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Volunteering is for everyone

People from all walks of life can find meaningful ways to give back
June 1, 2014
Shep, one of the many animals rescued and fostered by volunteers at the Chama Valley Humane Society. She now is a registered therapy dog and here enjoys being read to at Tierra Amarilla Elementary School.

Shep, one of the many animals rescued and fostered by volunteers at the Chama Valley Humane Society. She now is a registered therapy dog and here enjoys being read to at Tierra Amarilla Elementary School.


  • Community Programs Office Director
  • Kurt Steinhaus
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Helping others on a volunteer basis does not require a regular, long-term commitment or large chunks of time. Even a few short hours can make a big difference.

Interested volunteers can find a great selection of local opportunities through national volunteer databases like VolunteerMatch or by directly contacting local community organizations.

Habitat for Humanity, for example, currently is looking for volunteers to help finish a housing project just south of Española. No special skills are needed and volunteers can participate on either June 21, July 12, or July 26, or a combination of dates.

Or you might consider providing a foster home to a homeless dog or cat through the Chama Valley Humane Society, a nonprofit serving a 600-square-mile area in northern Rio Arriba County. Because the all-volunteer organization does not own a shelter, animals looked after by Chama Valley depend on temporary homes until they can be adopted or transferred to other shelters or rescues.

"Having volunteers who open their hearts and homes to abandoned, neglected and unwanted pets is critical to the success of our organization,” explained Jean Garlie, vice president of the Chama Valley Humane Society. “Not only are the animals fed and sheltered, but they also are socialized, vaccinated, spayed or neutered and trained in basic behaviors, such as house training and walking on a leash. Our need for foster homes almost always exceeds our capacity."

Girls, Inc. of Santa Fe, which teaches participating girls about life planning, health, leadership, adventure, self‑reliance and science and math, relies on the generosity of volunteers as well. Interested volunteers are invited to watch Girls, Inc.’s Giving Girls a Bright Future video on YouTube, fill out a volunteer form and tour the nonprofit’s Hillside Center.

Lab employees and retirees volunteered over 300,000 hours in 2013

The number of hours volunteered through Los Alamos National Laboratory’s Vecinos Volunteer Program in 2013 is impressive. Together, the participating Lab employees and retirees donated an astonishing 331,517 hours of their time to worthy causes, up by 63,776 hours from the previous year.

In alphabetical order, the top five employee volunteers are Jeri Axtel, Nancy Dean, Elizabeth Hogan, Jerri McTaggert and Julia Minto-Hughes.

The top five retiree volunteers are Bill Boedecker, Stanley Moore, Gabriella Rodriguez, Tony Sandoval and Mary Swickard.

Nonprofit organizations will share over $177,000 in monetary awards on behalf of the employee and retiree volunteers who logged more than 100 hours in 2013.

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