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Need for volunteers vital, not uncommon

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If you want to transfer to a university, you may want to look into volunteering.

However, many RCC students who want to volunteer do not know how to find out about programs they would be interested in.

“I would be interested in volunteering with kids doing art if it was easier to find a place that offered it,” said RCC student Ely Aldrete.

The Volunteer Center of Riverside County is a non-profit umbrella agency that houses many different programs.

One program that is offered is the Volunteer Connection.

“The Volunteer Connection offers information that would be hard to find elsewhere,” said the Volunteer Center of Riverside County Outreach Specialist Kendra Bushong.

The Volunteer Connection helps match the interests of potential volunteers with the community agencies and works with agencies to provide training for volunteering.

“If they helped me find a place to volunteer, I would be more likely to do so,” said RCC student Catherine Gates.

“The Volunteer Connection also helps find ways to work with your schedule, which is perfect for college students,” Bushong said.

“2-1-1” is another helpful program. “2-1-1” connects people to community resources. It is a toll free service that is available 24/7.

“2-1-1 is a vital service to the community,” Bushong said. “It refers you to services that will help you especially if you are new in town.”

The Helpline Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention is another resource offered to the community. The Helpline is available 24/7 and assists over 13,000 callers in crisis a year.

“Our outstanding volunteers have the opportunity to save and change lives on a daily basis,” said Helpline Director Gina Cuevas.

The Volunteer Center was recently awarded funds for a Medical Reserve Corp and is working on starting the Neighbor in the Know program.

The Medical Reserve Corps is a program developed by President Bush in response to the Sept. 11 tragedy.

“It is designed to train people to officially and effectively volunteer when disaster happens,” Bushong said.

The Neighbor in the Know program will inform people about community services such as 2-1-1.

“It is based on the saying: a healthy child comes from a healthy family and a healthy family comes from a healthy neighborhood,” Bushong said.Enthusiasm is an important quality to have when wanting to be a part of a volunteer center.

“We are always in need of volunteers,” Bushong said. “We need them everywhere.”

To find out about information regarding the Volunteer Center of Riverside County, call 951-686-4402.

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