Ten Great Opportunities to Volunteer in Happy Valley

By Kevin Keen

November and December are universally seen as months of thankfulness and giving. This holiday season, consider giving back in Happy Valley, or wherever you are in the world. Here are ten ways you can give the gift of time locally: 

PAWS: Centre County PAWS always needs volunteers to help out with their pet shelters. Both dogs and cats need volunteers to help them, so taking a little bit out of your day to play with a cuddly and furry friend can go a very long way! 

Mount Nittany Medical Center: At Mount Nittany Medical Center (read: the hospital), volunteers are a necessity in order to keep operations up and running. There are several different things that a volunteer can do to gain experience in a medical setting, give back, or satisfy some other sort of need. Can’t make it up to the hospital? There is certainly stuff you can do at home to provide for those in need! 

Goodwill: Do you and your buddies want to give back in a big way this holiday season? Check out the Goodwill website and sign up a group of people to help out Goodwill! Anything from online opportunities to boots‑on‑the‑ground opportunities makes Goodwill a really easy fit for anyone. 

Salvation Army Bell Ringer: If you don’t mind the cold for a couple of hours, you should definitely consider being a bell ringer in Happy Valley! Clinging around a piece of brass for a little while to give back? Doesn’t sound like a bad deal! Maybe standing outside isn’t your thing. There are still a lot of other ways you can help! 

The Community Help Centre: The Community Help Centre runs a 24-hour hotline for crisis, addiction, and other types of as‑needed‑crisis aid. This service is run entirely by volunteers, which can be helpful over the holidays as not everyone has a family to go home to or a reason to be merry. 

Women’s Resource Center of State College: While the Women’s Resource Center doesn’t have openings for holiday volunteers, it does accept classes of volunteers every year, including counselors and advocates, to work with abuse victims. Check the web site for upcoming volunteer opportunities. 

Biolife Plasma Services: Want to give back and get paid for it? Go to Biolife and give your plasma, which is exactly like giving blood (except they separate the plasma from the blood). You’ll be compensated with a $20 Visa card for your first donation, so if you’re a college student and broke or just need the extra holiday cash, schedule your donation today! 

The YMCA of Centre County: Make sure you check out the YMCA of Centre County for great volunteering opportunities! The opportunities are very abundant and are year ‘round so listing them here would be a great feat. 

Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Centre County: Do you have the space in your heart to donate your time and effort to an underprivileged kid in Happy Valley? Donate your mentorship to kids that really need it using the Big Brothers and Big Sisters group. 

Toys for Tots: Toys for Tots is always the big thing for the holidays. Giving toys to kids is always a great contribution and helps kids have a memorable holiday that they might not have otherwise had. 

The holidays are not about receiving, but about giving. Give your time and effort today to people and organizations that really deserve it! 

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