The holiday season is characterized by giving, but not all gifts are tangible. If you have some extra time, there are some people, places and animals in Jamaica Plain who could use a gift of your extra hours. The list is presented in no particular order because it's nearly impossible to say one good cause is better or worse than any other!
- Since the Civil War, Angell has provided comprehensive medical care and a home for abused and unloved animals. An able pair of hands to help cleaning is always appreciated, but it is also a great excuse to play with some of their dogs and cats.
- Each year, Boston takes a census of the homeless in each neighborhood. The effort gives the city a glimpse into the levels of homelessness in the current year. This year's census took place on Dec. 6, with results pending. You could sign up to help out with the 2011 effort.
- Woodworking, sewing and painting are great ways to make your own gifts for friends and family. If you took that route this year, the Eliot School can put your skills to use as a volunteer teacher's aide to bring their practical classes to the Boston Public Schools.
- Volunteering for the American Cancer Society gives you the opportunity to help men and women fighting cancer. The Lodge provides meals and beds at no cost to their families. Volunteers can help prepare those meals, and prepare the activities which take place in the facility.
- Friends of Jamaica Pond / Jamaica Pond is a beautiful piece of scenery, and is part of the larger Emerald Necklace parks conceived by famous landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. Volunteer stewards with the Friends of Jamaica Pond organization help keep the park beautiful though its months of peak use.
- Every year, thousands of bikes are repaired, rebuild, and recycled by the non-profit organization. Volunteering is an opportunity to help tear bikes down, get covered in bike grease, and build them back up agin. Many of these bikes are sent around the world to countries such as Ghana and Guatemala (to name just a couple).
- Taking place in the English High School, these adult programs range from computer classes to GED preparation. The school also offers English for Speakers of Foreign Languages (ESOL). Volunteers can work one-on-one as tutors with students.
- The arts are alive in Jamaica Plain, and the Footlight Club is proof that it's been alive for a long time. Since 1877, volunteers have starred in, worked behind the scenes of, and watched amateur theatrical productions every year.
- For more than 200 years, the Home for Little Wanderers has provided a range of services for families and children, and a range of ways for neighbors to get involved. You can mentor an individual kid, or help with the functions involved in running the home.
There's not much like a hot meal at the end of a long day. Making and serving over 3000 hot meals every week, and bringing those meals to patients with chronic and clinical illnesses in the community, Community Servings could use a hand in the kitchen or on the road.