Time to Volunteer

Guide of Opportunities Around Cedar Park

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Courtesy of MJ Kelly

Helping out Jess Gilles, an instructor for Hopeful Hearts, freshman MJ Kelly poses with horse Hercules on Oct. 20. Kelly rode on Hercules and practiced their trotting and right diagonal. "Hercules is a really chill horse, but once you get him going he can go really fast and do some incredible things," Kelly said. "He's also super sweet, so he works well with kids."

Estefani Rios, Reporter

Volunteer Season. The time when students join clubs and honor societies. The time when students are desperately looking for volunteer hours and opportunities. The time to help the community.
Below are four options in which students can volunteer and contribute to the community.


1.Cedar Park Public Library– 550 Discovery Blvd, Cedar Park, TX 78613

Mission: “Promoting literacy and lifelong learning for all members of the community through educational, informational, cultural and recreational resources.”

Volunteering Entails:

•Reading storytime book(s) on designated days

•Preparing Crafts

•Cleaning Toys

•Arranging Books and Sorting Books

•Supervising special events like Fable Fest in the fall

Application Process and Requirements:

•Applicants below the age of 18 must pick up an application at the library in person

•Applicants aged 18 and above can print and download an application and turn it in into the library

•Application must be signed by a parent or guardian

•Must be at least 14 years old to volunteer

The Library has the right to turn down volunteers due to the capacity of volunteers allowed and the volume of volunteer work.

Senior Brian Lee who has volunteered at Cedar Park Public Library for half a year said that his favorite part of volunteering is having the ability to help many people and developing new skills.

“I was able to improve on the way I gave first impressions and how to interact with newcomers or just anyone,” Lee said.


2. Community First! Village– 9301 Hog Eye Rd, Austin, TX 78724

Mission: “This transformative residential program exists to love and serve our neighbors who have been living on the streets, while also empowering the surrounding community into a lifestyle of service with the homeless.”

Watch this video on how to volunteer with the Community First! Village. Video by Estefani Rios.

Volunteering Entails:

•Helping at the Goodness Library

•Being a studio attendant

•Working as a stylist at the Hair Studio

•Various other activities

Application Process and Requirements:

•Go to Community First’s website and sign up for volunteer opportunities offered

•Age requirement varies on the activity offered

Grace Cox, a sophomore, has volunteered since the second grade and began at Community First two years ago. Cox said that volunteering there has helped her both appreciate what she has and to find joy in the small things.

“Seeing how much love [the] people have in their hearts and how much they care for each other really changes the way you think about things,” Cox said.


3. Hopeful Hearts Equine Rehabilitation Center– 17000 Trails End Cove, Leander, TX 78641

Mission: “Students learn social and academic skills with trained PATH [Premier Accredited Center] instructors while strengthening overall muscle tone. Individuals recovering from trauma discover the calming effect of horseback riding. This has become our main focus.”

Volunteering Entails:

•Side walker

•Horse handler

•Help at the Halloween Bash

•Additional tasks vary

Application Process and Requirements: 

•Attend a volunteer orientation (one every month)

•Be at least 14 years old

Freshman MJ Kelly said how volunteering at Hopeful Hearts helped them become a more responsible person.

“You have to do everything, take care of horses and then also make sure the little kids are [well] and having fun,” Kelly said. “It has also made my anxiety, because I have clinical anxiety and depression, it has made it better because whenever I [do not feel well], I can just go out to the ranch and have a really positive experience.”


4. Texas Humane Heroes– 10930 E Crystal Falls Pkwy, Leander, TX 78641

Mission: “Texas Humane Heroes is a No Kill, private, non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization with dog and cat adoption centers in Leander (Greater Austin Metropolitan area) and Killeen, Texas. Texas Humane Heroes enhances the lives of pets and people through adoption, availability of our low-cost spay/neuter and vaccination clinics as well as family-friendly community events.”

Watch this video on how to volunteer with the Texas Humane Heroes. Video by Estefani Rios.

 

Volunteering Entails:

•Walking, cleaning, feeding and playing with the dogs and cats

•Cleaning and folding laundry

•Cleaning dishes

•Helping with vaccination and surgery clinics

•Fostering animals

Application Process and Requirements:

•Fill out an application online at Texas Human Heroes

•Pay $10 fee that covers and provides volunteers with “supplementary accident insurance, general liability insurance, Texas Humane Heroes’ volunteer t-shirt and access to [their] online scheduling tool.”

•Must be at least 14 years old

Sophomore Nacho Miguel Borrego volunteers every week for three hours. Miguel Borrego said how he not only enjoys volunteering at Texas Human Heroes because of the animals, but also because of the staff’s friendliness.

“You [get to] be part of an amazing community and you can actually become a hero to the animals and potentially save their lives,” Miguel Borrego said.

Whether local opportunities are found a list like this one, or by speaking with friends, teachers and people around the community, volunteering gives experiences, training and at the very least, service hours.