill in the gaps, and Volunteer Connection has seen an increase in agencies requesting volunteers, Tinkham said. The organization refers people to more than 400 agencies and programs each year, according to its website.

Rejoining Foothills United Way would allow the volunteer group to expand its range of services, including offering more volunteer opportunities for large corporations, Tinkham said.

"Our main thing was we wanted our services to continue because they're really valuable to the community. And we wanted them to not only continue but to move to the next level," Tinkham said.

Magdalena Wegrzyn can be reached at 303-684-5274 or [email protected].

Give and Ye Shall Receive
By Aimee Heckel, Daily Camera, November 30, 2010

Studies show that altruism, whether donating time or money, can improve your physical and mental health and help you live longer. In fact, helping others can reap so many positive results that maybe volunteering should be considered selfish.

This is especially relevant in a town like Boulder, ranked in the top 10 for volunteer activism among mid-sized U.S. cities. Almost 40 percent of Boulderites volunteer, translating to about $244.5 million dollars of service, according to the Volunteer Connection.

And from Thanksgiving to New Year's, volunteer rates soar. The Boulder-based Community Foundation says 80 percent of its donations come in the last 20 percent of the year. "It's a scramble now. A wonderful scramble," says Josie Heath, president of the foundation.

Anne Ross, of Boulder, says she can see and feel the positive affects of making charity a focus in her life. Ross donates to the nonprofit Colorado Haiti Project, and she says she makes it a priority in her job as an executive recruiter to offer advice and support to students coming out of college.

Seven years ago, Ross found out she had breast cancer. That's when her altruistic lifestyle turned around to embrace her, she says. "It was almost like a shared energy or endorphins or shared care," she says. "By how I do my work, it created a community of people giving back to me."

Building a circle of support is just the beginning. A growing body of research finds that people who volunteer have lower mortality rates and better functional ability, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service. It's known as the "helper's high." Some studies compare it to the feeling you get after a great workout.

This "high" actually shows up on brain scans. Donors' brains release feel-good chemicals, like dopamine -- which incidentally are the same chemicals released when you receive a gift. So giving is physiologically as good as receiving.

The Institute for Advancement of Health links helping others to relief in stress-related disorders, such as lupus and multiple sclerosis, and it can also help relieve headaches and voice loss.

Everybody benefits

Other studies show charity can help people manage asthma, cardiovascular disease, weight loss and insomnia, according to the book, "Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism," by Arthur Brooks. Another study shows that students who volunteer have better grades and score higher on SATs, even if the charity is mandatory.

However, older volunteers receive the greatest benefits, the Corporation for National and Community Service reports, whether it's because they are more likely to face illnesses or because volunteering helps support them while their social roles are changing. In fact, a University of Michigan study of elderly people found that people who did not help others were more than twice as likely to die than their altruistic peers.

Ross, of Boulder, witnessed this in her 87-year-old neighbor. Until last year, when the neighbor suffered two strokes, she was an active volunteer. She got groceries for others, visited people in nursing homes and in the hospital and played bridge with people who needed company.

"I am convinced that her doing all of those things, even beyond 80, kept her going," Ross says. "The ability to get out and about really keeps people younger as they age." And the more you volunteer (we're talking about 100 hours per year), the better the health outcomes, the studies find.

What really happens

Some experts attribute this to minimizing stress. High stress levels impact our ability to fight infection, because the brain releases chemicals and hormones that diminish the functioning of immune cells, according to the American Psychological Association.

In addition to reducing the body's stress response, altruism can also trigger some aspects of the "relaxation response," which brings the heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and hormone levels to normal, according to a study published by Ohio's The Institute for Research on Unlimited Love. he list of studies goes on.

Then there are the intangible benefits.

Heath, president of the Community Foundation, says volunteers have told her it helped when they felt lonely or went through a transition in life.

"It's tempting to feel bad for themselves, but when they get outside themselves and do something for someone else, the net result is so much more beneficial for somebody else -- as well as themselves," Health says.

Volunteers also tend to have better mental health, according to research by the Grillo Health Information Center in Boulder. Focusing outside the self can counter anxiety or depression, studies find.

Volunteer's high

Traci Brown, of Boulder, recently co-directed the Colorado Aloha Festival, which attracted more than 20,000 people to celebrate Hawaiian culture. While organizing the event, Brown says she had more energy and passion. She compares it to how she felt when she used to competitively ride bicycles. Brown won three national titles and rode on Team USA.

While planning the festival, Brown says her back didn't hurt, she never got sick and she was happier, in general. But beyond that, her business exploded, she says. Brown is a "personal trainer for your mind." She is trained in neurolinguistics and hypnosis, as well as a form of Hawaiian spirituality and healing.

"I think people, on some level, just don't come in if they know I'm off-centered or not high-energy myself," she says. "It's not something you can consciously explain, but it seems to go that way."

Hawaiian culture would attribute this to unity, Brown says. Everything is one, and when you offer out energy, you receive energy back. Part of the key is to find something to serve that you are passionate about, Brown says. She says she searched for years before she found the right volunteer opportunity.

Boulder's Volunteer Connection offers more than 400 options, including things many people don't think about, like help with computers, editing or spending time in nature.

Lynn Israel, of Boulder, says there's a spiritual side to altruism, too. Israel has a master's in spiritual psychology from the University of Santa Monica, Calif., and a master's from Harvard University in education. She is also a volunteer with the Community Foundation.

Israel says volunteering has helped her feel a sense of her own value and ability to make a difference. She says it has helped her feel uplifted and inspired, instead of sad and powerless. Part of the self-actualization process is through service," Isreal says. "As spirit beings in human bodies, we experience our own basic goodness through our generosity and kindness toward others."

90-years-old and Still Mentoring Students
(Just one of the many Volunteer Connection local success stories)

When it comes to middle school, some students need a guide to help them through what could be confusing years. 13-year-old Vidal Barron is getting advice from an unlikely friend in Rosemary Cooke. "I can tell like stuff that's going on in my life to her and she understands stuff like that," said Barron.

Barron is part of the Community Access Mentoring Program in the Boulder Valley School District. CAM is designed to help middle school students by connecting them with adults through an after-school and summer program.

"Our goal is to have another adult show up who cares and who's consistent," said Dr. Patti Ashley, CAM's program coordinator. Cooke enjoys meeting with Barron, even though she's 77 years older than him. "I worked until I was 85-years-old and then I retired," said Cooke, a volunteer mentor. "I was so bored, I had to do something."

So she meets with Barron to talk about life, to play foosball, or to experience summer workshops with him on things like jazz or art. CAM runs a camp at six school locations throughout the Boulder Valley School District offering classes on different topics each day. "Anything that you undertake like this, anything new that you do, you learn," said Cooke. "You learn a lot, just by being with these kids."

Barron feels he can tell his 90-year-old mentor anything. "I talk about my life to her," said Barron. Cooke says after raising three kids of her own, she feels she can provide some guidance for her young friend. "There isn't anything that any kid could even say or do that would even faze me," said Cooke.

This program is more than making friends. Ashley says it's about helping kids stay out of trouble after-school and during summer vacation. "There's definitely an increase in crime and delinquent behaviors during those hours," said Ashley. "All students who have alone time after school or in the summer, I feel, are at-risk."

This is the first year of CAM and Ashley says it has not reached its goal of helping 150 kids. So far, only 66 students are signed up, but there still a shortage of mentors and volunteers. Ashley says transportation is also a big hurdle for students to get to the school sites. "A lot of them don't have other opportunities, so we're trying to provide," said Ashley.

She wants more kids to experience the chance to share their lives with an adult who cares, like Cooke. "I'm hoping I'm making some of connection with Vidal," said Cooke.

Barron says she is, especially for being an unlikely friend. "She's pretty cool," said Barron.

(Copyright KUSA*TV, All Rights Reserved.)

250 Volunteers Lend a Hand in Boulder County
By Scott Rochat, Longmont Times-Call

HYGIENE - Gray skies. Cool temperatures. A bit of mist. Perfect weather to plant a tree, no?

Despite how it sounds, this wasn't part of Saturday's Arbor Day celebrations. This belonged to Boulder County's sixth annual "I Volunteer Day," during which about 250 people found places across the county to lend a hand.

"It just seems like a wonderful thing to do, because it's giving to your community," said Beret Strong of Boulder, who came with her 15-year-old daughter Paige Tweedy to help plant cottonwood trees near Hygiene's Crane Hollow Road.

The trees are to help restore the habitat of the Preble's meadow jumping mouse, an endangered species. The project actually began last year with 75 to 100 volunteers planting trees and shrubs, but several of the cottonwoods were eaten by voles.

"For some reason, the voles will eat cottonwoods and they won't eat anything else," said Erica Christensen, volunteer coordinator for Boulder County Parks and Open Space. "So we're going to give this a second try."

This time, she said, the trees have a tighter plastic cage around them, giving the voles less room to get in and chow down. About 60 to 70 surviving cottonwoods in the area were also given new cages by the volunteers.

The mouse is a food source for hawks, foxes and other predators.

If your tastes didn't run to encouraging mice, there were plenty of other things to do Saturday. Some volunteers helped build a home with Habitat for Humanity's St. Vrain chapter. Others worked to give the Horizons charter school in Boulder a facelift, or to lend a hand to the St. Vrain Historical Society or to help any of about 20 non-profits
taking part in the day.

The event is organized by the Volunteer Connection and is the agency's main fundraiser. Each volunteer collects at least $20 in pledges for a four-hour work day.

It doesn't have to be single individuals, either. Saturday's tree planters included several employees of Rosetta Stone in Boulder who organized a recruitment drive within the company.

"This is our first organized activity to do something for the community," said Meagan Sills of Rosetta Stone. "You feel kind of uncertain at first - 'I've never planted trees; I can't do it!' - but once you come out, you find it's easy and a lot of fun."

Those who missed the day but still want to find out about volunteer opportunities in Boulder County can call the Volunteer Connection at 303-444-4904 or go online to www.volunteerconnection.net.

"We are so grateful for our volunteers," Christensen said. "This whole ginormous project could not happen without volunteers."

Volunteers swarm Boulder County for Service Day
Helpers participate in projects at more than 45 locations
Jabril Faraj, Camera Staff Writer, April 25, 2009

While wearing her orange hard hat and construction
worker vest, Maryanne Kurtinaitis helped to steady the two large joists
as a crane lifted them up and placed them on top of the
house-in-progress at a Habitat for Humanity build site in Longmont.

"I've never done anything like this before," said Kurtinaitis, "and to
be able to help the crane operator lift all of these up on the roof
that's just great, it's a great feeling."

The Habitat for Humanity build was just one of the 36 volunteer sites in
Boulder County that participated in Volunteer Connections' sixth annual
"I Volunteer! Day" on Saturday. Another volunteer mobilization group,
Project YES, put on its SeLebration 2009 event in conjunction with the
21st Global Youth Service Day, which had about a dozen volunteer sites
in Lafayette.

Volunteers from both groups came out to Thomas Farm Open Space in
Lafayette to help plant hundreds of native trees. Lafayette's open space
supervisor, Jeff Moline, said he's grateful for the help that I
Volunteer! Day and Project YES provide, and that projects like this
couldn't be done without a large number of volunteers.

"It's awesome, it's really neat," he said. "We're going to be planting
300 trees and there's no way we could have done it without both
organizations so it's just been really nice."

Erica Christensen, who works with the Boulder County Parks and Open
Space and oversaw a habitat restoration project in Hygiene, agreed with
Moline about the success of such events.

"It's very important to us," she said, "because, just like any
government agency, we have a limited budget so we definitely don't have
the manpower to tackle large projects like this. We have 25 trees today
and I'm kind of one of the only (employees). I can't do it all myself so
it's really important to us to have these volunteers out here."

But it is not only the organizations being helped who get something out
of the event.

"People need a home, you know," said Kurtinaitis, who assisted with the
Habitat for Humanity in Longmont. "I have one - I'm lucky - so, it's
nice to be able to help someone else out."

Tim Laramy, 30, said that he began working with Project YES while
earning his master's degree at the University of Colorado and he liked
it so much that he wanted to stay involved.

"I really just think it's a chance to be involved in the community," he
said. "And really simple things like picking out some weeds and planting
some bulbs can make a big difference so I enjoy being a part of it."

Amy McGreevy, Project YES program manager, said she's glad that young
people as well as adults are willing to come out and help.

"I think one of the most exciting things," she said, "is, well first,
it's all of the volunteers coming out and the fact that we have more
young people this year than we ever have before signed up for the event.
Probably over half of the volunteers are under the age of 24, which it
really huge."

Kelsey Hunt, 14, who helped plant trees at the open space in Lafayette,
said that it feels good to do something where you can see noticeable

"It seemed like a pretty good idea to come and help open space and meet
some new people," she said.

Residents Encouraged to Participate in Sixth Annual I Volunteer! Day
April 10, 2009

The City of Boulder and the Community Foundation serving Boulder County encourage all residents of the community to participate in the Sixth Annual I Volunteer! Day event from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, April 25, sponsored by the Volunteer Connection.

Boulder City Council members will be participating in the event including Angelique Espinoza. “In difficult and stressful times, we must find ways, as President Obama said, to turn TO each other and not ON each other,” said Espinoza. “Volunteering is a way to connect with and support one other in the community we share. My council colleagues and I are going to roll up our sleeves for a cleanup project at Emergency Family Assistance Association, and we invite everyone to join us by signing up to volunteer for one of the many great projects happening on April 25.”

Over 500 volunteers will lend a hand to benefit over 40 local community service agencies and nonprofits by completing projects that have been on their “Wish List” for a long time. Volunteers will help paint, build, clean, landscape, and many more tasks.

“The Community Foundation is proud to encourage participation in I Volunteer! Day,” said Josie Heath, President of The Community Foundation. “It’s a perfect example of how big challenges can be met when we come together as a community. I hope people will share their talent and treasure on I Volunteer! Day and continue to do so throughout the year.”

In addition, volunteers will help raise $20 or more in pledges for the Volunteer Connection. For more information on how and where to volunteer, call 303-444-4904 or visit www.volunterconnection.net.

The city of Boulder provides funding to support operating and capital needs of nonprofits and also direct services to residents of the city of Boulder, including child care assistance, senior services, and housing assistance. For more information on services for available for city residents, contact 303-441-3157 or visit www.bouldercolorado.gov. For additional information on available services for Boulder County residents, contact 303- 441–3131 or visit www.bouldercounty.gov.

Parent Engagement Network presents: Thriving During the Teenage Years - Community Volunteering for Teens
By Jan Hittelman

It is a fact that teenagers get into the most trouble between 3 and 6 pm Monday through Friday. That’s why parents are encouraged to help their children find fun structured activities after school. Whether it’s participating in a school sport or club, getting involved in after school art classes or working a part time job, teens benefit from doing something productive with their free time. That’s not to say that we want to over schedule our children. It is important to find the right balance.

In our community we also have a variety of volunteer opportunities specifically for teens. A great resource for information on volunteer opportunities for children and adolescents is available through the Volunteer Connection.

You can download their Youth Connection Guide by visiting this page. It provides a wide range of opportunities, including working with animals, the environment, seniors, social action, housing and hunger, health and wellness, recreation, people with disabilities, arts and culture, family services, even information on youth art contests.

Volunteer experiences can have a profound impact on youth. When my daughter was a student at Boulder High School, she volunteered at the Boulder Homeless Shelter. Ever since then she has been very sensitive to the issue of homelessness. While attending C.U., she developed a survey as part of an independent study project for a local homeless day program. She also volunteers with the C.U. Restorative Justice program, which helped her decide to apply to law schools upon graduation.

Several years ago, the courts began mandating “community service” hours as part of plea bargains for youth often through Diversion or Restorative Justice. The concept is great because it provides youth offenders with a meaningful way to give back to the community. An unanticipated consequence, however, was the perception on the part of youth that if they didn’t break the law they shouldn’t have to do community service. Thus if you decide to discuss this with your child, consider using different terminology like “giving back to the community “. Find a time that you can sit down together and look through the Youth Connection Guide. If possible, perhaps it’s something that you could join in on, if that would motivate your child to participate.

Volunteering your time and being of service to others is a wonderful way for youth (and adults) to develop an improved sense of self and truly feel like a part of the community.

Upcoming PEN Event:

Building Bridges
Effective Ways to Communicate &
Connect with Your Kids
Presenter: Michael Vladek, Personal Coach
March 11 9 – 11am
Lafayette Library (775 W. Baseline Rd., Lafayette)

Learn more about PEN by visiting their website at: www.parentengagementnetwork.org or by contacting Betsy Fox with the Boulder County Healthy Youth Alliance at 303-441-3981.
Dr. Jan Hittelman is a licensed psychologist and Director of Boulder Psychological Services, LLC. What's your opinion? Questions or comments for this monthly column can be sent to: 1527 Pine Street, Suite B, Boulder, CO 80302, via email to: [email protected], or by phone: 720-217-3270.

A Message from the Board of County Commissioners
January 12, 2009

We wish to express our deepest thanks to all of the emergency responders who participated in the Olde Stage Fire and related events. Because of your hard work, superb organization and expert response, you contained the fires and minimized damage to people and property. The relatively small number of structures lost and the fact that only minor injuries occurred are a testament to your tireless efforts.

Likewise, to all of the support staff and volunteers who committed countless efforts behind the scenes, we gratefully acknowledge your skills at coordinating complex logistics, reassuring concerned residents and relaying information throughout the event.

While there are far too many examples to share with you in this communication, over the past 48 hours we have either received personally or seen communicated an abundance of positive comments from the community about your work, including:

- Multitudes of emails and phone calls of thanks sent to Boulder County offices and departments

- Personal kudos passed along to us on your behalf for the way the fire was handled and information disseminated

- Sincere words of gratitude expressed by residents, editorial staffs and reporters for our community’s dedication to public service

- A sense of real confidence and competence in the emergency response capability of Boulder County’s employees and our many partners

In addition to these thoughts, we want to express our deep appreciation for what we saw first-hand on Wednesday and Thursday: A well organized, strategic response; rapid execution of mutual aid agreements; clear and effective direction to affected residents about when, where and how to evacuate; superb coordination between the County, city of Boulder, state agencies, fire districts, Boulder Valley and St. Vrain School Districts, the Red Cross and other external agencies; the dedication of the call center staff who answered many questions and calmed fears; and much more.

We are honored to serve with such a dedicated group of individuals, and we sincerely appreciate all of your hard work and commitment to public service.

With our sincerest thanks and gratitude,

The Board of County Commissioners
Cindy Domenico
Ben Pearlman
Will Toor

Note From the Superior Mayor
December, 2008

Dear Superior Residents,
While our Town has been somewhat isolated from the downturn in the national
economy, we do have members of our community who have been affected by it
and that need assistance. I continue to be amazed by the citizens of our Town
that rally around people in need, and I encourage you to provide that same
support this holiday season.

I know that many residents have organizations that they routinely give to, including churches and synagogues, as well as youth groups and the like. For those interested finding other local organizations, some additional possibilities include:

East Boulder County Meals on Wheels: Located in Lafayette, this organization provides not only community nutrition programs for older people, but companionship and long-term care protections for the elderly. In 2007, they delivered 14,559 meals but the success of this program is dependent upon more than 100 individual volunteers who deliver meals, pick-up food, cook, and coordinate activities.

Sister Carmen Community Center: The organizational mission of Sister
Carmen is to provide assistance without discrimination to the residents of East
Boulder County who are in need. It is East Boulder County’s only comprehensive
emergency assistance center and has been serving the community for over
30 years. This year they expect to provide approximately 1,500 holiday food
boxes to families between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Volunteer Connections: Their mission is to promote volunteerism and
connect volunteers with opportunities. They annually refer thousands of families,
individuals, and service organizations to over 450 agencies and governmental
programs in need of volunteers. They have a special section that provides
volunteer opportunities specifically for youth.

Holiday Hope at Home: This organization will provide much-needed
clothing, personal and household items, and wished-for toys to local children
and families who would otherwise go without holiday gifts and necessities. The
giving tree is located at Flatirons Crossing Mall, Friday, November 28, 2008
through Wednesday, December 24, 2008.

From the entire Muckle family I wish you the best for the holiday season and the
upcoming New Year.

Andrew Muckle

Day of volunteering helps Boulder County projects
National service event benefited more then 2,700 U.S. sites
By Corey H. Jones, Boulder Daily Camera, September 27, 2008

Kate Storm tossed a bundle of beaded bracelets into a bin, glanced at her husband and smiled. "I'm at 60," she proclaimed with a hint of friendly competition before plucking another ring of beads from a vibrant bunch.

The Boulder couple spent Saturday morning volunteering at BeadforLife, one of seven project sites in Boulder County participating in the Day of Action, a nationwide event organized by the ServiceNation campaign.

"Coming together as a community (to volunteer) makes a statement that we need to get out of our homes in order to change the world," Storm said.

ServiceNation reported more than 2,700 events taking place in all 50 states. Volunteer Connection organized Boulder County's Day of Action service opportunities.

"It's a great national effort that helps make the public aware of these projects," said services coordinator Sue McCullough, who expected 150 volunteers to participate throughout the county. "Boulder always seems to contribute to the needs of our community and is very involved in improving the quality of life for many."

BeadforLife purchases, then sells handcrafted jewelry made of paper beads by impoverished Ugandan women. Volunteers at the nonprofit site branded jewelry with new metal tags and compiled bulk orders for its community and retail partners.

Erin Fischer, fulfillment manager at BeadforLife, said the organization retains a good number of volunteers that it meets through events like the Day of Action. "We really benefit from events like this," she said. "We couldn't do what we do without volunteers."

Other projects Saturday included helping with aspen enhancement on Boulder County Parks and Open Space; packaging supplies at Broomfield's Center for Safe Schools; assisting with the Light the Night cancer-research fundraising walk at the University of Colorado; and sorting donated building materials at the ReSource sales yard in Boulder, a waste reduction division of the Center for Resource Conservation.

"There's a lot of work that needs to be done," said 14-year-old Devon Thorne, of Erie, who volunteered at ReSource.

I Volunteer Day - A great day for hard work
Hundreds work on 39 sites for I Volunteer Day

By Brian Malnes, Boulder Dailey Camera, April 20, 2008

Wearing their Cub Scouts uniforms, 8-year-old step-brothers Raymond Troch and Jarod Bednarz scoured the banks of Boulder Creek in search of trash Saturday. "There are a million cigarette butts here," Raymond said. "People must just smoke one right after the other here."

The boys were among dozens of volunteers cleaning up the creek as part of Boulder County's fifth annual I Volunteer! Day. Although they were volunteering partly to get their Scouts badges, both said they're looking forward to fishing in the creek this summer, and would like the water to be clean for the fish.

The creek project, headed by the Boulder Creek Watershed Initiative, was just one of 39 sites worked on by more than 500 volunteers Saturday morning, said Sue McCullough, event coordinator with the nonprofit Volunteer Connection. She estimated their labor was worth $40,000.

"It's been a great turnout," McCullough said. "We've really gotten a lot accomplished today."

Projects ranged for washing trucks for the Boulder Emergency Squad to weeding and raking the pastures at Colorado Therapeutic Riding Center in Longmont; from planting at Boulder's Growing Gardens to building a turtle pond at Longmont's Colorado Reptile Humane Society.

The biggest turnout was at Boulder's Calvary Bible Church, 3245 Kalmia Ave. There, more than 200 people worked on a variety of projects including making quilts for Project Linus, whose mission is to comfort ill and traumatized children, and decorating meal bags for Project Angel Heart, which brings food to people living with HIV/AIDS.

The University of Colorado's Volunteer Clearinghouse brought more than 300 students to the event and supported 21 of the sites, organizer Naveen Rajan said. "It's been a lot of fun," Rajan said. "More people should volunteer."

Back at the Boulder Creek project, CU biology major Julia Hayes volunteered for her second year. "I'm working in Boulder Creek because it is the center of everything in town, and I want it to look nice," she said.

Mike Trevey, the Volunteer Connection's "ambassador" for the site said there were about 35 people picking up trash. "Without this work, the creek just wouldn't stay clean," he said.

Nova awards recognize nonprofits
Community Foundation hosts 10th annual ceremony
By Laura-Claire Corson, Daily Camera, September 7, 2007

[Volunteer Connection serves as the fiscal agency for MentorsMatter and FOCUS,
a program of Restoring the Soul.]

From mentoring former inmates to reducing waste at schools, the contributions of Boulder County's nonprofits took center stage Thursday at the Community Foundation's 10th annual Nova award ceremony.

The awards were presented at Boulder Theater in the categories of arts, education, civic, environment, and health and human services, plus two individual nods to people who dedicated extraordinary time and effort.

"Democracy is community. It's a culture of giving," said Josie Heath, president of the Community Foundation, which gave $5.2 million to Boulder County nonprofits last year.

The arts award went to the Boulder County Arts Alliance, a nonprofit advocating the arts since 1966. The alliance's Tom Brock dedicated the award to former executive director Alison Moore, who moved to Canada last week.

The education award went to Mentors Matter, a program that since 2001 has referred more than 300 mentors to its eight partner agencies, including the I Have A Dream Foundation and the YWCA of Boulder County.

The civic award went to Focus, a group that pairs mentors with inmates, helping connect offenders with housing, child care, education and other basic needs once they are released.

The health and human services award went to Moving to End Sexual Assault, formerly the Boulder County Rape Crisis Team.

The environment award went to Eco-Cycle, for its Green Star Schools program, which helps teach 5,100 students at 14 Boulder County schools how to reduce waste. So far, a 66 percent waste reduction has occurred.

Retired orthodontist Dr. Rodney Tuenge won an individual award for helping build a program that sends local dentists to Boulder's sister city Mante, Mexico, to provide dental care and other services.

Carlos Rodriguez, a recent immigrant and full-time student who spends his free time translating printed materials into Spanish for the Safe Shelter of St. Vrain Valley, took home the final individual award.

Instead of giving a speech, Rodriguez simply told the crowd: "Thanks for this."


Today's Teen An Ace Volunteer
By Kevin Simpson, Denver Post, September 2, 2007

A national survey found the top motivator behind the hefty surge in youth service was simple: The kids were asked.

Can you believe these kids today, with their loud music and baggy clothes, their newfangled text messaging and their MySpace and their YouTube, they're just so ... dang ... Helpful?

Take the Crazy Laughing Monkey Heads of Doom. Behind the off-the- wall moniker, they're five metro-area high schoolers with a passion for music and charitable causes. Last weekend, they pounded out their own brand of progressive rock with six other bands at a Boulder benefit to purchase clean water for impoverished areas.

"We all loved the idea of kind of a purpose to our music," says Kyra Brisson, 16, who plays saxophone with the group. "I feel good about it, like we've done something with our time." Now, it seems as if everyone's joining the band. No one's anointing them the "greatest generation," but young people have been reaching out in remarkable numbers.

Youths ages 16 to 19 volunteered in 2005 at more than twice the rate teens did at the close of the "greed is good" 1980s. Participation by 20- to 24-year-olds also jumped by more than half over the same period, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, which advocates civic engagement through programs like AmeriCorps.

Although the surge has leveled off since 2000, the generational leap has prompted much analysis of its causes. Turns out it's more than just hip to help. Experts point to cultural and institutional milestones that have ingrained volunteerism and general civic-mindedness into young people since the early '90s, following a period of what some saw as alarming self-absorption.

"By the late '80s, you heard various terms associated with youth - like greedy, self-indulgent," says Jim Youniss, a psychology professor who has studied the trend at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. "One freshman college survey showed that students placed self-gain over the common good. People began to ask: 'What happened to them?"' In short order, the nation witnessed a seismic shift along several cultural fault lines.

Backlash to the "Me Generation" of the '70s and '80s. New expectations from colleges seeking more than good GPAs and SATs. Research that showed community service enhanced health and happiness. Parents channeling the activism of the '60s into their kids.

"Taken at face value, it's a renaissance of the moral idealism lost in the '80s," says Stephen Post, co-author of "Why Good Things Happen to Good People." A push doesn't hurt. Not that all these kids are inherently more altruistic. Sometimes they get a bit of a push - like high school graduation

standards that demand volunteer hours as well as academic achievement. Churches have taken on a broader service role that has filtered to young members. Organizations like school honor societies press kids to round out their academic excellence with civic involvement.

But - news flash! - teens generally don't like being told what to do. High school-age kids rejected a community service requirement for graduation by a 2-1 margin in one national survey. Among schools that do require service, some have suggested tougher standards to make it more meaningful - no more helping coach roll up the wrestling mats to burn mandatory volunteer hours. And yes, college admissions folks allow, the right record of community service can be a "tip factor" in favor of a borderline applicant.

Institutional expectations add fuel to the surge of community-mindedness, but they're hardly universal. Some school districts shy away from volunteer requirements - Denver and Jefferson County, the state's two biggest districts, don't demand service hours.

Some even note that the very term "community service" has an almost punitive ring from its association with criminal justice and that volunteerism should come from the heart. Others figure that forcing kids to get a taste of service can't hurt - and exposure to doing good works can blossom into something significant and lasting.

But is self-interest powering the trend toward selflessness? "Raised expectations might have something to do with it," says Ben Barron, the guitarist for the Crazy Laughing Monkey Heads. "But it's just part of this generation's culture." Last year, in a survey about attitudes toward volunteering, a group at the University of Maryland zeroed in on the top motivator for youth service:

They were asked.

Nebraska ranked first in the nation last year for volunteering among high school students. Not surprisingly, service is a statewide graduation requirement.

"If someone volunteers because they're moved by the plight of some constituency, that's ideal," notes author Post. "But in the absence of that ideal, making this a school requirement is forcing people to stumble onto joy."

"Worthwhile" work
As a freshman at ThunderRidge High School in Highlands Ranch, Shayna Starita winced at the Douglas County School District's 20-hour community service requirement over four years. Then she happened onto the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, which became the roots for further service. Now, in her senior year, Starita helps coach a special-education soccer team.

She's a staunch supporter of a service requirement in a district where a survey showed students roughly split on its value. As a member of the district's Student Advisory Group, she'll help make recommendations this fall on how to make the 20 hours more relevant. "We're going to be focusing on studying guidelines on how to get those hours so they're not pointless, but actually worthwhile," she says.

Last year, Brisson - the saxophonist for the Crazy Laughing Monkey Heads - also served as community service coordinator for the sophomore class at the private Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette, where such work holds a high priority.

Sophomores have been required to do 10 hours of documented service - a number that was bumped to 20 hours this year - with the idea of making it a habit that continues during their junior and senior years. The school's 180 high schoolers participated in about 90 service projects last year.

At Green Mountain High School in Jefferson County, an organization called the BIONIC team - "Believe It or Not, I Care" - pinpoints its efforts through smaller groups that address specific needs, whether it's making new students feel welcome or taking pies and condolences to families of students who have lost a loved one. Already this school year, 17-year-old Tara Hennig twice has stood on the doorstep of homes that suffered such losses.

"When they opened the door, you could see in their faces everything they'd been going through," Hennig says. "You don't find yourself in that situation often - it was a different kind of outreach. I felt humbled afterward."

Individual focus
Many schools also have built stronger connections between coursework and volunteerism - a concept known as "service learning," which injects relevance to academia by applying study to real-life community needs. Some say opportunities for such targeted service mark a change from the '60s, when students mobilized over big-picture social and political issues.

"I think there has been a shift, where students don't work on political campaigns as much as they used to, or boycotts or marches," says Karen Partridge, spokeswoman for Campus Compact, a consortium of 1,100 schools that encourages service at the college level. "They want to see the impact. Students now say the '60s were a lot of sound and fury that didn't end up doing much."

Kayla Peterson approached the Longmont Humane Society a few years ago - not so much to make a real difference, but to kill idle time. "Then," she says, "it became a passion."

Now a high school senior, Peterson has put in more than 500 volunteer hours. On a weekday after school, she and kindred spirits Amber Rosenberg and Sonya Baker, both 16, walk the dogs, brush them and lavish attention on the grateful pooches.

Why do they do it? "Joy," says Rosenberg. "It's like my second home." For Peterson, it's an experience that has taught responsibility and reinforced a volunteer habit she plans to continue. "Working with animals, at a local hospital - I'll do something," she says. "It's one of those feel-good kinds of things."

Sarah Clusman started coordinating volunteers at the Longmont Humane Society five years ago and quickly found that students' offers to help out had surpassed the available programs. So she expanded the opportunities, identified duties that even younger kids could fulfill and watched the programs flourish. Five years ago, about 35 kids volunteered each week. In the just-completed summer session, more than 100 kids put in hours on a weekly basis.

Laura Kinder, executive director of Volunteer Connection in Boulder, says her organization gets about 11,000 hits a month on its website. "We're working with a group of individuals who feel like yes, they can change the world and they will change the world," she says.

On stage in Boulder, Ben Barron and the rest of the Crazy Laughing Monkey Heads - they played under the less- wacky name of Sound Circus for this show - cranked it up for an appreciative audience. Before this show, the band raised $8,000 for an orphanage in Kenya where Barron's aunt has volunteered. Before that, some of the members jammed cool jazz to an older audience - as volunteers at a retirement home.

The group has had a couple of paying gigs but basically exists to do bigger and better benefit concerts - including a second one for the Kenyan orphanage later this year. "We're not trying to land a record deal or hit it big," says Barron. "We just want to have a good time and help some people while we're doing it. There's no better feeling."

The Power of One
By Jan Hittelman, Daily Camera, July 30, 2007

In the counseling field there are numerous schools of thought regarding the most effective therapy techniques. While the specific strategies utilized are of great importance, the success of any therapeutic approach is primarily a function of the underlying relationship between client and therapist. More specifically, the client knowing that the therapist genuinely cares.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the dedicated and talented staff of September High School. I asked them about their core beliefs regarding their work. They all agreed that the most important ingredient to success was the quality of the relationship with their students.

All human beings have an instinctual need for warmth, nurturance and support from at least one other human being. This begins on a tactile level at birth. Infants (and young children) who are persistently denied caretaker attention invariably develop emotional difficulties and abnormal behavior patterns. These children often display a lack of social responsiveness. They often apathetically stare into space, lacking social interest, curiosity and spontaneity. In severe cases, these children also fail to thrive in terms of weight gain and motor development.

As a parent it's easy to get consumed by the myriad tasks and issues that come with the responsibilities of raising a child and lose sight of the importance of the underlying relationship. It often involves the simplest things, like conveying a sense of love and caring, as well as simply having fun together.

It is not widely known, but one of the most effective interventions for young children and adolescents is something that you don't need any graduate training to provide. It should be no surprise, with what we know about the importance of relationship, that this powerful experience is the gift of mentoring. Studies reveal that youth who are provided with an effective mentor often demonstrate significantly improved academic, social and emotional functioning and are at a reduced risk for substance abuse, criminal and violent behavior. Mentoring is a unique way for one person volunteering a limited amount of time to have a powerful impact on the life of a child. Research has shown that it is specifically the quality of the relationship between mentor and child that dictates its success and why mentor training is such an important component of any mentoring program.

There are many agencies in our community that match at-risk youth with mentors. Several of these mentoring programs have formed a collaboration called MentorsMatter. This service helps to match potential mentors with programs based upon their interests and time availability. Typically time commitments vary from a few hours a week, to a few hours a month. Too often we feel helpless in the face of challenges in our society. Mentoring is an opportunity for individuals to make a real impact.

For more information, call The Volunteer Connection at 303-444-4904 or e-mail them at [email protected].

I Volunteer Day
By Paula Pant, Colorado Daily, April 23, 2007

It's almost lunchtime on Saturday in north Boulder when Eva, age four and a half, grabs her brother Danny's hand and presses it onto a brown paper bag. Danny, age one and half, peers out from under his mop of curly dark blond hair, as an older child traces his handprint onto the bag with washable marker.

A blond toddler sits on the floor nearby, chewing on a keychain. The roast beef on a nearby picnic table remains untouched, but the peanut-butter-and-jelly had been devoured. The children are decorating bags a local nonprofit, Project Angel Heart, will soon fill with goods and distribute to terminally ill patients.

"Whose bag will they like best?" Eva asks her mom. She's gotten bored of holding her brothers' hand; her attention has now turned to a can of Minute Maid lemonade, which she's dangerously close to spilling all over her bright blue dress.

Their mother, a 38-year-old former attorney turned stay-at-home mom, looks up from the Crayola rainbow she's scribbling onto a bag. "I think they'll be happy to see all of them," Nicole Benjamin told her daughter.

The family was among 500 local residents taking part in I Volunteer! Day, Boulder's largest annual service day, held Saturday as a grand finale to National Volunteer Week.

The Benjamins spent the morning at a volunteer drop-in site at Calvary Baptist Church, where mostly mothers with young children - who couldn't commit to a four-hour project with a fixed start and end time - could volunteer at leisure.

Six nonprofits offered projects at the drop-in site, ranging from sewing blankets for sick children to decorating thank-you cards.

More than 40 Boulder County agencies hosted I Volunteer! Day projects for the 500-plus volunteers. The day's events were coordinated by the Volunteer Connection, a nonprofit clearinghouse that essentially serves as a matchmaker between prospective volunteers and their ideal organization.

At first glance, Anna Lieb, 18, looks like an average outdoor enthusiast wading through Boulder Creek, armed with a Nike running bag, a Nalgene bottle with a leave-no-trace sticker, and a pair of Chacos on her feet. Peer a little closer, and you'll notice the thick latex gloves on her hands and a trash bag not far from the rock she's crouched upon.

Lieb was one of 20-25 people who spent I Volunteer! Day cleaning trash out of the creek. "I go running on Boulder Creek a lot and I love it," Lieb said, "so I feel like it's a good thing to give back to the community... and it's a really nice day to be outside."

Gabe Turek, 31, has been playing in Boulder Creek for 22 years. Saturday was his first day cleaning it. He found a full canister of lighter fluid and a neatly tied bag of dog poop floating downstream, he said.

No one beat Christian Militeau's discovery: the 40-year-old unearthed a grocery cart in the middle of the creek.

Paul Hempel, Executive Director of Boulder Creek Watershed Initiative, hosts creak clean-ups three times a year. But he said he's never collected as many volunteers as he did on I Volunteer! Day. "This is our first time working with the Volunteer Connection, and it really helped," Hempel said. "We tripled our turnout, which makes for a shorter day."

Back at the drop-in site, Danny studied his "surf wagon" t-shirt while Eva insisted her mom's rainbow needed a layer of pink. "I've volunteered my whole lifeŠ and I wanted to make sure it was an important value [my kids] shared with me," Benjamin said.

The family volunteers through their synagogue, she said, but wanted to take part in a greater community event as well. The children had lasted at the drop-in site for two hours, Benjamin said. They were beginning to get antsy.

Eva complained the Elmer's glue wasn't strong enough to make mini-pom-poms stick to the bags. But she said she liked the cartoon stamps. "For every stamp that went on her," Benjamin said, "we got some on the bags, too."

Volunteers celebrate Earth Day: Hundreds flock to local nonprofits to give support
By Daniel McIntosh, Boulder Camera , Sunday, April 22, 2007

There's more to Earth Day than trees.

A holistic approach to helping the planet was the emphasis behind Boulder County's fourth annual "I Volunteer Day," which mobilized hundreds of people Saturday to work on 40 different projects for local nonprofit groups. They painted buildings, planted gardens and created care packages, to name just a few.

"We like to think that Earth Day is for everyone on Planet Earth — people, animals and plants," said Laura Kinder, executive director of the Volunteer Connection, which organized the event in conjunction with Earth Day and National Volunteer Week. "You don't always have to go out and plant a tree or clean up a watershed; Just visiting people really helps."

Kinder oversaw a drop-in site at Boulder's Calvary Bible Church, where volunteers sewed blankets for sick children; decorated grocery bags for use delivering meals to the elderly; and made thank-you notes for people who had already donated money to nonprofits involved.

Because most projects required a four-hour time commitment and manual labor, the drop-in site was geared toward families with young children and people with disabilities.

Steven Heinen, 13, came to the drop-in site for the second year in a row, saying he had a lot of fun volunteering last year. He sat at a table with four other young people, making thank-you cards for donors to Attention Homes, which provides residential treatment, counseling and shelter to at-risk youth.

"We write thank you for your donation right here," Steven said, pointing to the inside of his construction-paper card that featured a peace sign on the front. "Making cards is kind of my thing."

At Boulder's Carriage House, a day resource center for the homeless, about 25 volunteers, staff and clients helped paint the interior of the house. It was the first time the nonprofit participated in "I Volunteer Day," and the building really needed a new coat of paint, said Mary Katherine Jones, volunteer coordinator for the Carriage House.

"For the past two years since I've been here, the walls have had crusty food and dirt all over it," she said. "We wanted to paint it a darker color so it would be more stain-resistant, and we also used semi-gloss paint." The job was complete within four hours, and Jones said she couldn't believe she was standing in the same building.
Mother Nature wasn't neglected by Saturday's volunteer efforts.

At Boulder Pride, about 20 volunteers planted flowering shrubs, spring perennials and herbs. "We're trying to spread joy and celebrate Earth Day by putting all these new beautiful plants in the ground," said Kirsten Spielmann, director of programs.

5 Questions with Laura Kinder and Amber Gerding, Holly volunteers
By Sue Deans, Boulder Camera, April 16, 2007

Laura Kinder, right, director of Volunteer Connection,
and Amber Gerding, with AmeriCorps VISTA

Residents of tiny Holly, in southeastern Colorado four miles from Kansas, needed help after a killer tornado hit there March 28. Two Boulder women were there for them.

Laura Kinder, director of Volunteer Connection of Boulder County, and Amber Gerding from AmeriCorps VISTA, who works with Kinder's agency, spent April 5-8 in Holly as representatives of the Colorado Volunteer Center Network.

The tornado killed one woman and injured 11, many of whom remain hospitalized, including Holly's mayor. Thirty-five homes were destroyed and 32 were damaged.

1. Why were you asked to go to Holly?
Laura Kinder: When the disaster happened — I can't believe it was only two weeks ago — they needed assistance with a lot of things. We went as part of the Colorado Volunteer Center Network, which includes five different volunteer centers in Colorado. Many other agencies were in Holly, too — the Red Cross, Salvation Army, Volunteers of America, FEMA.

2. What were your duties there?
LK: Our role was to manage. The first group to go put together some systems to track people calling in or coming by and wanting to volunteer.

Amber Gerding: People came from their vacations, to camp and stay to help as long as they could.

LK: And the faith-based communities sent their people, too, through connections with the churches in Holly.

We wanted to track all the volunteers, how many there were and what kind of work they were doing. That helps Holly to estimate a true cost for the town by knowing what kinds of services were donated.

3. What kind of situation did you find there?
LK: Holly is a tiny, tiny little place. The phone lines were down. The power was out. They were trying to make connections to get help, with the Red Cross, FEMA. There were briefings every morning, and we used that information to figure out where to place volunteers.

AG: We'd notice things that needed to be done, too. We went from door to door and asked about the impact on the family — it ranged from none to total devastation.

LK: We compiled that information and it was sent to the governor's office. They can use it to do a better assessment of monetary needs and mental health.

AG: We tried to find out what the amount of damage was and how much insurance there was.

4. What were some of the stories you saw and heard from people?
AG: Something we noticed, where houses had been demolished, was that animals, household pets had come back. Sometimes the owners were in the hospital or staying with other people. We would see a dog or cat hanging out with no food or water, shaking and upset.

LK: We talked to a shelter in Lamar but they could only operate locally. They gave us the names of two rescue groups. A nursing center also had taken in some of the animals. And Code 3, a national animal rescue group, got permits to take portable kennels in.

AG: The church signs said positive things, like, "We will survive," "We are Holly and we will be OK." This will be an opportunity to build a better Holly.

LK: The Saturday before Easter they were all talking about their blessings. They had a combined service and an egg hunt at the high school.

AG: They called the tornado "The Peacemaker," because it brought people together.

LK: They were hearing from people 200 miles away, in Nebraska, who had found things the tornado had carried there — Christmas ornaments, a checkbook, receipts, pages out of a photo album, a soccer trophy.

5. How can we help? What do people need there?
AG: This week they are putting together a reception center where they can coordinate donations, volunteers and financial support. Then they can coordinate and match up somebody with a pickup truck and somebody who has a microwave or furniture to bring it down there.

LK: They need places to store and organize the donations. They don't need clothing, but they do need appliances, beds, furnishings for kitchens and bathrooms. They want to organize the storage site so it looks like a store, to honor the people.

AG: The phone for the reception center is 719-537-6047. Volunteers should call before going to Holly.

Spring into service
By Paula Pant, Colorado Daily, April 15, 2007

The bike shops are busy. Eldora Ski Resort is closed for the season. All signs point to spring. Which means its time to clear out the cobwebs. Close up the fireplace. Get outside and play ball. And add some volunteering to your life.

Springtime is most popular time of year for "show-up-and-serve" volunteer projects, those hands-on, tangible projects that can be done in a single afternoon (as opposed to long-term endeavors like planning a fundraiser or mentoring a child).

The seasonality of volunteering happens for a number of reasons, said I Volunteer! Day Coordinator Christine Berg: Warmer weather inspires people to leave the house and get involved. New Years' resolution-setters finally get their act together. Family reunions and other annual gatherings - which tend to happen in the springtime - search for a one-day activity. And once it begins, it becomes an annual tradition.

That's why so many schools and youth groups plan service days in the spring; that's why National Volunteer Week is always held in April (this years' is the 15th through the 21st), that's why Earth Day (April 22) jostles for attention with an abundance of fairs, festivals and farmers markets.

Of course, when the demand-side (willing volunteers) rises, the supply-side (stuff for them to do) must step up to the plate. That's a tall order for some nonprofits, who want to attract and retain volunteers but may not have projects geared toward a single-day activity.

This puts the organizations in a recruiting bind: many long-term volunteers - who can do effective things like plan a fundraiser or mentor a child - begin by engaging in a single-day activity. It's like a first date, of sorts, before jumping into the relationship full-force.

Scroll through the list of 46 projects available on I Volunteer! Day (Boulder's biggest annual day-of-service, which this April 21 is expected to draw a crowd of 500 to 700 volunteers), and you'll notice a pattern: most groups, regardless of their overarching mission, are looking for volunteers to clean, landscape or paint.

The Boulder County AIDS Projects wants 15 volunteers to landscape. Homeless-advocacy group Carriage House is searching for people who can paint. A group that helps at-risk youth, Attention Homes, needs 10 volunteers to dig a small trench for drainage purposes and then prime a fence. A battered women's shelter needs cleaning, painting and yard work.

There are a few exceptions, of course: RSVP of Boulder County, a senior citizen advocacy group, needs volunteers for nursing home visits. Global Response, which protests environmental destruction through letter-writing campaigns, is searching for letter writers. But for the most part, service day activities support a nonprofits' mission rather than addresses that mission directly. After all, it takes more than a single day to learn how to work directly with battered women, to make a safer-sex presentation, or to provide end-of-life hospice support.

Which is why, Berg said, she's glad for all the people who come out to serve for a single day. But she hopes they springboard that day into an ongoing relationship with a nonprofit.

Nonprofit Spotlight: Volunteer Connection
By Sue Deans, Boulder Camera, April 13, 2007

Our mission:
Volunteer Connection engages people as volunteers and strengthens volunteer-based programs, improving the quality of life in Boulder County. Our vision: Volunteerism thrives in Boulder County so that everyone can thrive.

We serve:
We serve two client bases: One is people from all walks of life, of all ages, and with a multitude of abilities, talents, interests, and time availability. The second includes 330-plus nonprofit, school, and government volunteer programs.

Brief history:
Volunteer Connection was founded in 1969, when volunteerism was on the rise, addressing basic needs issues such as hunger and homelessness, literacy, access to education, civil rights, women's rights and animal rights, and restoring and preserving the environment. Concerned people in Boulder County realized there was a need to bring together people who wanted to volunteer.

Established as a division of the United Way in 1969, the Volunteer and Information Center of Boulder County became one of the first agencies in the nation to act as a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities and community resource information. In 1983 the two functions were divided into separate programs and the following year Volunteer Boulder County incorporated as an independent not-for-profit agency. The name was changed to the Volunteer Connection in 1991.

Proudest accomplishment:
For nearly four decades Volunteer Connection has been able to establish networks and sustain lasting relationships on behalf of people who want to make a difference in the community and agencies that allow people, through volunteer programs, to engage in activities that do make a difference.

Our networks include newspapers and magazines that provide weekly column space to promote volunteerism, online newsletters and announcements, an interactive online database of more than 450 volunteer opportunities that receives 12,000 hits a month, and an annual youth connection guide for middle and high school students.

Greatest need:
Volunteer Connection needs a strong, dedicated board to assist with establishing policies, fundraising, strategic planning, marketing and program/staff development. The organization also needs continued financial and in-kind support from Boulder County communities. Responding to requests to help with volunteer/donation management after the tornado in Holly, Volunteer Connection incurred expenses over its 2007 budget.

Future plans:
Volunteer Connection is seeking new venues to best serve all of Boulder County. "I Volunteer!" Day, takes place this year on Saturday and Sunday, April 21 and 22. With 40 projects countywide, everyone should be able to find a fun and rewarding activity, regardless of age and abilities.

Homeless - You can help in a tangible way
Daily Camera, Letters to the Editor, January 24, 2007

Compassion is at the heart of Kathy Kramer's letter (Open Forum, Jan. 23) regarding the homeless man who died exposed to freezing temperatures, and her question of who is accountable for his death begs for answers to a very complex issue.

In understanding homelessness in the United States, in Colorado, and in Boulder County, we individuals with the desire to help can participate in the "point in time" homelessness survey on Jan. 29 and 30. This is a companion survey to the ones completed in August 2005 and January 2004. I will never forget the people I interviewed for these two surveys, because of their willingness to talk with me and their openness with their answers. To volunteer and receive training, contact Penny Hannegan at (303) 499-3684, [email protected]. To volunteer on an on-going basis at one of Boulder County's homeless shelters, contact Volunteer Connection at (303) 444-4904 or visit www.volunteerconnection.net.

Just as the people who witnessed a devastating avalanche lost no time in grabbing poles to search for buried cars and their passengers, those of us with the desire to search for ways to help those who are buried in the cycle of homelessness, we need to lose no time with our response. I urge you to volunteer for the point in time survey and to participate in the homelessness discussion.

Laura Kinder, Executive Director, Volunteer Connection

Business Philanthropy

Not long ago, I left my post-college career of five years to launch my own business in real estate. I found myself with an abundance of freedom to make various decisions regarding my business, and most importantly, how to build it. I made the decision early on to create a business with a focus and foundation built on giving.

There are over 360 non-profits in Boulder County and more than 1.5 million in the U.S. that depend on volunteerism and donations from individuals and businesses to both exist and fulfill their missions. Boulder County is one of the top areas in the country for volunteerism, meaning our community is donating more time than most other communities in the country. A dichotomy, however, exists between personal levels of volunteerism and local monetary contributions to non-profits: Boulder County citizens donate far less than other areas in the U.S. with comparable wealth levels. According to The Chronicle's Analysis . . . more . . .

Laura Kinder - Executive Director of Volunteer Connection

As a little girl, Laura Kinder made trick-or-treating her own personal get-out-the-vote campaign.

Because Halloween is just two weeks before Election Day, we would always trick-or-treat and say 'don't forget to vote'," Kinder said, reflecting on one of her many experiences as a child activist. more . . .

A day on, not a day off - theme for King Day is making a difference
Daily Camera, January 15, 2007

Usually we consider a holiday a welcome respite from the daily grind — loafing, relaxing, curled up in front of the tube. But organizers of the Martin Luther King Jr. annual celebration remind us that public service is part of the deal that gives us the day off today.

The holiday's theme is "Remember! Celebrate! Act! A Day On, Not a Day Off!" Organizations such as the Corporation for National and Community Service, [email protected], and the King Center in Atlanta, thekingcenter.org, even provide lists online of possible volunteer activities in every state.

The King holiday, approved by Congress in 1983 in memory of the slain civil rights leader, was first celebrated Jan. 20, 1986. In 1994, Congress designated the holiday, the third Monday of January, as a national day of volunteer service. Many don't even realize that Dr. King is memorialized by a day of service, let alone devote their own time to the cause.

Organized events in our area today in honor of Dr. King include the following (more details can be found elsewhere in today's Daily Camera): Youth Opportunities Program rally with the Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, 11 a.m. to noon in front of the Boulder County Courthouse, in downtown Boulder on the Pearl Street Mall. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration at Boulder High School Auditorium beginning at noon, including a Human Rights Fair and entertainment by Wendy Woo. Peace march and rally in Lafayette from 11:30 to 1:30 beginning at City Hall and marching to Pioneer Elementary School.

In Denver, the Martin Luther King Day 'Marade,' beginning at 8:30 a.m. in City Park.
In addition, there's plenty of opportunity for individuals to help improve our community in other ways. Many organizations need the skills and abilities you may have.
Every Saturday, the Daily Camera publishes a list of volunteer opportunities in the Balance section. Or call Volunteer Connection at (303) 444-4904 or check its Web site at www.volunteerconnection.net to search for more.

Make this a day that makes a difference. Get off the couch and help get us closer to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream. Words from his "I've been to the mountaintop" speech on April 3, 1968, the day before he was shot and killed in Memphis, Tenn., still ring true:
"Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge,
to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation."

Giving Goes Downhill

Snowboarding can be a fun, rewarding experience, but it's also an expensive pastime. That goes double for underprivileged children who not only lack the resources to enjoy the sport, but also the proper clothing.

And that's where Snowboard Outreach Society (SOS) Development Director Seth Ehrlich steps in: supporting at-risk youth by providing them with the proper attire as part of this year's annual SOS equipment and clothing drive. more . . .

Join Me and the First Lady in Helping Youth
Editorial by Amber Gerding, Colorado Daily, November 1st, 2006

Like most Americans, I was eating dinner in front of the television last night as I watched Monday Night Football on ESPN. Tired of the constant airing political commercials aimed at destroying reputations, I was pleasantly surprised to see Laura Bush in a light-hearted advertisement encouraging adult volunteers to sign up as mentors to the millions of underprivileged youth in America.

How easy it is for all of us to get caught up in the madness of our everyday lives, especially as the holidays approach, and we get busier with every second. If you are like me, plopping down on the couch at the end of a workday to watch football is the perfect way to zone out and relax (that is, besides the ever so often jumping-up-and-down and screaming after a touchdown).

Although our hometown Broncos were not involved in this particular Monday Night showdown, the advertisement regarding mentoring, rings close to home. And, we can’t forget about the hundreds of low-income, at-risk children living right here in our own backyard, that are in need of a positive adult mentor.

If Laura Bush’s commercial touched you, as it did me, and you feel a calling to get involved, or if you are just interested in learning more about local mentoring programs, please visit www.volunteerconnection.net/mentorsmatter, or call

In the words of Mrs. Bush: “Help America’s Youth. Be a friend. Be a Mentor. Just be there.” How about starting right here in Colorado, the place we are all proud to call our home.

Volunteer Connection to Host Fundraiser
By Melanie M. Sidwell, The Daily Times-Call

Volunteer Connection, an organization that matches volunteers with more than 450 agencies in Boulder County, is throwing its first fundraiser, A Purple Affair, on Oct. 17.

The organization usually collects its financial support through grants and individual donations, event co-chairwoman Katy Chapman said. This year, the committee wanted to develop a signature event, which is focused on Volunteer Connection’s signature color.

The event, with The Johnny O. Band as headliner, will feature hors d’oeuvres, a large silent auction and a balloon drawing for prizes at Nissi’s in Lafayette. Purple attire is encouraged, and purple beverages and purple velvet cheesecake will be served, Chapman said. “There might even be a contest for the best purple attire,” she said.

Committee member Kim Plumridge said she wanted to help the organization, which has helped so many other local individuals and agencies. “It’s a way to celebrate what they’re doing,” she said. “It’s an organization that tries to place people who want to volunteer with the needs in the community.”

Plumridge said she has used Volunteer Connection as a member of the Rotary Club of Boulder Flatirons and Meals on Wheels groups to find volunteer opportunities. Volunteer Connection “is integral in the community,” she said. “That’s why this is really important ... because they help so many people.”

Volunteer Connection

By Marj Hellebust for Frazier Meadows, The Mirror

To continue spotlighting residents who volunteer beyond the Frazier campus, today we point to Herb Harris. Herb is pleased when he can use his computer skills for volunteering. He worked for IBM in Boulder as an in-house computer programmer for more then 24 years.

Now he edits and formats volunteer profiles for the Volunteer Connection of Boulder County, a clearing house for volunteers and jobs. Herb has been spending about 15 hours a month for the past three or four years on this. Each week he gets information and a photo for two people, one who volunteers in Boulder and one in Longmont. He formats and processes these items and places them on the Volunteer Connection Website.

Previously Herb volunteered for 10+ years with Community Food Share. Here at Frazier he maintains the monthly birthday lists for The Mirror and the Activities Department. It, with help from other volunteers, distributes a card and flower to each FMRC resident on his/her birthday. Herb also does signage for the Surplus Store and the Clothes Closet, and he and his wife, Jean, help out with Trinkets & treasures. He also published The Mirror for a few years.

Jobs, purchases, extra time spent helping others
By Paula Pant, Colorado Daily, August 27, 2006

A new revolution is taking place across the nation. No, it's not as scintillating as the sexual revolution of the 1960s. Nor is it as headline-dominating as the democratic revolutions infusing nations across the globe, from Iran to China. But it is - some say - equally important.

The woes of the 21st century have created a sharp resurgence in volunteerism and civic engagement across the United States.

“The events of the past five years, starting on September 11 in 2001, (triggered) the immediate responsiveness of people,” said Laura Kinder, executive director of Volunteer Connection, a Boulder-based volunteer placement agency that works with more than 450 area nonprofits.

“Then there was a series of natural disasters,” said Kinder. “One year it was like the whole west was on fire. Another year, (Hurricane) Katrina was that piece.”

Major grassroots political campaigns to feed the hungry or shelter the cold are few and far between. But people across the U.S. are increasingly looking to all aspects of their lives - employment, consumer habits, and extracurricular volunteerism - to better the world.

Others look to for-profit companies who practice “social responsibility,” an increasingly-popular buzzword that in the past 5 years has fueled the rise of major distributors such as Whole Foods and Wild Oats, and the products on its shelves - Seventh Generation, Annie's Naturals, Sambazon, Clif Bar.

Even toilet-paper is recycled.

Cars are fueled with French-fry grease-and not just Volkswagen Buses driven by hippies headed to Rainbow Gatherings, but mainstream vehicles such as the University of Colorado's Buff Buses, which shuttle athletes to away games and freshmen to dormitories.

“I think there's something very unique with the young people,” said Kinder. “Part of that's the events of the past five years, and then also in the corporate world, things like Enron and other businesses that aren't necessarily showing the best practices.”

Locally, the dedication of young adults to civic engagement is undoubtedly evident in schools across Boulder. This past spring, Naropa University held two “Compassion in Action Days,” while the University of Colorado at Boulder hosted a “Better-Boulder, Better-World” day of service. Local high schools, from New Vista High School in Boulder to Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette, held service programs lasting from one to four full days.

The events coincided with National and Global Youth Service Day, though “day” is a misnomer - the enthusiasm was so enormous that the “day” was actually spread out over three: April 21-23.

Volunteer-tracking agencies like the National Corporation for Community Service report a steady rise in volunteer trends.

The resurgence in volunteerism isn't just limited to youth. Americans 50 and over are giving both time and money in record numbers. The public's recent attention has been captured less by Paris Hilton than by Warren Buffet, the investor who lives in a $31,500 Nebraska home but gave $30.7 billion to charity.

Donors are increasingly opening up not only their checkbooks but their day planners, said Josie Heath, president of the Community Foundation, which advises Boulder residents planning philanthropic giving.

“Americans have always liked the idea of hands-on philanthropy,” said Heath.

The resurgence is taking place everywhere - in churches and faith communities, in Spanish-speaking and English-speaking agencies, in secular schools and among groups of friends.

“A lot of people are attracted to finding meaning in the work that they do,” said Kinder.

City of Longmont Hosts Volunteer Fair

Organizations seeking volunteers are invited to participate in a Volunteer Fair Tuesday, June 20 at Roosevelt Park, 4-8 pm. This new event offers the opportunity for organizations to increase their visibility and share information with residents about volunteer opportunities in their community.

The fair will take place in conjunction with the Outdoor Air Market and the summer concert featuring the Longmont Concert Band and Longmont Barbershoppers (concert starts at 6:30 pm).

The volunteer fair is being sponsored by Longmont Parks and Open Space, Longmont Senior Services, and Volunteer Connection.

A $5 booth fee will be collected from each organization and tents are available to rent for an additional $25. Deadline for submitting an application is June 13. For more information and an application, call Kari Grotting at 303-651-8495 or Deborah Price, 303-774-4692.

Service In Bloom
By Paula Pant, Colorado Daily, April 30, 2006

Local nonprofit organizers celebrate the hundreds of people who lent a hand to community projects throughout this week in recognition off National Volunteer Week.

"National Volunteer Week is definitely a time when we honor all of the people who donate their time and talent. . . to help make their community a better place," said Laura Kinder, executive director of Volunteer Connection, a agency which connects aspiring volunteers to local nonprofits which suit their interests. "It's a really important piece of being a citizen."

Sponsored by the national volunteer-promotion agency points of Light Foundation, National Volunteer Week (NVW) came into effect in 1974 through am executive order signed by President Nixon.

This year, NVW ran from April 23 to 29, and was preempted by National and Global Youth Service Day, April 21-23.

The week continues to be recognized at the national level - President Bush spent part of NVW in Louisiana and Mississippi promoting service projects, and 21 NVW events were attended by cabinet secretaries and other high-ranking government officials. The president's Council on Service and Civic Participation released a public service announcement promoting a web site, www.volunteer.gov, which lists local agencies in need of volunteers.

"During National Volunteer Week, and throughout the year, we appreciate the millions of volunteers across America and strive to be a more compassionate and decent society," said Bush according to a press release.

"A lot of us made resolutions on January first that may have included helping our community, and spring is a good time to begin that," said Kinder. "It's a good time to set the pace for the rest of the year."

The month of April has seen schools and agencies across Boulder sponsor one-day service projects in droves. Naropa University held it's "Compassion in Action Days," two days of service projects, earlier in the month, while CU-Boulder held it's "Better Boulder - Better World" service day in mid-April.

April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month and Earth Day is April 22.

"My philosophy is that spring is a time of renewal, it's a time of coming out and celebrating rebirth and the good things that come with this season," said Kinder,

"There was a group working with pre-school students who had never worked with pre-schoolers before, who liked it so much they're interested in doing it this summer," said Doyen Mitchell, Community Service Coordinator for Alexander Dawson School, whose students kicked off NVW with a day of service.

She noted that service not only benefits the outside community, but also creates a sense of community between volunteers.

"It seems like the faculty and students enjoy working together. . . working together provided camaraderie," said Mitchell. "Probably the organizers of NVW realize they're not the only ones doing it."

NVW is not just a time for hosting service days and encouraging new volunteers - it's also a time to thank volunteers who are already volunteering regularly. The Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross "sent out thank-you letters and e-mails to all of our volunteers," said Nicole Adair, marketing manager.

Mitz and Millie Kurth have volunteered with the Red Cross' transportation unit for two decades. They, too, notice the sense of community that stems from volunteerism.

"They're all friends. If they ride with you they become friends," said Mitz Kurth. "One of my clients, who has been blind since birth, got an eye infection a year ago and had to have both eyes removed. She's waiting for her glass eyes and said she doesn't know whether to get the green or blue eyes. That's her sense of humor. She has the kind of personality that after you've met her a few times you never forget her," says Kurth.

Every year the Kurths also create almost 500 music books in Braille, which they distribute to the blind.

Ray Stockham, a retired public school teacher who has volunteered with the Red Cross in Denver for 23 years, echoed the same sentiment.

"It's something rewarding to do because I get a lot of 'thank yous'. There are clients that we have over and over so I get to know them," Stockham said. His work with the Red Cross has also taken him to aid victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at Ground Zero and victims of Hurricane katrina.

Being thanked, say many, is the best form of payment for a volunteer.

Several volunteers went to Lafayette at the start of NVW to tend the yards of ill or elderly people who couldn't do the work themselves.

"At one site, a woman came out to say thank you, thank you, thank you to the volunteers," said Kinder.

Satisfaction also stems from seeing the difference that volunteer work creates. A group of volunteers who recently cleaned up the area around Coal Creek, in the south of Boulder County, reported seeing a major before-and-after impact.

"The creek, from what they told us, was in awful condition," said Kinder. "When they left that area it was clean and beautiful. They could visually see that they were making a difference."

Broadway building faces change
By Alicia Wallace, Boulder Daily Camera, January 13, 2006

A makeshift "closed" sign has hung in the front window of Alexander's & Levorio's Creekside Cafe for a couple of weeks — but it's not what it looks like.

Not only is the restaurant expected to reopen, but discussions have gone on behind those closed doors that could lead to a mix of uses at the building, 1718 Broadway.

On Wednesday, John Haertling, the building's owner, met with a handful of members from Boulder County nonprofits to brainstorm possible uses of some of the additional space in the building. Past tenants include the Library Pub, La Estrellita and the Yocom photography studio.

The building could be used to help showcase nonprofit organizations, Haertling said. "I don't want to disengage with the restaurant. That's in place," he said.

At the Wednesday meeting, Haertling and other members of nonprofit groups brought up various ideas — from office and meeting space for organizations to a nonprofit-themed cyber cafe.

Laura Kinder, executive director of the Volunteer Connection of Boulder County, said the building could become a "known place for good works being done in Boulder County."

"I think, no matter how it goes, there are many different creative ways to make it happen," she said.

One idea she proposed was utilizing the table top space to give information about local nonprofits, and to have a "fun menu" of volunteer activities. Community Food Share Chief Executive Officer Jim Baldwin suggested the idea of an Internet cafe where people can find information about nonprofits.

Haertling said he has discussed his ideas with Alex Cordova, the restaurant's owner.

"He is totally open to the idea of what it would take to become a more vital business in the area," Haertling said. "He has been successful in the summer and has had his challenges in this winter with staffing and various things that just added up to a point where something had to slow down and he had to reconnect."

Cordova, who also operates Alexander's Mexican Restaurant across the street, said he temporarily closed the small restaurant last fall to generate traffic to the larger Alexander's at 1718 Broadway.

"The reason I did that was I was trying to get people to get used to it, which we did," Cordova said. "But then at the same time I got a lot of complaints of when I was going to reopen the little one."

The smaller one, which Cordova has run for about 18 years, is open again.

Along with a slower winter season, the primary manager of Alexander's and Levorio's had a sudden severe illness. So Cordova decided to temporarily close that restaurant with plans to reopen by February. By then, he said, he hopes to have a chef from New York in place and continue his plans to offer Mexican food, including some organic and vegan entrees, and a coffee and juice bar as well.

Haertling said he hopes to move forward with a proposal by March 15.

Filling family gaps - Mentors provide support, education to kids
By Melanie M. Sidwell, The Daily Times-Call, January 6, 2006

What do the following pairs of well-known people have in common?

Lance Armstrong and Eddy Merckx. Harry Potter and Professor Dumbledore. Oprah Winfrey and Maya Angelou.

The answer: The first person listed was mentored by the second one.

“Who mentored you?” is a question the nonprofit Volunteer Connection has asked prominent community members, as January is National Mentoring Month and Thank Your Mentor Day is Jan. 25.

MentorsMatter, a collaborative project among four area organizations, hopes to promote mentoring and its recruitment.

Boulder County Partners, I Have a Dream Foundation of Boulder County, Hope Project of Boulder County Department of Social Services and the YWCA of Boulder are partners in MentorsMatter.

“What (the agencies) have in common is that they’re looking for mentors for at-risk youth,” said Volunteer Connection executive director Laura Kinder.

The collaboration began four years ago when the agencies all struggled to find mentors for an estimated 250 local youths.

“The beauty of (the mentoring agencies) coming together for a recruitment effort is they can offer a menu for people if they would like to mentor and how they would go about it,” Kinder said.

Agencies like I Have a Dream provide more academic opportunities between a mentor and child, while Boulder County Partners and the YWCA offer recreational activities.

Mentors are matched with youths of the same gender who share interests.

“It’s a real struggle to recruit mentors,” Kinder said. “One of the reasons, which follows a national trend, is that a lot of people prefer one-time, episodic opportunities rather than a long-
term commitment, which mentorship really does require.”

Half of the 25 children waiting for mentors through Boulder County Partners are from Longmont, and only five of the 51 students through the IHAD Longmont project see mentors regularly.

These are “at-risk” children, a term placed on youngsters who live in an unstable environment, Kinder said.

They might be in foster care or homeless; they might be affected by drug or alcohol abuse; or their parents work multiple jobs.

Sue Cable, a Boulder real estate professional, said she tested the waters of mentorship by first tutoring a child in Longmont through the I Have a Dream Foundation.

“At first, it was pretty intimidating,” Cable said. “I just didn’t know where to start, where to go and I didn’t know how the relationship would be.”

She is now in her third year as a mentor to fourth-grader Alexis. Cable said she and Alexis have taken swimming lessons, worked on reading homework, attended “The Nutcracker” ballet and climbed on a jungle gym.

“It took (Alexis) a little while to trust me, but six months into it we had a bond that was really amazing,” Cable said. “It’s a great way for me to be involved in a child’s life without having a child.”

Research suggests mentoring benefits both the adult and the child involved.

In 1995, Big Brothers Big Sisters of America — the largest mentoring organization in the world — conducted a study that showed mentored children ages 10 to 16 were 46 percent less likely to start using drugs than unmentored kids.

Also, The Commonwealth Fund, a private nonpartisan foundation that supports independent research on health-care issues, surveyed 1,500 mentors, three-quarters of whom said their experiences provided a break from their busy professions and gave hem a chance to give back.

But “not all mentorships work out,” said Tamara Wendt, the IHAD Longmont project coordinator.

Wendt said she has seen mentorships fail because the volunteer, the child or the child’s family was not committed to the relationship or a mentor wasn’t flexible enough.

“But when it works, it is really fun and gratifying,” she said. “These kids come to count on these adults. It’s kind of magical how it works. There are no rules for how that happens.”

Mentors “come to volunteer because either they were an at-risk child and they say ‘nobody helped me’ or somebody did and they want to repay that,” said Susi Keith, executive director of Boulder County Partners, a Longmont agency dedicated to mentoring area youth.

“Mentoring today is what families did by nature two or three generations ago,” Keith said.

Kinder said mentors can be any caring adult: a teacher, a parent or even an employer.

“These agencies have come together and recognized they need the community to step forward to help our children, and because of their concern for all children in Boulder County, they’re on a mission to recruit mentors and provide mentors with the best support possible,” Kinder said.

Potential mentors endure a rigorous screening process, which includes a criminal background check, personal references, proof of driver’s license and an interview, as well as training to ensure a safe environment for the children.

Mentors and children can participate in individual or group activities through the mentoring agency.

For more information about local mentoring opportunities, call Volunteer Connection at 303-444-4904.

Make your list, check it twice
By Enid Ablowitz, Boulder Daily Camera, December 5, 2005

The holidays are here and you're in the giving spirit.

You understand the Community Foundation's "Culture of Giving" campaign; you've volunteered — or will — for one of the many opportunities through the Volunteer Connection; you've collected envelopes from the direct-mail solicitations; and you are ready to make your year-end gifts.

Here's a checklist to make this year's charitable donations prudent, strategic and meaningful.

Conscious giving: Do you automatically toss a coin when you see the kettle and hear the bell? Have you written the same check to the same organization for the same amount 10 years in a row? This year, don't just be reactive. Be aware of all the ways you give and think about each gift as if it is your only gift. Is it the right amount to the right organization using the right method at the right time? Don't just give out of habit. Stop feeling like you're paying bills.

Select the right gift: You can give "things" like clothes, toys and household items. You can give cash. You can give securities like stocks, bonds and mutual funds. You can give assets from an IRA or retirement fund, real estate, a life insurance policy or even a portion of your estate when you die. You can give assets and get income, or you can give income and only lend the asset. Each type of gift has potential tax implications related to income tax charitable deductions, possible avoidance of capital gains tax and potential estate tax relief. Check with your advisors to be sure your gift is personally and financially optimized.

Timing is everything: If you want your charitable deduction in 2005, you must follow certain rules, like assuring that the gift is "delivered" on or before Dec. 31. That means the mail date or hand-delivery date, not the date a check was written. In the case of a credit-card payment, delivery is the charge date, not the date you pay the bill. Verify the actual charge date if you make gifts via Web sites. Even though you provide the information by Dec. 31, the charge may not actually be processed for days.

Leverage: Find ways to make your gift multiply. Check with your employer about a matching gift program. By meeting a donor's fundraising challenge you could double your gift. Or create your own challenge grant to stimulate giving by other donors for your charitable purpose. Make the federal government your partner by redirecting dollars you would pay in taxes to your favorite nonprofit. Then increase the size of your gift by the amount of the tax you will save through charitable deductions and avoidance.

Document: Receipts, and sometimes appraisals, are necessary to claim tax deductions. Be sure you understand the receipts you are given. Some could be for less than you thought you gave because you may have received a benefit that diminishes the deductibility, such as the cost of a dinner at a fundraising gala. Be sure you are properly acknowledged — and thanked — by the charitable recipient. If you are making a large gift, ask for a gift agreement that spells out how your gift is to be used.

Think longer term: Consider making a multi-year pledge. You may be able to make a larger gift than you thought you could. Your gift might be set aside to support the establishment of a new program or it might allow the organization to rely on cash flow to make important commitments. If you have a significant financial event coming up, like the sale of a business or property or an inheritance, think about this year's philanthropy as the precursor to what will follow. Perhaps you can provide the equivalent of an endowment distribution now and build the actual endowment when the additional funds become available. By planning ahead, tax strategies can be optimized. The same is true of legacy giving. Estate planning can include a charitable component making your philanthropic potential much larger than you might think.

Give joyfully: Feel the joy of giving. Experience the satisfaction of making a difference. Philanthropy celebrates the human spirit and enhances our lives.

Seniors put skills to work by volunteering
By Jennifer Quinn, Boulder County Business Report, Novermber 25th-December 8th

Seniors are repositories of history, schooled from years of experience in work and life. But retired from the job market, they often lack an outlet for their skills.

The retired and Senior Volunteer program, known as RSVP, is a program that places seniors in volunteer positions throughout the community. RSVP has three offices - in Boulder, Longmont and lafayette - and currently has 1,000 active volunteers ages 55-years and up from Boulder and Broomfield counties.

According to Maureen Ewing, executive director for RSVP, volunteers worked 170,000 hours last year at more than 200 nonprofit origanizations including the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, in area hospitals and police stations.

In addition, RSVP provides free safety-net programs in which seniors provide help for other seniors. "The goal is to keep seniors and adults with disabilities independent for as long as possible," Ewing said.

Carry-Out Caravan is one of these programs. Volunteers take grocery orders, shop and deliver groceries for people who are unable.The program partners with Albertson's Inc., and is offered to people in Longmont, Boulder, Louisville, Lafayette, Erie, Superior and Lyons. Each week 90 volunteers help more than 300 with grocery shopping. From 2003 to 2004, Ewing said the program had an 84 percent increase in orders.

RSVP volunteer Dorothy Field, age 78, works Monday through Thursday each week. She volunteers for Carry-Out Caravan, the Humane Society Thrift Shop and at the help desk of both Emergency Family Assistance Association and RSVP.

"Volunteering is good for us seniors," Field said. "Volunteering keeps us busy and not worrying about ourselves and other things." She also enjoys the social aspect, meeting and spending time with other like-minded people.

"At this age nobody wants you for a job," she said. "This way we can get out and work like having a job." Laughing she added, "The paycheck is not really enough," since volunteers, of course work for free. But their donated time is of considerable value. In 2004, the estimated value of volunteer time is $17.55 per hour, according to the Independent Sector, a leadership forum for charities, foundations and corporate-giving programs. If RSVP's volunteers were paid it would cost almost $3 million each year.

"We work with people's skills, interest and availability," Ewing said. "The senior volunteers commit to what they want to do from a one-time event to 40 hours a week."

Herb Harris Jr., age 81, worked for IBM in Boulder as an in-house computer programmer for more than 24 years. He now helps manage and update the Web site for the Volunteer Connection of Boulder County. He constructs a Web site profile page each week featuring one Longmont and one Boulder resident.

"I get a hold of the information on the person, family or a group of people and format it to the Web site along with a photo," Harris said. "I have been volunteering for a long time, and when I found this opportunity it appealed to me because I could put to use some of my computer skills and work from home."

Harris volunteers approximately 25 hours a month and also helps with information signs at Frazier Meadows in Boulder as well as the Boulder and Broomfield counties Community Food Share program.

Another RSVP safety-net service is the Handyman Fix-It Program in which seniors install grab bars, smoke alarms, as well as fix faucets, lamps, hang mirrors, pictures and perform other useful tasks. Another more training-intensive program is the Companionship Service in which RSVP trains volunteers to visit housebound seniors and make daily phone calls to check in.

Eleanor Hoffman, age 88, volunteers with Habitat For Humanity, RSVP and other community seervice centers. She said the best part about retirement is, "Nobody tells you what to do."

"I love to volunteer," she said. "It makes me feel good about myself, and I get to meet people. It is my way to give back to the community."

Many senior volunteers share their specializied skills. Jean Barker, age 75, was a social worker before she retired. She has volunteered at Voices For Children as a child advocate for 18 years, counseling and working with children who are going through foster placement or other difficult situations.

"Children need lots of encouragement." she said. "I would play and talk with them. You feel as though you can make a difference."

Barker said social agencies have difficulties keeping close tabs on each child. Her work was to coordinate information with the children's schools and foster parents. Another of her favorite volunteer activities is to do at-home visits with seniors.

"I get more out of volunteering than I put into it," Barker said. "It's a good feeling of accomplishment and contributing to the community."

Laura Kinder, executive director of the Volunteer Connection of Boulder County, said seniors are able to contribute in ways other age groups cannot. She feels fortunate to work with seniors.

"Every retiree volunteer is individual," Kinder said. "They bring a level of maturity and knowledge to the workplace that can be applied to any agency, program or service."

What are the biggest needs?

By Paula Pant, Colorado Daily, Your Town Correspondent, November 27, 2005

With the season of giving upon us, many people are searching for interesting charities that need their time and money.

But with so many organizations out there, how can the average person scan the volunteer and donation needs of them all?

The Holiday Volunteer and Donation Opportunities 2005 List does just that. More than 12 pages long, the List catalogues the specific needs of local charitable agencies. Updated on a daily basis as new needs form, the list is perfect for anyone looking to give a day - or even a few hours - of their time to those in need.

The List was compiled by the Volunteer Connection, a clearinghouse organization that links altruistic community members with local nonprofit and government agencies.

“This time of year affords a lot of people flexibility with their schedules that they don't allow themselves through the year,” said Morgan Lipton, office manager of the Volunteer Connection. “It's a trend that the Volunteer Connection is catching on with - that many people are interested in volunteering for a one-time deal.”

If you're interested in setting an example for your own children, many organizations on the list welcome families to volunteer together. The Boulder County Elks, for example, embrace families and groups who are interested in delivering gift baskets on Dec. 17 to the elderly and homebound. Making decorations for Christmas trees in Longmont is “ideal for scout groups, home school groups, or families” and can even be done from home.

The 2005 List specifies any volunteer age minimum (usually 16, sometimes 18) or requirements (such as car ownership). Each listing begins by specifying where the service takes place (Longmont, Boulder, Niwot, etc.) and many opportunities allow shifts for as short as one hour (singing carols at Longmont's Old Fashioned Holiday Event) or for as long as a volunteer is interested in staying.

“So many people think they don't have time to give because we're so overscheduled,” said Lipton. “Then when they get into these organizations, they see how much they're appreciated and how much fun they have, and many people start to make time (to continually volunteer).”

The List doesn't merely catalogue volunteer opportunities, either - it's second half lists the specific donations different agencies are searching for. The Longmont Rotary Coat Drive, for example, is searching not only for winter coats but also sleeping bags, boots, hats, gloves and warm clothes. They list their donation centers, which span the area. Stand Up for Kids, anticipating the start of a new semester or quarter of school in January, is searching for spiral notebooks, pens, and colored construction paper.

The need for supplies is greater this season, says Lipton, because of recent natural disasters garnering national attention.

“There are a number of organizations this holiday season that are in desperate need of basic supplies,” said Lipton. “Community members that usually support their local organizations have given nationally. I think the willingness (to donate) gets funneled much more toward national organizations such as the Red Cross.”

In addition to the donations pouring in to aid Katrina victims - sometimes at the expense of the local cold and hungry - Lipton noted that many local organizations use their resources to help displaced evacuees in the local area, or to help charities with the same mission in disaster-ridden areas.

“Stand Up for Kids sent surplus supplies to Houston (in the Katrina aftermath),” said Lipton.

Regardless of annual trends in donations, the 2005 List is a stepping stone for prospective volunteers to embark on their giving. The Volunteer Connection also e-mails monthly bulletins listing volunteer and donation needs to interested people, and invites people to volunteer alongside the Volunteer Connection staff each month in “Walking the Talk” as they volunteer at a local agency.

“Someone who is looking to volunteer may have no idea where to begin,” said Lipton.

To receive copies of the 2005 Holiday Volunteer and Donation Opportunities List, e-mail [email protected] or call 303-444-4904.

Charities face a hard sell across Boulder County
By Mary Butler, Camera Staff Writer, October 20, 2005

Survey says locals lag metro area in volunteer hours and donations

Charities seeking volunteers for a quick weekend project can find them easily in Boulder County. But when it comes to soliciting donations or sustained volunteer efforts, such as delivering meals to the elderly or mentoring youth, it's a tougher sell.

Half of metro Denver philanthropists live in either Boulder or Jefferson counties, but still Boulder County falls behind when it comes to charitable giving, according to a survey released by the Denver Foundation on Wednesday.

Residents here devote an average of 2.7 percent of their incomes toward good causes versus the seven-county average of 3.1 percent. Boulder County folks are more likely to volunteer, but on average they give fewer hours: 14.9 hours per household a month, versus the metro-area average of 18.1 hours a month.

"Part of it is people don't believe there's a need," said Josie Heath, president of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. Poverty is less visible in Boulder County, but it is here and Heath said it's important to educate the public.

"We need to find ways for people to connect more to their community," she said. "Talk to EFAA (Emergency Family Assistance Association) or Community Food Share. They'll tell you people are hungry. There are 1,200 people who are homeless. Some people think that's by choice. They don't realize how many are working homeless."

The survey results coincide with the beginning of the nonprofit world's high season — Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are right around the corner.

The telephone poll of 754 people in the seven-county region is a follow-up to a similar survey taken in 2000. Such a tool helps track the reasons why people give and the barriers that keep people from giving then disseminate that information to business leaders and nonprofit groups who can use it to make the community better, said Rich Lopez, a member of the Denver Foundation's board of trustees, a lawyer and former deputy mayor of Boulder.

This latest survey reinforces trends chronicled several times in the past five years, including a philanthropic survey of Boulder County in 2000.

In 2003, a Chronicle of Philanthropy survey showed Boulder County was ranked 46th out of 63 Colorado counties in giving, based on the percentage of donated "discretionary income" itemized on tax returns. Then, Boulder County residents on average donated 5.9 percent of their discretionary income, or $2,964 of $50,335. Conejas County residents, with an average discretionary income of $28,758, gave the most — 18.8 percent, or $5,413.

Today, the good news is that almost everyone in the Denver metro area — 96 percent — donates money to charities, and 98 percent of residents gives either time or money, Lopez said.

The Denver Foundation's 2005 survey showed 99 percent of Boulder-area residents donates money to causes ranging from animal shelters to arts organizations, which is higher than the seven-county average of 96 percent; the percentage of Boulderites who volunteer is also above average, 82 percent versus 74 percent.

What's lacking is how much they give of their time and money.

Laura Kinder, executive director of Volunteer Connection, a volunteer referral service, said organizations seeking volunteers have a tough time finding people willing to make long-term commitments.

"Because of the lifestyles of people, they have so many different things competing for their time — families, career, school, taking care of an adult or someone with special needs, they have their own businesses, and of course, there's recreation," Kinder said.

Recently, the Boulder County Arts Alliance sought volunteers for its Shoot Out Boulder event, she said. People were able to provide support over a weekend, when most people are available to volunteer.

But organizations such as Meals on Wheels always are seeking volunteers who are able to make a weekly commitment to fix, pack and deliver food. Similarly, various mentoring organizations keep running lists of young people waiting for an adult mentor.

Even so, the numbers support that volunteering is appealing to locals. They just do it in their own way.

"You make a direct change in someone's life, and you're not giving money when you don't necessarily know where it goes," said Mike Kabjian, founder of Boulder-based Community Buzz, which stages the annual Metro Denver Volunteer-A-Thon.

While studies say Boulder County residents are stingy in their charitable giving, Kabjian says volunteer hours shouldn't be minimized.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, one volunteer hour is worth about $17.50.

"If you give 10 hours to a nonprofit every month, about $175, that's no small contribution," he said. "Those 10 hours spent tutoring a child are valuable."

This year, Kabjian traveled to Thailand to help with tsunami relief efforts and organized a local drive to airlift supplies to victims of Hurricane Katrina.

But he says it's important not to be driven simply by newspaper headlines in deciding how to donate time and money to good causes. Nearly a year after the December 2004 tsunami, there's still much work to be done.

Ideally, he said, everyone should pick four or five causes close to their hearts.

"Give $50 each to three or four nonprofits and volunteer at one or two other nonprofits," he said. "Then you're a really engaged community member if you're doing that. And clearly, if you have more money to give, you've got to ask yourself, 'How important is community to me?'"

Lauren Casteel, the Denver Foundation's vice president of philanthropic partnerships, agreed.

"It feels good to give," she said. "All people want to give and have something to give."

Some barriers that limit giving include a person's perception of what makes a large charitable gift, and when people aren't asked for money as often and when giving isn't ingrained as a fundamental value.

For instance, people have consistently called $1,000 a major gift since the 1980s, said David Miller, president of the Denver Foundation.

Also, the number of Boulder County residents attending a house of worship is lower than elsewhere in Denver metro and beyond.

"If you go to your faith community more often, you get asked for money more often," the Community Foundation's Heath said. "It's not that we're not a spiritual community. But actual church or synagogue attendance here is very low."

Attending a house of worship imparts a value of having responsibilities beyond your own needs, she said.

"It shouldn't take a fire or a flood to get to know our neighbors and to want to help out and give money to the people who need it," Heath said.

Volunteer Connection merges in Boulder
By Melanie M. Sidwell, The Daily Times-Call, October 14, 2005

Volunteer Connection has closed its Longmont office, merging it with the nonprofit's Boulder location.

Longmont liaison Barbara Wright, who works part-time for Volunteer Connection, vacated the office at 2919 W. 17th Ave., Suite 205, on Oct. 5 and will now work three days a week at the Boulder office, at 2885 E. Aurora Ave., Suite 32, with two full-time employees and volunteers.

Executive director Laura Kinder said the merger will save the nonprofit about $7,000 a year.

Volunteer Connection's 2005-06 annual budget is $217,000, Kinder said.

"We are restructuring the organization so we can provide better services to all cities in Boulder County," Kinder said. "We do hope that our services in Longmont are in no way jeopardized by this move."

Volunteer Connection, a division of the United Way that was one of the first volunteer information and referral centers in the nation, has served Boulder County for 35 years.

The Longmont branch has played a large role in the Holiday Basket Program, Kinder said.

She said Longmont had a Volunteer Connection office for about seven years in three different locations.

The nonprofit leased the 17th Avenue location since 2001 from Longmont Real Estate Management Services, owned by Lori and Nelson Miner, whom Kinder said tried to work with the nonprofit to maintain a Longmont location.

Wright said, though, "it didn't make any sense to have an office for a part-time employee and pay a monthly rent," and the merger also saves on costs on utilities and equipment.

Kinder said the merger united its small staff under one roof, which she said will better serve volunteers and the agencies that rely on them.

For more information, call 303-444-4904.

Letter to the Editor
By Laura Kinder, Boulder Camera, August 28, 2005

Dear Editor:

There was an invitation for further understanding of how Volunteer Connection of Boulder County assists in the recruitment of volunteers through Elise Power's comments to the letters to the editor page of the Daily Camera's Aug. 19 issue. Ms. Power is concerned that Volunteer Connection is recruiting volunteers for a corporation, namely Petsmart. Our policy is to assist nonprofits, which hold the IRS designation of 501(c)(3) in the federal tax code; government volunteer programs, such as the City of Boulder Public Libraries, Boulder County's Park and Open Space and the St. Vrain Valley School District; and faith based organizations in community partnerships, such as ShareFest, headed by Calvary Bible Church for the benefit of schools in the Boulder Valley School District or the Winter Holiday Basket Programs that provide gifts, clothing and food to those who otherwise would have bleak celebrations.

The volunteer opportunity in question "sit with adoptable dogs at various Petsmarts" is with Every Creative Counts, a local nonprofit, who is able through the sponsorship of Petsmart, to showcase their animals in a comfortable space targeted to animal lovers, resulting in high adoption rates. Petsmarts do not sell dogs and cats and provide caging spaces and publicity for animal rescue groups at no cost. This is not unlike the sponsorship that Volunteer Connection has long enjoyed with the Daily Camera who provides newspaper space for promoting volunteerism in Boulder County.

We need everyone and every entity - nonprofits, governments, faith-based organizations, businesses, service groups, schools, no matter how big or small their contributions - to be striving for a community in which everyone thrives. Volunteer Connection can help those seeking to find where their time contribution can be most meaningful for them and their community. Please contact us at 303-444-4904 or [email protected]. We are fortunate to live in a place where so many people are donating their time and resources to making positive changes in our communities.

Laura F. Kinder

Executive Director
Volunteer Connection of Boulder County

Spreading the Wealth: Nine Local Non-Profits Receive Grants from United Way
By Stephanie Olsen, Colorado Daily, August 10, 2005

The Foothills United Way Foundation has awarded $75,000 in grants to nine local non-profit organizations in Boulder County.

"The goal of the foundation is to enhance the work of health and human service agencies in our community," said Pat Monacelli, director of marketing and communications for Foothills United Way.

The Foundation was started in 2000 after two families made two large donations to Foothills United Way.

"Those funds were invested and the [interest] that is earned each year off the investment of those funds is what is used to make the grants every year," said Monacelli.

This year, local non-profit organizations received anywhere from $5,000 to $12,000 in grant money.

The Volunteer Connection, an organization that promotes volunteerism and connects volunteers with opportunities in the community, received on of the nine grants from the foundation.

The organization plans to use its $5,000 grant to publicize the MentorsMatter program, which recruits mentors for at-risk youth.

"It's tremendously important to us because we don't have the spare funding…to do the extra recruitment that this project entails, so these grants are really great for us to be able to get the word out there to more community members," said Laurie Rhoads, the coordinator of the MentorsMatter program.

The Women's Wilderness Institute also received a grant of $5,000 to fund its Girls' Wilderness Program, which is a program that "builds courage, confidence and leadership for teen girls," according to Executive Director Laura Tyson.

She said the grant will help keep the program open to girls from low-income families who require scholarships to participate.

"Everything that we get is so important and so valuable and we just couldn't run our program without that kind of support," said Tyson. "Thanks to the support we've gotten from the community, both through grants and individual donors, in our eight years we've never had to turn away a girl for lack of funding."

Monacelli said the foundation is a supporting organization of the Foothills United Way and provides assistance to non-profit agencies that would not otherwise be provided by the United Way Community Safety Net Fund.

"It (the foundation) really is a way to enhance their (non-profit organizations') work and to meet needs above and beyond the normal United Way campaign," he said.

Foothills United Way Foundation awards $75,000 in grants
By fhuw, mytown.dailycamera.com, August 5, 2005

The Foothills United Way Foundation has awarded $75,000 in grants to local non-profit organizations, providing funding for a variety of programs, projects and capital improvements. This is the fifth year that the Foundation has awarded grants of this type.

Grants awarded are as follows:

Access Counseling — Expansion of services to Longmont Community, $10,000.

Boulder County Advocates for Transitional Housing Inc. — Collaborative program to support 10 transitional housing units for homeless or those at risk of being homeless, $7,500.

Boulder Shelter for the Homeless — Collaborative project with the Mental Health Center of Boulder County to support a mental health program for the homeless, $10,000.

Clinic Campesina — Purchase of a nasal pharyngyscope to provide patents more accessibility to specialized care, $8,000.

Dental Aid, Inc. — Collaborative project with Boulder Shelter for the Homeless to provide equipment for a dental room and on-site dental care at the shelter, $12,000.

Special Transit — Matched funding for the purchase of new vehicles to help transport people with limited mobility, $7,500.

The Volunteer Connection — Collaborative program to recruit adult mentors for Latino youth outreach, $5,000.

The Women’s Wilderness Institute — Funding for a Girls Wilderness Program, to keep the program accessible to low-income families, $5,000.

YMCA of Boulder Valley — Capital improvements and renovation of the Mapleton and Arapahoe branches, $10,000.

The Foothills United Way Foundation was established in 2000 as a supporting organization of Foothills United Way. The Foundation uses earnings on its principal to make annual grants to local health and human service organizations, to help enhance their work in our community.

"Drop in the Bucket" Panel Members
By Vanessa Miller, Boulder Daily Camera, August 3, 2005

The Boulder County Board of Commissioners appointed a nine-member panel Tuesday to provide recommendations on how money from the "Drop in the Bucket" campaign should be spent.

The county asked voters this spring to give TABOR refunds back to the county for redistribution to nonprofits. Commissioners said that combining the rebates, many of which were relatively small, could have a significant impact.

The county refunded about $2.5million in 2003 property tax revenue. Residents have returned more than $344,000 to date.

The panel will meet for the first time at 8 a.m. Friday at Turley's, 2805 Pearl St., Boulder.

It's members are:
Carly Hare, program director of the Community Foundation serving Boulder County;
Laura Kinder, executive director of Volunteer Connection of Boulder County;
Mariagnus Medrud, a community leader who serves on the city of Boulder's Human    Relations Commission;
Eleanor Montour, a Latina community activist;
Susan Morris, a member of PLAN-Boulder County;
Cindy Noble, director of Longmont Community Foundation;
Barbara Pingrey, director of Foothills United Way;
John Sackett, president of Avista Adventist Hospital; and
Jesse Wolff, executive director of Community Shares.

Web site of the day
Get your give-back on Volunteerconnection.com
By Jennie Dorris, Dirt, August 2, 2005

Let's take a gander at your karma balance - when's the last time you did something nice for free? Did you think helping your friend move a couple of blocks to his new apartment would satisfy the karma police for a good year or so? Why not get off your duff and find a couple of hours this month to do a good deed.

Boulder's Volunteer Connection has archived its stacks and stacks of volunteer opportunities at volunteerconnection.net. Check out the "issue area" menu where you can actually choose stuff that's fun for you - from working in the arts to volunteering with animals to cooking for the homeless.

If you're lazy like I am, e-mail [email protected] and she'll send you an e-mail every month letting you know some cool opportunities that are coming up. I'm eyeing an opportunity to wheel nursing home residents to their beauty shop appointments (and secretly hoping the blue-hair rumors are true).

Nonprofits streamline efforts with Web presence
Marketing, communication, fundraising improves
By Julie Gordon, Boulder County Business Report, May 27, 2005

Volunteer Connection of Boulder County used to fax its newsletters, but now the Boulder-based nonprofit e-mails them.

Local nonprofits such as Volunteer Connection know that just like businesses they have to be sharp on the Internet, and are increasingly building better Web sites and using e-mail for such things as marketing, fundraising and internal communication.

In May, the Volunteer Connection launched a new online database called 1-800-Volunteer.org. It provides agencies and volunteers with access to volunteering opportunities 24 hours a day, according to Executive Director Laura Kinder.

Volunteers can conduct a search based on the type of work they want to do and the city in which they want to work, Kinder said.

The new system, which allows volunteers to track their hours on the Internet, was built through the Points of Light Foundation & Volunteer Center National Network. As a member of the Points of Light Foundation, the Volunteer Connection was able to purchase the system for $1,500, Kinder said.

Volunteer Connection also uses the Internet to communicate between its two offices, and employees use it to conduct research, Kinder said.

The Internet is great because it saves money and paper, but the downside is that it tends to be impersonal and lessen face-to-face contact, which is important in running a nonprofit, executives of local nonprofits said.

“We know we have to be high-tech because that’s the nature of the world we live in,” Kinder said. “However, we still have to offer the personal touch.”

Community Food Share in Longmont uses the Internet to research grants as well as other foundations that it can get corporate funding from, said Development Director Terry Tedeschi. Additionally, Community Food Share uses the Internet to e-mail a one-page update on what’s happening with the organization, and to conduct a virtual food drive.

Without the Internet, Community Food Share would be “way behind the times, way behind other nonprofits,” Tedeschi said. “We wouldn’t be able to be in touch with people we need to be in touch with.”

Lafayette-based Imagine!, which helps people with developmental disabilities in Boulder and Broomfield counties, has had high-speed Internet access for about 10 years, according to Kevin Harding, information systems director.

The Internet enables employees to work out of the office, so they don’t have to come in. Employees can track their hours online.

Imagine! also has systems that track information about the people its services, including their medications and medical records, Harding said.

“Everything we have about the consumers is online,” Harding said. “We rely on it.”

Within the next three months, Imagine! also plans to start doing online training, which will cut down on costs because there will no longer be a need to have people come in and do it, Harding said.

Imagine!’s Internet use has probably quadrupled in the last five years, Harding estimated. Imagine! constantly updates its Web site, usually on a weekly basis.

Helping furry friends

The Longmont Humane Society and the Humane Society of Boulder Valley puts the animals that are available for adoption as well as lost pets and found pets on their Web sites. The sites advertise the different services the humane societies offer, and have donation information online.

“It would really change our business if we didn’t have the Internet,” said Jan McHugh-Smith, executive director of the Humane Society of Boulder Valley. “It’s expanded our adoption clientele. People come from Fort Collins, Denver and Colorado Springs because they fell in love with an animal pictured on our Web site.” Staff volunteers are dedicated to helping maintain the site.

Boulder-based Global Response uses the Internet to inform people worldwide about campaigns worldwide, and to send action alerts to members, said Paula Palmer, executive director.

The environmental organization has revamped its Web site, which now has a new design, more color and more links. The goal now is to make the children’s pages more interactive, Palmer said.

Global Response’s use of the Internet has steadily grown over the last 10 years, according to Palmer. “The Internet does offer us new opportunities.”

Boulder-based Eco-Cycle uses the Internet for newsletters and online seminars, Executive Director Eric Lombardi said. Employees are able watch a PowerPoint presentation and respond to it online.

The Internet puts Eco-Cycle “quickly in touch with the world of recycling and recycling ideas,” Lombardi said.

“We bring that home,” Lombardi said. “We bring that to Boulder County. It helps us be better, which in then helps the community be better.”

Eco-Cycle is able to save paper because it can edit documents in cyberspace and save money because it can do in-house graphic design instead of hiring it out, but the problem is that there isn’t any face-to-face interaction with the Internet, Lombardi said.

Eco-Cycle plans to roll out an online democracy project this year that will entail organizing Boulder County communities on increasing recycling. “We definitely have plans to get bigger and better on the Internet, it is very much a focus of ours right now.”

Coordinating volunteers

The I Have a Dream Foundation, which has three offices in Boulder, two in Lafayette and two in Longmont, uses the Internet to communicate between the different locations, said Chief Executive Lori Canova.

People sign up to volunteer for the I Have a Dream Foundation online. Volunteers also report on their hours online, which get e-mailed to project coordinators.

The foundation e-mails volunteers a newsletter as well as information about free tickets for Rockies games and plays online.

Additionally, the foundation has a Web-based database that tracks students’ attendance, activities and test scores.

The Have a Dream Foundation’s six after-school centers have computer labs, and students use the Internet to look up information for school-related assignments.

“We really couldn’t function without the Internet,” Canova said. “It’s an integral part of the organization. It’s definitely made us a more professional and efficiently run organization.”

Mentor Mania - Local Groups Combine To Search For Volunteers
By Meredith Arndt, Your Town Correspondent for the Colorado Daily,
January 24, 2005

Some say that timing is everything. But some people in this community are contending that it is not timing, but time, that is everything - especially to a child.

Four individual mentoring organizations throughout Boulder County: the HOPE Mentoring and Tutoring Program of Boulder County Social Services, I Have a Dream Foundation, the YWCA of Boulder and Boulder County Partners, have come together to encourage the community to give their own time to local at-risk youth.

After several years of discussion and frustration over the fact that mentors continued to dwindle, these four organizations banded together in order to make a difference in the life of a child.

Susi Keith, the executive director of Boulder County Partners, says that the biggest challenge of recruiting mentors is finding people who can make the commitment that the job requires.

"There are so many wonderful volunteer opportunities in this community, but mentoring is not a one-time opportunity, says Keith. "We [Boulder County Partners] are continually facing a deficit of mentors. But for us, no volunteers means no programs."

These organizations are now working together to serve the needs of local youth.

In conjunction with National Mentor Month [January], representatives from each of these organizations and the assistance of the Volunteer Connection approached the area's city councils to declare January "MentorsMatter" month in Boulder, Lafayette, Longmont and Superior. The proclamation was released mid-January.

"Coming together helped the organizations realize the power in numbers," says Laurie Rhoads, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteering at the Volunteer Connection.

The Volunteer Connection, Boulder's resource for matching interested persons with the right volunteer opportunity, is a natural catalyst for helping all four of the mentoring organizations.

Keith says that her organization alone serves the needs of 70 to 80 youth every year. However, for every youth that is matched with a mentor, there are that many more waiting for their chance.

In fact, Keith says that mentoring a youth is actually giving him or her a chance to see life from a different perspective. No matter the reason why a young person is at risk - a broken home, poverty or substance abuse - mentors are often a means of ending a dysfunctional cycle.

"The time a youth spends with their mentor is their chance to be a kid again in a safe environment," explains Keith. "For youth to have the chance to see the opportunities that are available to them makes a community better. In a very short period of time, mentors improve the life of a child. That is a beautiful and simple thing."

Rhoads says that almost everyone has had at least one special person in his or her life that helped to open up possibilities along the way. With patience, encouragement, and support, mentors impact their mentees on different levels and in varying degrees.

Each of the organizations involved in the MentorsMatter collaboration accepts mentors who are at least 18 year old and are available for one-on-one time with an at-risk youth. The monthly time commitment varies within each organization. For instance, Boulder County Partners mentors will participate in an application and training process and must commit to three hours per week for at least one year.

To determine whether or not a person has what it takes to be a mentor, Keith says that everyone in their heart of hearts can either imagine how differently their own life would have been with a mentor, or remember a mentor fondly, but perhaps didn't ever take the time to thank them. Becoming a mentor can complete the cycle of giving back.

"There are so many ways to become a mentor. People often think that to be a mentor they have to find hours to add to their week, but really they just have to be willing to bring a child into the hours of your week. Mentors simply share who they are with a child," says Keith.

For more information about the MentorsMatter program, contact Laurie Rhoads at the Volunteer Connection at (303) 444-4904.

Outsourcing - Sun Takes Innovative Approach to EVP
By Harvey Meyer, Volunteer Leadership, Fall, 2004

By all accounts, Elizabeth "Liz" Griswold's work is much admired at Sun Microsystems. As head of Sun's employee volunteer program (EVP) at the company's Broomfield, Colo., campus, Griswold is lauded for being responsive and offering the 3,000some workers purposeful community service opportunities.

"Liz is a very good team leader and is really concerned about delivering quality service," says Andrea Gooden, executive director of Sun's foundation. She also manages the Global Community Development department, which oversees the company's EVP and other efforts.

Too bad Griswold has zero chance of being promoted. She is a hired gun, contracted to operate Broomfield's EVP. She also oversees contractors at four other campuses where the Santa Clara, Calif.-based company's employees perform substantial community service.

"Why should companies recreate the wheel and operate their employee volunteer program internally when it can be done very well externally?" asks Griswold. "Most companies are operating meaner and leaner these days," adds Clif Harald, Sun's public affairs manager in Broomfield. "I think there's been an encroachment on this [EVP] type of work being a priority. Since Volunteer Centers eat, drink, breathe and sleep volunteerism, they're much better networked" than an in-house coordinator to serve both nonprofits and employees interested in community service.

Market Niche

No one knows how many firms contract all or much of their EVP services, but it's believed to be rare. Many companies do, however, hire Volunteer Centers to manage local short-term events.

For Gooden, a former elementary school teacher who considers herself a passionate pragmatist when it comes to workplace volunteerism, contracting out all Sun's EVP services is a no-brainer. "I am a little surprised more companies haven't gone that route," she says.

Griswold works 30 hours a week out of an office in Boulder's Volunteer Connection, a Volunteer Center nine miles from the Sun campus. The contract between the Volunteer Center and Sun pays Griswold's salary; helps pay for the office space and equipment she uses; and covers the cost of benefits in line with those of other center employees, says Laura Kinder, Volunteer Connection's executive director.

Many of Broomfield's Sun employees are clueless about Griswold's work-for-hire arrangement. They know Griswold-who is on the company's email system for sending them monthly email bulletins detailing volunteer opportunities in and around Boulder and Denver.

She provides a mix of individual and group activities, one-time events and long-term volunteer opportunities culled from more than 500 area nonprofits. If an employee expresses interest in a community service activity, Griswold will usually respond via email with a nonprofit's name and contact information. She will also field calls to discuss volunteerism tailored for individual employees.

These days Griswold is hearing from more Sun managers interested in fashioning team-building volunteer activities for employees. "I'll organize that type of event from beginning to end," she says. "In those cases, the nonprofit agency
wins and the manager and his employee group win because they get to help someone," as well as bond with co-workers.

Every month Griswold visits the Broomfield campus and meets with 20 to 30 employees, members of the Community Action Volunteer (CAV) team, to discuss volunteer opportunities. These meetings increase during three major community-service events: Back to School Drive, Holiday Drive and Worldwide Volunteer Week.

For the Back to School Drive completed in August, Griswold solicited suggestions from CAV members to determine which school districts should receive employees' donated school supplies. She and CAV members sorted out donations, stuffed backpacks with the supplies and then dropped off the goods at selected schools. Usually, she promotes Sun's three signature initiatives with emails, on closed circuit TV and with posters tacked onto community service bulletin boards and a prominent display wall.

"Many of our employees probably aren't even aware we contract out," says Gooden." [Sun's EVP contractors] have an email account and attend our planning meetings; they're an instrumental part of our business-not outsiders. I want
them to feel empowered, because they're part of the culture and are trusted allies."

Sun had an in-house EVP coordinator for only two years, from 1990 to 1992. Since then, the 30,000-employee company's relationship with contractors expanded; it now contracts out EVP duties at five campuses - in Broomfield; the San Francisco Bay area; Burlington, Mass.; and England and Scotland.

An obvious benefit of contracting is saving money. Sun doesn't pay benefits for its EVP contractors. No recruiting and training required, since the Boulder Volunteer Connection absorbs those expenses. And while Sun antes up for office space, equipment and supplies at the volunteer center, those costs are comparatively small.

Harald says it's easier for companies to maintain a commitment to community service by hiring a contractor. "In a traditional (in-house EVP coordinator) relationship, with the ebb and flow of work and mission creep, that can take a toll on original expectations defined years earlier," says Harald. "Griswold's job description is more easily preserved as a contractor."
Pros and Cons

As with Sun's other business units, it often contracts out services not directly associated with its core competencies. Gooden believes EVP contractors provide more efficient and effective service, quickly pinpointing which nonprofits sport volunteer opportunities that match employees' wants and needs.

"I have quick access to all these resources at my fingertips," explains Griswold. "If I worked at a business, you could acquire all this information, but it would take a long time. I can quickly look at my updated listing and see, for example, whether the volunteer opportunity is a one-time or long-term event and whether training is required."

During quarterly conference calls, Griswold and other contractors share new ideas and what is and isn't working at Sun's campuses. It's unlikely Sun would have regular access to such best practices information with an in-house coordinator.

With one hand in the corporate world and another in nonprofits, organizations like the Volunteer Connection can be
a liaison for both parties. As a result, companies and nonprofits better understand how the other operates.

Burdened by other responsibilities, Gooden is grateful the EVP operation requires minimal monitoring. She quickly scans Griswold's and other contractors' monthly reports logging employee volunteer activities. But mostly, she provides strategic and philosophic direction. "There are always challenges dealing with a diverse, global population, but no real problems," she says. "It's like the program runs itself."

The Sun EVP must be doing something right, because it's earning accolades. In 1999, the program won an award from the Boulder Community Foundation celebrating the partnership between the Volunteer Connection and Sun. Three years later, Sun received the prestigious Award for Excellence in Corporate Community Service.

For all its advantages, however, hiring contractors does have some drawbacks. An in-house coordinator has more opportunities to bump into employees in hallways and the lunchroom to encourage volunteerism and share community service ideas.

For some employees, contracting out EVP duties also delivers an impression the company is halfheartedly committed to community service; it may appear Sun is more driven by cost considerations than anything else.

Overall, though, Gooden couldn't be more pleased with Sun's 1992 decision to contract out. She's uncertain whether she'll hire contractors at other Sun campuses; much depends on employee interest. But Gooden strongly endorses
other corporations examining a contractor relationship.

"I really think they should consider it," she says. "For us, it's absolutely been a win-win."

Volunteers mark 9/11 anniversary with work
Hundreds take part in 20 projects around county
By Elizabeth Mattern Clark, Boulder Daily Camera, September 12, 2004

On the anniversary of the Sept 11, 2001, attacks, Brian Baumgarten and Phi Pham did their small part to better the world.

They pulled weeds. The two Monarch High School seniors donated their labor Saturday as part of the Volunteer Connection's effort to turn the anniversary of the nation's worst terrorist attacks into a day of volunteerism.

Others flocked to typical late summer festivities such as Niwot Nostalgia Day and Celebrate Lafayette. Or they caught the University of Colorado football game on TV, which was originally scheduled for Sept 15, 2001, and was postponed after the attacks.

About 1,000 people visited the Boulder Labs Science Festival, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the federal labs' dedication. Those festivities marked a sense of normalcy and even celebration that was lacking on the first two anniversaries of Sept 11.

But like Brian and Phi, about 300 people across Boulder County took part in the inaugural "I Volunteer Day." "Volunteering is kind of what America is about, " Brian said.

A group of 14 peop1e, mostly teens, cleaned up a weedy area near Sombrero Marsh in east Boulder, where schoolchildren learn about water ecology and wildlife.

Twenty projects in all, coordinated by the Volunteer Connection, ranged from painting walls to building trails to fixing fences.

At Community Food Share in Niwot, a volunteer crew of 17 people mostly from Amgen and Boulder Preparatory Char
ter High School sorted, weighed and distributed food that was donated for needy families. Some picked fresh corn from nearby Munson Farms.

"This is a big, special event for us to have this many people," said Community Food Share volunteer coordinator Sue Ericson. "It far exceeded my expectations."

Overall, though, organizers had been hoping for 750 volunteers to complete 38 projects. Volunteer Connection executive director Laura Kinder said the organization will have another "I Volunteer Day" but might change the time of year.

"We did get a lot of people saying this was a special day for them because it was September 11, and it was a day to go out and contribute to their communities," she said. "But others may have decided to commemorate the day in other ways."

City declares April 22 as “Volunteer-a-thon Day”
Boulder Daily Camera, April 22, 2004

Boulder’s Municipal Channel 8 will air Boulder County’s first Volunteer-a-thon from 6 to 10 pm on Thursday, April 22.

Through an official city declaration, Boulder Mayor Will Toor and the Boulder City Council encourage the public to watch the Volunteer-a-thon and to pledge volunteer hours for the next year by calling 303-444-4904 or by visiting www.volunteerathon.org.

Channel 8’s Volunteer-a-thon coverage features guests from the Volunteer Connection, Boulder Valley Humane Society, Foothills United Way, many of Boulder's nonprofit organizations, and local musicians Liza Oxnard, Wendy Woo, Johnny O, and Danny Shafer. The program includes a cook-off between Chef Bryan Smith from Boulder Shelter for the Homeless and Chef Doug Hunt from Meals on Wheels.

Channel 8 will repeat its Volunteer-a-thon programming at 6 pm on Saturday, April 24 and Sunday, April 25. Operators will be available to take volunteer pledges on both nights. Those with high-speed Internet connections may also watch from around the world at www.ci.boulder.co.us/channel8/live.html.

For more information, call Boulder Municipal Channel 8 at 303-441-4298.

Volunteering is giving
By Enid Ablowitz, Boulder Daily Camera, April 12, 2004

Time is money.

When we talk about philanthropy, we often think only of money, but there is also economic value, and when you give of your time to help a nonprofit organization, you are making "money" matter.

Something unique is happening on Apri 22 — Boulder County's first annual Volunteer-A-Thon, a collaborative venture between the Volunteer Connection and Community Buzz, and sponsored by The Daily Camera, Community Foundation, Channel 8 and many other members of the business and nonprofit communities.

Channel 8 will broadcast live from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the Boulder Public Library, profiling 20 or more local nonprofits through interviews with some of their volunteers. The goal is to encourage us all to pledge 35,000 volunteer hours over the next year. Viewers can pledge hours via telephone or Web site.

The Volunteer Connection is Boulder's clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities. Celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, they were thrilled with this effort to promote volunteerism and to actually connect people with volunteer opportunities. According to Executive Director Laura Kinder, the Volunteer Connection can help match people with opportunities and give them have meaningful experiences.

Last year, there were nearly 8,000 volunteer committments to more than 450 agencies. Whether solo or with a group of friends or family, whether for two hours or 200 hours, there are ways to make a difference in the community, and the Volunteer Connection is there to help find just the right ones. In fact, the majority of the personnel working for the Volunteer Connection are volunteers.

Mike Kabjian, and Jim Rettew, founders of the Community Buzz, are behind this effort with the Volunteer Connection to raise awareness of the many ways each of us can help sustain our local nonprofits, most of which are struggling against declining budgets and increasing demands. But they admit that they have hidden agendas too:

"We want to show people that volunteering is deeply satisfying. You always get something back, and most of the time it is much more than what you give. Sometimes it is obvious, but sometimes it is in the friendships you make and the sense of community that comes from working with people you wouldn't normally."

Mike's personal volunteer time is spent working with Boulder's emergency squad; Jim provides pro bono professional services.

According to U.S. government reports, almost 64 million Americans, nearly 30 percent of the adult population, volunteered from September '02 to September '03. Teenagers showed the largest increase in volunteer rates, while seniors spent more time each. The common perception is that women tend to volunteer more than men, but that gap is narrowing.

Many people cite "lack of time" as the reason they don't volunteer, but others find nontraditional ways to volunteer that fit their busy schedules. Consider, for example, the volunteer fundraisers who may host events, including sponsored runs or bike races, or make phone calls to help organizations get out their message. There are also volunteers who use the internet to accomplish their volunteer activities.

Whenever your time (labor) creates budget relief for a nonprofit, you are giving. Whenever you provide direct services like tutoring, or delivering meals, or pro bono medical or dental care, you are giving. Whenever you share your expertise with the board of an organization or even serve on that board, you are giving.

How can you participate in the Volunteerathon? More than 12,000 hours have already been pledged through the Web site. Click and commit at www.volunteerathon.org. You will be asked to select an area of interest like animals, crisis intervention, education, health, justice, and many others. If you want help in determining the right area, you can request it. You'll also be asked to commit to a certain number of hours for the year, taking into account that some people are regular volunteers, and others are sporadic or even one time volunteers.

Everyone can volunteer. Now is the time to give something back to your community. You might even pick up new job skills, build your resume, or make new friends.

Volunteer-a-thon to raise pledges of time
By Daily Camera Staff, Boulder Daily Camera, April 4, 2004

Want to make a difference in the community but don't know how?

Turn on your TV April 22 for the Volunteer-a-thon, a live television special organized by the Community Buzz and the Volunteer Connection. The broadcast at 6-10 p.m. on Boulder Channel 8, Longmont Channel 3 and Lafayette Channel 8 will seek pledges for volunteer hours in the same way a telethon seeks pledges for money. The goal is to reach 35,000 volunteer hours, the equivalent of over 17 work-years of time based on a 40 hour work week. The event will be rebroadcast 6 p.m.-10 p.m. April 24 and 25.

The format will consist of profiles of about 20 Boulder agencies, with an interview with a volunteer from each non-profit. The program also will include performances by local musicians, trivia and a raffle contest for all those who pledge. Viewers can pledge hours via telephone or Web site. Volunteers can start pledging time now by visiting www.volunteerathon.org. More than 11,000 hours have already been pledged.

For more information, contact Laura Kinder at Volunteer Connection. (303) 444-4904, [email protected] or Community Buzz: Mike Kabjian at (720)406-0987, mike@ communitybuzz.org or Jim Rettew (303) 440-8550, [email protected].

Making the Connection
By Meredith Arndt, Your Town Special Correspondent for the Colorado Daily,
December 22, 2003

Searching for a nonprofit organization or service agency to volunteer your time at among the more than 1,200 in Boulder County can be a daunting task.

The Volunteer Connection makes finding the right place at the right time a whole lot easier.

Established in 1969, the Volunteer Connection will celebrate 35 years of service to Boulder County in 2004. The Volunteer Connection was one of the first of four volunteer information and referral centers in the nation, and the first in Colorado.

Over the past 35 years, the Volunteer Connection has promoted volunteerism, connected volunteers with opportunities and helped organizations effectively engage volunteers to meet community needs.

"Boulder was very different at that time [in 1969]," says Laura Kinder, the executive director at the Volunteer Connection.

According to Kinder, in 1969 there were only a handful of nonprofit organizations, but with the vision of the Boulder County Commissioners and Marlene Wilson, the "founding mother" of the Volunteer Connection, the organization was founded to provide a foundation for volunteer management to local people and organizations.

Today, the Volunteer Connection works with nearly 450 local organizations to match their needs with volunteers in the community

"Volunteers provide a connection to the local community, and we are the resource that helps to make that connection," explains Kinder.

The Volunteer Connection provides consultation for a variety of opportunities. From personalized opportunities and group or youth programs to faith-based opportunities and corporate giving, the Volunteer Connection asserts that they are the place "where people and opportunities meet."

"In particular, we target youth and students because we believe that instilling the value of volunteerism at a young age will benefit a person and a community later in their lives," says Kinder. "We also focus on newcomers [to Boulder County] because it can be difficult finding a connection to the community in a new place, and we can help with that process."

Kay Harmsen, a regular volunteer at agencies the Volunteer Connection works with, says that the Volunteer Connection helped make her transition to Boulder easier.

"Before I was married, I lived in many cities across the U.S. By joining local nonprofits, not only was I able to support causes important to me, but I was able to acquaint myself with the community, network, participate in great social events and meet my best friends."

Kinder acknowledges that Boulder County has many issues that need to be addressed, but are often only met through the work of volunteers.

In fact, the Volunteer Connection has only five paid staff members. Kinder is the only full time employee.

"I am a firm believer in volunteerism," says Kinder. "I actually prefer to have volunteers step forward in completing projects for the organization."

The Volunteer Connection relies upon nearly 50 volunteers to provide service to the community.

Kinder says there are many reasons to volunteer but when people are asked why donate their time and skills to a particular organization, they generally respond that it is because someone asked them to.

"People often think that they are only giving back to an organization, but in fact volunteering is beneficial to people themselves. They are able to learn something new, meet new people and get what they want in their lives," she says.

With more than 1,500 opportunities at 450 organizations countywide, The Volunteer Connection is ready to make new connections every day.

However, Kinder says a recent study released by the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County found that the average of people giving and donating their time in Boulder is actually much lower than she would have expected.

"I was amazed to learn that the average person in Denver gives more and donates more time than the average person in Boulder," says Kinder. "In Boulder, we are surrounded by and see a lot of good being done, but I think for a healthy community, we can raise the bar."

To get involved and create a healthy community in Boulder, call the Volunteer Connection at 303-444-4904 in Boulder or 303-772-5772 in Longmont.

Nonprofits provide vital services to communities
Letter from The Longmont Times-Call Opinion Page, March 12, 2003

The week of March 10 will be celebrated throughout the state as Colorado Nonprofit Week. This week of activities and recognition will put a "Spotlight on Colorado's Nonprofits" in a time when the work of the nonprofit sector is more vital than ever to the well-being of our state.

Colorado has almost 16,000 nonprofits; 1,200 are in Boulder County. Nonprofits are anchors in times of community crisis and turmoil. They give solace in quiet times of personal despair. They are champions for the disadvantaged, the sick and the young. They are a voice for our open spaces, forests, rivers, animal life and historic landmarks. They are gatherers of community resources, channels for philanthropic ideals, neutral grounds for solving problems and committed advocates for needed change.

Their efforts are endless and enduring. More importantly, they are partners with government in responding to and addressing the problems of our communities. Without nonprofit organizations, the cost to our government and taxpayers to meet the needs of our citizens would be far greater.

Charitable impulses run deep in Colorado's people. The nonprofit sector needs the support of individuals and corporations during 2003 as never before. Please take the time during Colorado Nonprofit Week to learn about nonprofits in our community and find out how you can help. And thank them for the work they do for all of us.

For information about Colorado Nonprofit Week or about nonprofits in our county, visit www.canpo.org or call the Volunteer Connection at 303-444-4904.
Laura F. Kinder, Executive Director, Volunteer Connection
Barbara J. Shaw, Colorado Association of Nonprofit Organizations

Honor roll - Active volunteer, Meals on Wheels rewarded for community services
By Joe Southern, The Longmont Daily Times-Call, March 12, 2003

Age has not slowed Frances McCarty. She gives much of her time, talents and treasure to the community. McCarty spends two hours a week with the Longmont Community Foundation—of which she is a founder—and also makes time for her church, Longmont United Hospital, and various arts, human services, health and educational programs.

Her vigorous volunteerism and philanthropic endeavors earned her recognition Tuesday as the 2003 recipient of the Kim DePree Service of Excellence Award from the St. Vrain Community Council.

The coalition of nonprofit agencies honored the 88-year-old McCarty with the award at its annual Colorado Nonprofit Day breakfast at the Raintree Plaza Conference. Also honored as Longmont's nonprofit agency of the year was Longmont Meals on Wheels which provides hot meals to homebound clients and serves lunch for seniors at the Longmont Senior Center.

"I'm very happy to accept this award," McCarty said as SVCC President Richard Butler presented the plaque to her.

Butler praised McCarty for her "careful and considerate philanthropy." "She is a shining example of philanthropy excellence in our community," Butler said.

Afterward, McCarty greeted family members and friends. "I'm elated," she said. "I don't get these things every day, you know. I was very pleased to get it."

Accepting the nonprofit agency award was Jerry Gramlich, executive director of Longmont Meals on Wheels. "I look around this room...and it's humbling to know how much good work you do and that fact that we were chosen," he said.

Conference seeks stronger ties to human-service agencies
By Julia Marshall, Boulder Camera, March 8, 2003

Two basic tenets of the Baha'i faith are to serve humanity and to "consort with people of all faiths in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship," says Roberta Metge, a member of the Lafayette Baha'i Assembly.

This week, she will be putting her faith into action.

Metge belongs to one of 20 faith communities that will participate in a conference Friday on the merging of religious groups and human-service agencies in stronger partnerships throughout Boulder County. Attendees represent Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Baha'i and Muslim communities.

"Restoring the Soul of our Communities: Interfaith Conference on Community Engagement in Boulder County" is a daylong event with panel lectures and roundtable discussions that explore how the faith community can better mobilize volunteers to assist human service agencies that serve the homeless, the poor and the unemployed.

The idea grew from a 2001 survey by Boulder-based Emergency Family Assistance Association. EFAA asked 193 religious organizations in Boulder County to assess their involvement in human-service activities. According to survey results, based on 75 respondents, many congregations want better coordination and collaboration with humanservice agencies.

Friday's conference is the kickoff for faith groups that want to be more plugged in to serving basic human needs, says Merge, a conference organizer.

"We are going to present examples of partnerships and talk about what community service means to each faith tradition."

Local Baha'is, for example, have partnered with Boulder County Aging Services to provide respite care for elderly caregivers. Members of other churches partner with EFAA, a safety net organization providing emergency housing, rent and food for people in dire need. Church members often volunteer their time to make home repairs.

Human service agencies envision more partnerships along these lines, along with assistance in writing grants and technical support.

If the faith community is successful and can pull together to create efficient partnerships that serve the needy, Boulder County will be more apt to win grant money through the Bush administration's Faith-based and Community Initiative, says EFAA's executive director, Terry Benjamin.

The initiative offers more than $65 billion in federal grant opportunities to small, often grassroots faith-based groups. Federal dollars are now being funneled through various agencies, such as the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice, to help the needy, Benjamin says, but it is money that is eannarked for religious communities, not human-service agencies.

Boulder County can learn to better mobilize and train church volunteers, which is part of Friday's agenda, Benjamin says. And by coming together to learn what others are doing, no one will duplicate services, he says.

"Whatever we do, we have to make sure we create efficient partnerships so we don't run around like chickens with our heads cut off, chasing federal dollars."

Bill Grant, adult education director for LifeBridge Church and conference organizer, says he's been wanting his Longmont church to get more involved in the broader community.

"One thing we say at our church is that you can stand on the shore hollering without disturbing the water, he says. "But we need to get in the water and start changing the stream. We really want to make a difference in the community."

Like most faith organizations, LifeBridge already is serving the needy through free meals and other programs, but it can do more, Grant says.

"If Jesus is supposed to be our example, then we haven't been out there enough."

Jane Arthur, director of the Boulder County Shambhala Meditation Center, another conference organizer, says the connection between spirituality and serving the needy is a natural one.

"Certainly in the Buddhist teachings, a huge portion is about compassion and being aware of suffering," she says. "These are tough times. It's important to get a sense that we are all working together."

If You Go
What: "Restoring the Soul of our Communities: Interfaith Conference on Community Engagement in Boulder County"
When: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday, March 14, 2003
Where: LifeBridge Christian Church, 10345 Ute Highway, Longmont
Tickets: $30 for the first person of a faith community; $20 per additional person
Call: 303-772-5772

Contact: Julie Marshall at 303-473-1305 or [email protected].

Marlene Wilson - consultant makes
volunteering work
By Matt Sebastian, Boulder Daily Camera, January 18, 2003

Marlene Wilson moved to Boulder in 1968, a stranger in a new town with plenty of time on her hands.

"I was the perfect volunteer at the time," Wilson recalled. "I was new to the community, didn't know anybody, and my kids were in school. I was looking for a way to connect."

Wilson, this year's recipient of the Daily Camera's Pacesetter Award for quality of life, found that connection — not as a volunteer, but as a coordinator of volunteers.
She helped found Colorado's first volunteer center, now dubbed the Volunteer Connection, more than 30 years ago, and has since, literally, written the book on volunteer management.

Paul Gilbertson, who penned one of seven glowing nomination letters, hailed Wilson for being particularly active in helping church groups better manage their unpaid resources.
"I think the critical dynamic with Marlene is helping people identify the skills they have and match them with volunteer positions," said Gilbertson, community services manager for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans. "She's good at that, and she's good at teaching volunteer coordinators how to do that."

Wilson, 71, had worked in corporate human resources in California before moving to Boulder. After helping create the Volunteer Connection, she became its first executive director.

In 1975, Wilson launched her own publishing and consulting firm, Volunteer Management Associates, which she still runs part-time out of her Boulder home.
Her first book, "The Effective Management of Volunteer Programs," has sold over 150,000 copies and is considered the fundamental work in its field.

The key to her success, Wilson notes, is that she treats volunteer management as if workers were part of a business and not simply a group of unpaid volunteers. Each volunteer brings a skill, and it's a coordinator's job to find how best to utilize that talent, she says.

"Too often people just throw more people at problems," Wilson says. The Pacesetter Award came as a shock, Wilson says, but she's happy for the recognition.

"My first reaction was, 'This would have made more sense 25 or 30 years ago,'" she says. "But being recognized by your own community is very touching. I'm honored."

Volunteer Connection: where families and opportunities meet
by Laura F. Kinder, Parenting Place's "Family Connection", November, 2002

With the holidays quickly approaching, your plans for family festivities and gift giving are revving up. But this year as you look around and, see what the downturn in the economy has done to neighbors and friends, you see many people now in urgent need. Perhaps this is the year to give your family a wonderful gift that every one can share...a gift that brings happiness to your family and to others.

This uniqe gift is the experience of a family volunteer project. It's one of the best things you can do for your kids. Working together for a worthy cause will be an eye-opening and rewarding experience. For one thing family members will learn something new about each other. Parents will see enthusiasm and effort the children spend on the project. Children will watch their parents live their values. As we all know, values are caught not taught.

Kids can make a difference
The children will also broaden their perceptions of the community. They will learn that many peop!e are living without all the advantages that they themselves take for granted.

One man wrote to the Volunteer Connection recently to report on his own family's experience helping with the Holiday Food Basket Program and at the Farmers' Market. "I can honestly say that volunteering has been a wonderful way for my family to spend quality time together. The holiday food basket program especially helped my kids to understand that not everyone in Boulder County is affluent and upwardly mobile, and that even kids can help out and make a difference."

That's empowerment that kids can understand. They can make a difference.

A particular bonding
There is nothing like spending time together and sharing a sense of purpose to bring a new subject to dinner table conversation. Discussions often ensue regarding important issues that affect family, friends and the whole community. Imagine talking about the different cultural, racial and economic makeup of the community with your kids! Parents report that there is a particular bonding that occurs when parents and children volunteer together. It brings memories that last long after the last Disneyland photo has faded. "We'll never forget how one elderly woman's face lit up when we delivered a fruit basket to her. She invited us in and it was plain to see that she missed having company," said one mother who delivered holiday baskets with her 8-year-old son.

Once you participate in a family volunteer project, chances are it will become a tradition. According to a Gallup Survey in 1994, more than 80 percent of those interviewed had vo1unteered on a project with another family member for three years or more.

There are myriad benefits for the whole family. Volunteering is definitely a way to share goals
And values at the same time it strengthens the family unit. Your children are like!y to become adult volunteers much to the benefit of the communities they choose to live in.

And it's fun
It sounds good, you say, but may be a little boring for the children. Not at all! There is so much laughter and fun when families engage in a volunteer project. What could bring more smiles, for example, than collecting outgrown toys from the neighborhood, and then gift-wrapping the toys for children in need? Or knocking at a door and surprising a family with a basket of goodies?

Now is the time to share
Two major holiday programs that cover both the St. Vrain and Boulder Valley School districts are now preparing to collect food, gently used coats and toys, and brand new toiletries for individuals, and families and the agencies that serve them. Your family can easily participate by contributing to these programs, or even better by organizing a drive to collect needed items. You'll find all the help and advice you need to organize such a drive at Volunteer Connection.

Sign up the family now to help with the holiday programs, and see for yourself. To reach Volunteer Connection, call 303.444.4904 in Boulder or 303.772.5772 in Longmont, or visit us on the web at www.volunteerconnection.net.

Laura F. Kinder is executive director of the Volunteer Connection and participated along with Volunteer Connection board members, staff, volunteers and their families in last year's Holiday Programs.

Organizations need toiletries, food
By Daniel Jinkerson, Boulder Daily Camera, November 28, 2002

Thanksgiving signals the start of the month long holiday season, a time when many locals volunteer to help those in need.

"It's a time when people start to think of others.. said Laura Kinder, executive director of Volunteer Connection of Boulder, a clearinghouse for nonprofits seeking volunteers. "We always have a huge request for our holiday programs, especially serving meals."

Volunteerism is about the same or up locally this holiday season compared to last year, Kinder said. But she estimated the number of families needing assistance with housing, clothing and food is up 20 percent.

And while some charitable organizations have enough help or even more volunteers than they can handle this holiday season, Kinder said help is needed during the other 11 months of the year.

"My wish would be that people would always be thinking of others.. she said. "The need doesn't go away just because it's not a holiday."

Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner help is no longer needed at the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless this year, Kinder said, although donations of toiletries are needed. Volunteers are still wanted by the Salvation Army, local soup kitchens, Meals on 'Wheels and the holiday basket program in Boulder and Lafayette, to name a few.

"We need drivers on a daily basis and people who can substitute for the regulars.. said Stephanie Corotis. a Boulder Meals on Wheels representative. Meals on Wheels is one of the 450 nonprofit agencies in Boulder County that are registered with the Volunteer Connection.

During a surge of volunteerism, organizations don't always have the ability to train everyone who wants to help and, depending on the job, may ask them to call back after the holidays or donate toiletries or canned food instead.

"Some people want to help during the holidays, but they don't have enough time for training.. Kinder said. "We have so many needs that we are suggesting these volunteers start a food drive, clothing drive, or collect toiletries."

One group of student volunteers took Kinder's suggestion to heart. The Alexander Dawson School in Lafayette has started its own clothing drive, with the help of the Boulder Running Company; they have collected 376 pairs of shoes that will be sent to developing countries.

Kinder attributed residents' desire to help as part of the giving spirit of the season.
"With our recent economy, some people fear they are only a paycheck away from needing the help of others," Kinder said.

Sandy Houglan has worked at the Volunteer Connection since June.

"What's nice is that Boulder County has a strong sense of sharing and giving.. said Houglan, a longtime volunteer in Colorado. "I have it in my blood; I'm a volunteer at heart."

Blood Drive
Kingsbery-Baris-Vogel Newsletter, Winter 2002

Susan Stanley, right, presents Laura Kinder, Executive Director of the Volunteer Connection, with a 3 Gallon pin from Bonfils Blood Bank.

Laura became a 3-gallon donor at the first Kingsbery-Baris-Vogel Blood Drive, held September 18th in the downtown offices of Hutchinson Black & Cook. The drive honored the victims of 9/11 and collected 19 units of blood.

Since each unit can help up to three people, many lives could be saved or extended thanks to that day's efforts! Our thanks to everyone who participated We plan to make the blood drive a semiannual event.

Taking care of Colorado - Volunteer opportunities along the Front Range
By Leanna Sandner, Rocky Mountain Sports, August 2002

We all love Colorado. Where else can you ski, mountain bike, hike, trail run, etc. in 365 days of sunshine and all right out your back door? What a luxury. But do we ever consider that maybe we're loving our amazing state to death?

The ever-increasing number of people recreating on Colorado's trails is causing serious trail erosion, the spread of noxious weeds and the destruction of wildlife habitat. Now that the days of government-supported trail crews are long gone, we have no one to look to for help but ourselves.

Instead of running, biking or hiking past the problem, though, consider stopping for a while and donating some of your time to give back to Colorado. It's only through the kindness of volunteers that the damage from our love for Colorado will be repaired.

There are endless opportunities to give back to Colorado and to your community. One of these is the Volunteer Connection. Based in
Boulder, the organization is a volunteer clearinghouse that promotes and connects volunteers to over 430 agencies (not-for-profits, governmental, grass-roots, schools, etc.) with 20 different categories including recreation-related opportunities. With so many options, the Volunteer Connection is able to meet the needs of both the community and the volunteers. They are currently in the process of developing a Boulder County Disaster Plan that will help the general population in volunteering during times of disaster.

Another organization, Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado (VOC), encourages people to volunteer outdoors with over 500 projects
that are listed in the VOC Guide. Recently they launched a statewide stewardship campaign, Show Colorado You Love Her". VOC hopes that this campaign will educate people about the need to preserve Colorado's precious lands and to increase the number of people participating in volunteer projects.

VOC offers a range of projects from the Denver metro area to the peaks of Colorado's 14'ers. These projects make volunteering
easy, flexible and fun. VOC is currently looking for opportunities for volunteers to help with the fires in a safe and meaningful way.

So this summer take a weekend, a day or even just a few hours of your time to give back to Colorado.

The Volunteer Connection has a booth every other Saturday at the Boulder Farmer's Market or you can contact them at www.volunteerconnection.net. Visit www.voc.org to reach Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado and to get this year's VOC Guide.

The Volunteer Connection matches to maximize value of time, opportunity

By Barbara J. Kelly, Business Report Correspondent, Boulder County Business Report, May 17-30, 2002

The need for volunteers in Boulder and Broomfield counties is sometimes daunting. But the Volunteer Connection aims to make it a bit easier for individuals and businesses to find a niche to fill.

Last year, the agency referred nearly 10,000 people to volunteer opportunities, up from about 9,500 the year before. "There are so many needs in our community, it can at times be overwhelming," said Laura Kinder, executive director of The Volunteer Connection.

The Volunteer Connection has offices in Longmont and Boulder and acts as a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities and community-resource information.

Though neither office is limited by is geographic location, the Boulder office primarily serves Boulder, Superior, Broomfield, Nederland and Allenspark, while the Longmont office primarily services Longmont, Niwot, Lyons, Louisville, and Lafayette.

There are seven paid staff members and 45 volunteers who, except for the 11 who comprise the board of directors, offer individuals, groups and businesses opportunities that can be one-time only events, or short or long-term relationships. It only provides information and referrals, it doesn't do actual volunteer placement.

The Volunteer Connection has a 2001 budget of about $200,000, which comes from three sources. Boulder County chips in almost half. Two contracts with Sun Microsystems account for about one-third of the budget. The remainder comes from foundations, grants, in-kind contributions, corporate and individual donations and fund-raisers.

Sun asked the Volunteer Connection to manage the employee volunteer program at its Interlocken campus and recently expanded the relationship to include management of its worldwide employee volunteer program, Kinder said. Volunteer Connection has a dedicated staff member, Liz Griswold, whose sole responsibility is managing the Sun contracts.

During National Volunteer Week, April 21-28, Sun gave its employees four paid hours to do volunteer service. Sun renamed the designated time period Worldwide Volunteer Week and is allowing staff members to save their four volunteer hours if they wish and use them throughout the year.

President Bush's request that Americans provide 4,000 hours of volunteer service "can be a daunting challenge," Kinder said. "But if you look at volunteering as fun, as an opportunity to use your passion with or for people who are significant to you, it becomes very do-able. Four hours at a time, times 10 people, or times 100 people . . . the cumulative impact is so powerful. Volunteering can add a lot to your life; it gives you a chance to explore new things." The Volunteer Connection works mainly with groups and businesses, not individuals. "This is no longer a trend," smiles Kinder. "It's the way of volunteering."

Particularly around the holidays, people want to volunteer, and if they can do it through their work, that greatly simplifies things.

"There are so many limits on people's lives," she notes. "Family, work, sometimes spiritual responsibilities. We want to make it as easy as possible to volunteer."

"If there are things people can do as a family, like cleaning up a trail together or serving meals, or if a mother and child want to visit elderly people who are isolated, we try to make that possible."

"Many times, people volunteer to help with a one-time event. For others, who want to volunteer once a week on an on-going basis, that works. We serve people who want to volunteer."

"We know almost all the opportunities and have a searchable database on our Web site into which prospective volunteers can plug 'animals,' or 'seniors,' or 'families,' and get matched with appropriate needs. "What the Volunteer Connection really is looking for, she adds, is volunteers to provide long-term, consistent relationships like those involved in mentoring or visiting seniors."

The Washington, D.C.-based Independent Sector, a nonprofit, coalition of national organizations, foundations and corporate philanthropy programs, recently valued volunteer time at $16.05 per hour. This figure is higher than what many of the jobs might actually pay because it includes the time of corporate CEOs as well as of people who hold lower-status/lower-paying jobs.

Among volunteer opportunities are coaching, web site design, advocacy for victims, fostering children and animals—the latter is Kinder's personal choice—as well as visiting shut-ins, gardening, and preparing, serving and delivering meals.

Parties with a purpose
by Barbara Hey, Boulder Daily Camera, Holiday Entertaining, November 2001

This year party givers are seeking to bring deeper meaning to their holiday socializing. There is a unique spirit in the air - a heightened need to give thanks, to celebrate life but to do it in a way that combines revelry with a purpose. And the timing is perfect: area nonprofit groups welcome supplies and funds year-round, but the need hits a peak at Christmastime. Opportunities abound for celebrants to party and contribute to the community at the same time.

For those not knowing how to incorporate giving with regaling, the first stop is the Volunteer Connection, the agency that acts as a clearinghouse for all local volunteer possibilities. "We can find the perfect match between person and group in need," says Laura Kinder, executive director.

There are a multitude of options for purposeful partying: attending a festive fundraiser sponsored by a local group, giving time to help at any of the holiday celebrations or including the donation of food, clothing or toys as part of a private party.

The Holiday Food Basket is the biggest thing happening in Boulder County this Christmas season. This is a collaborative effort among local groups to provide a holiday meal, and other nonperishable foods, for any family in need, available for pick up at the Colorado National Guard Armory (4750 N. Broadway) in Boulder Dec. 15 and 16. In addition, food baskets will be delivered to the elderly by various local volunteers: the Elks will deliver in Boulder, the Sister Carmen Center in Lafayette, the Methodist Church in Louisville, and FISH in Broomfield.

Besides edibles, there is a need for clothing and Christmas gifts. The Share-A-Coat program collects coats and other cold weather clothes (mittens, scarves) for children and adults. Share-A-Gift is in need of books, new and used toys (in working order and with all parts intact) for children 14 years old and younger. Kathy Garcia, coordinator for the Holiday Food Basket, says that often the gift needs of the older kids are in short supply. Volunteers are needed for all phases of this effort. Youth and teen volunteers are welcome for the Share-a-Gift toy sorting and set up Dec. 11 through 14, which can be a planned activity for school or private party.

And preparations for the season of giving are well underway. Community Food Share's Let's Bag Hunger food drive runs from Nov. 14 through 21, asking for donations of shopping bags packed with groceries. Protein-rich food such as peanut butter or canned tuna and meat are always especially welcome. Other needed items are boxes of macaroni and cheese, canned fruits and crackers. Or gift certificates can be donated, to be used to purchase a turkey.

There are many ways in which creative party givers can incorporate giving into any holiday get-together. Set a place for the universal guest at the dinner table, Kinder suggests, to have a symbolic presence of those in need at your holiday gathering. Or invite Kinder to your party. She will - if desired - give a brief talk at a private party about local volunteer possibilities, or provide handouts to be displayed next to the holiday napkins.

One option is to throw a party in honor of a specific group, and possibilities run the gamut from the Boulder Valley Humane Society (always in need of pet food and supplies) to the Hospice of Boulder County (volunteers are needed at the Trees of Remembrance, where at three locations the names of loved ones can be memorialized on a hand-lettered ribbon and displayed throughout the season). Or sponsor a family through the Adopt-A-Family program and have partygoers supply presents that meet their individual needs and wishes.

Make a donation part of the party experience. Request that guests come with three cans or three pounds of food (call Community Food Share ahead of time and they will do a post party pick-up of all donated food items). Plan the party around a theme: A toyshop party where visitors arrive with an unwrapped new or used toy, or a 'winter chill' soiree, where guests are asked to donate a coat or boots.

Other items are needed as well. The Boulder County Aids Project (BCAP) is short on such grooming items as shampoo, soap, shaving cream and razors. Local homeless shelters are running at maximum capacity, and
Boulder Cares, a group that makes the rounds each night offering blankets and hot drinks to those sleeping on the streets, can use your help. Donations of blankets and any kind of food or drink that can be mixed with hot water are always a welcome donation to that organization.

Or have an informal fundraising aspect to a party. Have guests donate their services - foot massage, plate of baked cookies, rendition of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer - for an impromptu auction, raising money for the charity of choice.

Crafts are integral to the season, and offer something that kids and adults can enjoy together. Have a cookie baking party and deliver the final product to senior centers or churches. Include holiday card-making as a party activity. "We like to have a 'happy holiday' card accompany every food basket", says Kathy Garcia. Supply the paper, stickers, glitter and glue and let kids - and their parents - get creative.

Combine an activity with a party. Meet at the Boulder Armory and help box and carry donated good items (strong people are especially needed that weekend). Or gather a group of carolers together and visit the halls of the Boulder Community Hospital (call first to arrange a time).

The possibilities for festive, purposeful partying are abundant this season and year-round. So pick your cause, plan the party and have a meaningful - and celebration - filled holiday.

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