NEWS | Jan. 11, 2011

First 6 volunteer opportunities can make the most of your career

By Airman 1st Class Michael Thorndike First 6 membership officer

The Joint Base Charleston First 6 is a professional organization which focuses on providing junior enlisted service members a forum for making the most of their military careers. The organization extends the invitation to all service members in pay grades from E-1 through E-6 to join.

First 6 meetings, which include free food, are held the fourth Thursday of each month at 11 a.m. on the second floor of Bldg. 246 in the First Term Airmen Center classroom on Joint Base Charleston-Air Base.

The volunteer opportunities listed below are just a few of many the First 6 supports and are available to all members of Joint Team Charleston. Points of contact are listed for each event, as well as websites to make an informed decision on which to volunteer for.

In an effort to highlight base members actively volunteering, the First 6 will track hours worked by volunteers. Contact the First 6 at 963-8278 or e-mail michael.thorndike@charleston.af.mil.

Elections: The First 6 officer elections are coming up in February. If you are interested in running for a position, or need more information, contact Airman 1st Class Michael Thorndike at michael.thorndike@us.af.mil.

Babysitting: The First 6 will provide babysitting at the 628th Air Base Wing Annual Awards Ceremony, Jan. 20, Feb. 11 at the Valentine Banquet and March 11 for Team Charleston Spouses Club.

Mentors Needed: St. Andrews Middle School needs mentors to work with students. We ask our mentors to try to come to our school once or twice-a-week to spend about an hour with their student, either a 6th, 7th or 8th grader. Perhaps you will have lunch together, shoot some hoops or just spend time talking in the library. Having someone to care about and to take an interest in one of our young people can do them tremendous good. If you are interested in becoming a mentor contact Jim Brooks at 402-7815 or James_Brooks@charleston.k12.sc.us.

Magdalene House of Charleston: Magdalene House is a non-profit transitional and recovery aftercare facility for homeless, disadvantaged women that are recovering from substance abuse, and recently released from prison or a treatment center. We offer the critical undergirding to these women as they seek jobs and logistical support that ultimately mainstream them into acceptable, social and legal norms. We offer safe, secure transitional housing with daily counseling in spiritual and life skills, self-esteem, jobs skills and maximum independence. Magdalene House of Charleston seeks female drivers to drive residents to various appointments and errands. If interested in volunteering, contact Freda Lewis at 724-9292 or Magdalenehouse1@comcast.net.

Increasing H.O.P.E.: Increasing H.O.P.E. has impacted the lives of many other people in the community through partnerships with local churches, prisons, women's centers, local businesses, other nonprofit organizations and individuals in transitional programs, as well as through holding classes open to the public. There is an ongoing need for volunteers to facilitate classes, support community events and act as volunteer coordinators. The entire organization is 100 percent volunteer driven, so volunteers are always needed. To volunteer, contact Dorothea Bernique at 225-4343 or by e-mail at increasinghope@msn.com.

Trident United Way: The Benefit Bank is an innovative network system for delivering benefits and enhancing anti-poverty efforts. The goal is to create a sustained, multiyear antipoverty campaign which brings together faith-based, community-based and other organizations to serve people forced to live in poverty. Hundreds of volunteers are needed. Scheduling is very flexible at many sites across the area. To volunteer, contact Cathy Easley at 740-9000, ext. 243 or by e-mail at ceasley@tuw.org.

My Sisters House seeking Spanish-speaking interpreters: Family violence reaches across all cultures, ages and socioeconomic levels. Volunteers who can speak Spanish are needed to help victims of domestic violence. The organization's need is an ongoing opportunity. To volunteer, please contact Sarah Baird at 747-4069 or by e-mail at hope@mysistershouse.com.

Fields to Families: The gleaning season has begun full force and volunteers are needed to help - sometimes on very short notice. To help an organization committed to ending hunger, visit the website at www.fieldstofamilies.org and choose "Volunteer" to check out upcoming opportunities. For more information, contact Christina Lor at 388-2487 or by e-mail at christina@fieldstofamilies.org.

Good Neighbor Center: "Breaking the cycle of homelessness" provides transitional housing for homeless veterans. Volunteers will be preparing meals, landscaping or assisting in the office. To volunteer, contact Faye Parker at 566-9344 or visit www.thegoodneighborcenter.com.

Lowcountry Orphan Relief: The Lowcountry Orphan Relief is looking for volunteers to help at their office in North Charleston. The LOR is a non-profit organization which provides support and services to local children and their families. Volunteers would be asked to assist at their facility with sorting, organizing and preparing clothing and school supplies to be given to local children. To volunteer, contact Cathy Keagy at 747-4099 or e-mail her at cathy@clfl670.org. You can also check out the website at www.lowcountryorphanrelief.com.

Susan G. Komen for the Cure: The Lowcountry Susan G. Komen for the Cure division is always in need of volunteers. They need help with administrative work and various events throughout the year. To find out what you can do to help with the fight against breast cancer, contact Taffy Tamblyn at 556-8011 or e-mail her at taffy@komenlowcountry.org. To find out more details on the opportunities, visit their website at www.komenlowcountry.org.

International Center for Birds of Prey: The International Center for Birds of Prey in Charleston is looking for dedicated volunteers to help with the care of a large number of raptors from around the world. Volunteers will be working intimately with these majestic birds on a regular basis. Volunteers must attend a quarterly volunteer orientation. To sign up for the next briefing, contact Joe Kowalis at 971-7474 or e-mail him at hikerjoe@homesc.com. For more information visit the International Center for Birds of Prey website at www.thecenterforbirdsofprey.com.

Big Brothers, Big Sisters: As a local program of the Carolina Youth Development Center, the mission of BBBS is "to help children reach their potential through professionally supported, one-to-one relationships with mentors that have a measurable impact on youth." Volunteers meet with their Little Brother or Sister either in the community or at one of the site-based programs, offering friendships through activities. Training is provided and volunteers must be at least 18. To volunteer, contact Mandy Scherer at 266-5256 or by e-mail at mtscherer@cydc.org. For more information, visit www.becomeabig.org.