Looking for suggestions on volunteer gigs in Houston, Texas.
April 30, 2010 10:20 AM   Subscribe

Looking for suggestions on volunteer gigs in Houston, Texas.

So, I think I'd enjoy volunteering, maybe 3-5 hours on Saturdays. Something where I'm up and active. I've got no idea where to even start looking. Any suggestions? I'm looking for specific websites or organizations I can contact, not, "Hey, try a soup kitchen!" I'm open to all types of suggestions, especially those from people who have some experience with a particular organization or know people who fit that bill.
posted by JPowers to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Museum of Natural Science might fit if you're interested. They have a number of different opportunities. I did the docent training for their Titanic exhibit and it was informative and fun. They look for at least 40 hours a year, so a couple of Saturdays a month would get you there easily.
posted by IanMorr at 10:41 AM on April 30, 2010

What are your interests? Are there certain issues that you feel strongly about? Give us a little more to go on. I can throw nonprofits and charities at you left and right, but that doesn't mean any of them will be appropriate for you and your interests.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:49 AM on April 30, 2010

And if you are doing your own search, consider using Volunteer Match. Showing up for a couple hours to help out with something is nice, but rarely as helpful as people want to believe. If you have skills or training that an organization can put to use (I see you are a technical writer), you will want to put those to use for an organization before you just show up as a warm body to be trained, directed, and (sadly, most often) worked around.
posted by greekphilosophy at 10:51 AM on April 30, 2010

Response by poster: @greekphilosophy: Good question. I'm certainly a people-person, and being able to interact with new people would be great (I work from home, which I totally love, but it'd be nice to get out regularly). I want to shy away from anything too political or activist-related. I think I'd prefer just being able to help build something with a team, or educate people on something, something along those lines. And I'm 28 and in reasonably good shape, fwiw. Does that help at all? Sorry, I'm new at this stuff.
posted by JPowers at 10:57 AM on April 30, 2010

Ooh, consider the zoo!

Volunteering at the Houston Zoo

Click the link for "adult volunteers" to see if it sounds like anything that would interest you.

I work here and it's a great place to be. Wherever you end up, good on you for volunteering.
posted by Neofelis at 11:07 AM on April 30, 2010

Star of Hope is sort of the primary homeless resource in Houston. My organization works with them.

Literacy Advance of Houston (FAQ PDF) seems like a good fit for your schedule (12 week commitment for 3 hours once a week). And you would be working directly with people.

But check out Volunteer Match. That's a great place to start when you have some vague idea that you'd like to help, but aren't sure how to get started or what groups need from you.
posted by greekphilosophy at 11:13 AM on April 30, 2010

I'll add that my husband and a friend of ours have enjoyed their contact with Star of Hope.
posted by Neofelis at 11:44 AM on April 30, 2010

Mercer Arboretum. I volunteered last summer and it was super fun.
posted by jschu at 1:46 PM on April 30, 2010

Radio Lollipop at Texas Children's Hospital. You can either be a DJ (they'll teach you), or be one of the volunteers that goes around to the kid's rooms during the broadcast to help with the craft activities and prize awarding and stuff.

There's also Big Brothers/Big Sisters.
posted by MexicanYenta at 2:23 PM on April 30, 2010

SEARCH is an organization that tries to be sort of a clearing house for services for the homeless. I volunteered there for years, and I had a really good experience. They have a variety of volunteer roles there.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 2:04 PM on May 1, 2010

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