The Learning Series of Ocean Shores, a new monthly discussion dealing with topics of local interest, began last week at the North Beach Senior Center with a presentation on local volunteer opportunities.
Created by the Concerned Citizens Action Coalition/Ocean Shores and the Senior Center, the series will offer a different topic at each monthly meeting, at 6 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month. Local residents Lorraine Hardin and Kathryn Sprigg launched the effort.
The series will continue April 17 when Dr. Jim Minkler, president of Grays Harbor College, will speak on local civics – “what local government do for you; and what you can do,” Hardin said.
At the inaugural Learning Series session, Sprigg noted that, as a community with a large number of retirees, Ocean Shores offers ample opportunities to volunteer with dozens of non-profits and other groups. But sometimes finding a good match between an organization’s needs and an individual’s abilities and experience can be challenging.
“I talk to people all the time,” she explained, “and the first thing they want to know is, ‘Where can I go to take advantage of volunteer opportunities?’ I’ve heard over and over, ‘I don’t know what’s available, but I want to use my professional talents.’”
Representatives from several area groups offered brief explanations of what they do and what their volunteer needs are. Attendees then had a chance to speak individually with groups that interest them. Among the groups presenting were:
North Beach Senior Center’s Jeff Moyer said they need help in their Thrift Store and with cooking the 10,000 or so meals they serve annually. The center currently has about 10 volunteers but could use 20. Contact the center at (360) 289-2801, check out their Facebook page or call Moyer at (530) 736-0474.
Jim Bittle offered information on the Ocean Shores Police Department’s Crime Watch Program. He said they would like to double their current 20 volunteers. His wife, Sylvia, was on hand representing volunteering with the department’s animal impound facility. More information and applications for both programs are available at the OSPD station at 577 Pt. Brown Ave. NW.
Betsy Seidel offered information about a brochure of more than 100 volunteer opportunities throughout Grays Harbor County that she has been compiling and producing for 20 years and has made available at local libraries, along with an annual volunteer opportunities fair held at the Aberdeen Elks Lodge in October. She can be reached at (360) 533-5968.
Ocean Shores Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) engages in a wide variety of efforts to aid in disaster preparedness and planning, and in helping during actual emergencies and disasters. Ocean Shores CERT Team Leader Tammy Fairley can be reached at (253) 778-0369 or by email at OSTLCERT@AOL.COM.
Larry Comparone is the coordinator of the July 4th -5th beach cleanup. He said 30 volunteers are needed to hand out city-supplied trash bags in two-hour shifts at five local beach approaches on the Fourth. He can be emailed at Whatwhere910@live.com.
The North Beach Children & Family Care Alliance offers a variety of information and support services. They can be reached via their Facebook group, Angels for Ocean Shores Kids.
North Beach PAWS is “in desperate need for volunteers” to help with their weekly garage sale, data entry, cleaning and more, according to Rebecca Pierson. More information on this no-kill animal shelter is available at their website, www.northbeachpaws.org, on their Facebook page and by phone at 360-289-4350.
Rich Lindquist spoke about his North Beach Medical Equipment non-profit, which offers free medical equipment and related supplies and has helped nearly 8,000 people in its five years. He said he mainly needs help cleaning donated equipment. The website is www.nbme.care, they are on Facebook and the phone is 360-289-3733.
Pam Tuttle spoke about the North Beach Senior Resource Center, which has compiled information on local services and assistance available to seniors. They need volunteers to answer calls and access information to share with clients. Call them at (360) 289-3352.
The Ocean Shores Food Bank is one of the North Coast’s biggest non-profits, with nearly 12,000 volunteer hours logged last year.
Food Bank Director Sandy Harley said they need volunteers to help with bookkeeping, grant writing, their website and food pickup. More information is available at their website, www.oceanshoresfoodbank.org.
Garden By the Sea is beginning its 11th growing season and offers a variety of programs. Their website is www.gardenbytheseaoceanshores.org.
Barb Walker, the new executive director of the Coastal Interpretive Center, said the center has just gone to their “in-season” hours, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. They use 50 to 60 volunteers in a wide variety of roles. More information is on their website at www.oceanshoresinterpretivecenter.com.
Hardin wrapped up the meeting with a brief mention of one of her personal volunteering passions, Stage West Community Theatre.
The local stage production group is completely volunteer and actually offers more off-stage opportunities than chances for amateur acting.
More information is at www.stagewestcommunitytheatre.org.