Looking for volunteer opportunities? The following groups in your area need volunteer help for a day, a week or on a regular basis. Nonprofit groups in need of volunteers should send notices to Volunteers, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071. The list is published the first Thursday of the month.
Helping Psychiatric Patients
The Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute, a state psychiatric facility, is seeking volunteers to work for special events and/or regularly scheduled patient rehabilitative programs. Needed are volunteers with skills in such subjects as music, arts and crafts, horticulture, computers, clerical work, foreign language or athletics. Also, volunteer groups that want to organize social events for patients are requested. And volunteers are needed to escort clients on outings for life-skills training and recreational activities. Volunteers, who must be at least 18 years old, work weekdays, evenings and weekends. Work hours are flexible and volunteers receive on-the-job training. The institute is at 3302 Gallows Rd., Falls Church. For more information, call Jennifer Offidani at 703-645-4001.
The Falls Church Office of the Hispanic Committee of Virginia, 5827 Columbia Pike, Suite 200, Falls Church, needs volunteers to serve as Spanish-language interpreters for clients at medical appointments and/or to the drive clients to the appointments in Northern Virginia. The hours are flexible. Tutors also are needed from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Tuesdays or Thursdays to help Hispanic middle school students with homework and other activities at two locations in the Falls Church area. For more information, call Jennifer Cohen Cordero at 703-671-5666.
Helping Suspended Students
The Fairfax Partnership for Youth Inc. is seeking volunteers for its SOS (Support on Suspension) program. Volunteers will help high school students keep up with their studies while they are under suspension from school. Volunteers will be asked to work at least once a month, for a minimum of two hours per session. The program will be operated from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays at Gum Springs Community Center, 8100 Fordson Rd., Alexandria, and at the Vienna Teen Center, 120 Cherry St. SE, Vienna. For more information about the Gum Springs program, call Rochleigh Wholfe at 703-360-6088, and for more information about the Vienna program, call Julie Knight at 703-324-5501.
The Lyceum, Alexandria's History Museum is seeking reenactors and educators. Reenactors portray historic characters from Alexandria's past during tours and special events. Educators are needed to lead tours and groups of schoolchildren and to discuss Lyceum exhibits with visitors. Training for reenactors and educators is provided, and flexible weekday or weekend schedules are available. Volunteers are asked to commit at least six hours per month. The museum is at 201 South Washington St. in Alexandria. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays. Free parking is provided. For more information, call Peggy Grant or Jim Mackay at 703-838-4994.
The Northern Virginia Family Service needs individuals or groups to work at Clock Tower thrift stores in Centreville, Falls Church and Sterling. Volunteers help sort, price and display stock, pick up donated goods, and decorate or mend items. Time commitment is flexible. Thrift shop proceeds benefit Northern Virginia Family Service programs. The stores are at 6031 Centreville Crest Lane in Centreville Square, Centreville; 2860 Annandale Rd., Falls Church; and 46950 Community Plaza in the Village Center on 7, Route 7, Sterling. For more information, call Ann Bresnahan at 703-533-2548.
Community Tax Aid Inc. needs volunteers to help low-income individuals and families with income-tax preparation from early February through April 15 at 12 libraries and other facilities in Washington, Maryland and Virginia. Volunteers work at least two hours per week on Saturdays, Sundays or weeknights at the location of their choice. Community Tax Aid managers are on-site to answer questions and review each completed tax return. Tax-preparation experience is preferred to volunteer, but not required. Those who do not have enough experience can sign up for training in January. Volunteers also are needed to help with public relations, photo-copying tax returns and other tasks. For more information, call 703-318-2122 or visit the Web site at www.gwscpa.org/cta.
Helping to Resettle Refugees
The International Rescue Committee, a nonprofit refugee resettlement organization, needs volunteers with trucks or vans to assist with picking up and delivering donations of furniture for refugees in Washington, Maryland and Virginia. The refugees are from places such as East Africa, West Africa, southern Europe and the Middle East. Volunteers are also needed to help refugees with acculturation and learning English, and to help with office work at the rescue committee's headquarters at 1612 K St. NW, Washington. For more information, contact Elizabeth Goldston at 202-822-0043, Ext. 19.
Blood Donation Centers
The American Red Cross needs volunteer "ambassadors" to help greet blood donors at donor centers and blood drives in the metropolitan area. Volunteers also give refreshments to the donors after they give blood, and observe the donors for possible adverse reactions to giving blood. Hours are flexible and there are several locations to choose from in Washington, Maryland and Northern Virginia. Training is provided. For more information, call 800-272-0094.
Alexandria Art Gallery Volunteers
The Target Gallery in the Torpedo Factory Art Center in Alexandria needs volunteers to answer phones, assist with various tasks at gallery openings, and to greet visitors. The gallery will provide a free art course to any volunteer who completes 15 full, five-hour shifts. Free parking is provided for volunteers working five-hour shifts. Gallery hours are from noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays, at 105 N. Union St. For more information, call 703-549-6877.
The Smithsonian Institution needs volunteers who are at least 16 years old to work primarily weekdays in its 14 museums, performing activities such as curatorial research, creating and updating Web sites, answering letters and e-mail from the public, and more. Volunteers are asked to commit at least six hours a week until a minimum total commitment of 80 hours of service has been completed. For more information, call 202-357-2700 or 202-357-1729 (TTY).
U.S. Capitol Tour Guides
The U.S. Capitol Guide Service needs volunteers to assist tourists at the U.S. Capitol. Duties include providing general information, giving directions, and interpreting museum rooms, including the Old Senate and Old Supreme Court chambers weekdays or weekends. A March-through-August commitment is requested. Volunteers are required to attend a 12-hour training program. For more information, call Kevin Barry at 202-224-7349.