Giving a Damn: Top Five Volunteer Jobs

Giving a Damn: Top Five Volunteer Jobs

facebook twitter email Print This
Edwards, Becky
I belong to a community. The baristas at my favorite coffee shop know I don’t actually like coffee. They have already begun pouring the milk before I can squeak out, “short skim almond steamer please!” I’m not accosted at my local hardware store when I stumble in wearing my headlamp and with blue paint caked in my hair, looking for mineral spirits in a big way. They simply hand over the solvent with a smile, knowing that I am undoubtedly up to my armpits in some home improvement project gone terribly awry. They’ve seen me before.

Perhaps what is most endearing for Bozemanites and visitors alike is the close-knit community feel that Bozeman possesses. We smile at the grocery store, we chat in the lift line, we are proud of who we are and where we live. This summer, as the wildflowers spring to life and the valley is a brush-stroke of vivid green, give back a little something to the community that has given you so much. Here’s a rundown of five volunteer opportunities that will have you lathering on the sunscreen, breaking out your cowboy hat, and settling into bed each night knowing that one person actually can make a difference and affect a community.

1. Sweet Pea Festival of the Arts
Celebrating its 19th year of existence, the Sweet Pea Festival is Bozeman’s way of promoting and supporting the arts. Over 2,000 volunteers are generally needed each year to plan, develop, promote, and execute this draw of over 19,000 people annually. Theatrical productions, arts & crafts displays, live music, and friendly folks make this volunteer opportunity a must for any local. For more information contact the Sweet Pea office at 586-4003 or email [email protected].

2. Gallatin Valley Land Trust
The GVLT is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the conservation of open space, wildlife habitat, agricultural land, and the creation of public trails in southwestern Montana. Volunteer jobs are diverse, from organizing the Ski-A-Thon in February, participating in National Trails Day in June, pulling weeds, building fences, and making educational presentations to the community. Log on to gvlt.org and download the volunteer application.

3. Heart of the Valley Humane Society
Bozeman is a community of animal lovers, and what better way to give back than to spend a few hours a week enjoying these blissful Montana summers with a furry friend. The Heart of the Valley Humane Society’s motto is “Where every adoptable animal gets a home,” and they mean it. This no-kill facility often houses some animals for extended periods of time while searching for the perfect adoptive family. Volunteers are always needed to show these special creatures love and kindness. Dog walking, cat socializing, and animal fostering are just a few of the ways you can donate to this vital organization. For more information, contact 587-0456 or visit montanapets.org.

4. Eagle Mount
Eagle Mount has been giving back to the Bozeman community for more than 20 years. Participants with all kinds of disabilities are enriched through therapeutic recreation, including kayaking, horseback riding, skiing, swimming, ice skating, and much more. Volunteers have the ability to choose what particular recreational activity they assist with, and many say that they “get as much out of the program as the participant does.” It’s no surprise that many Eagle Mount volunteers return year after year and develop lasting relationships with the participants they work with. Contact 586-1781 or visit eaglemount.org if interested.

5. Big Sky Youth Empowerment Program
Since its conception in 2001 by Pete MacFadyen, BYEP has been influencing the lives of disadvantaged children through the challenges and rewards of outdoor recreation. Through fly fishing, horseback riding, and snow sports, BYEP pairs at-risk kids with caring, devoted adults. Volunteer to be a mentor and share your recreational passion with a needy child, help organize their annual fundraiser, or serve on the board. For more information visit byep.org or call 539-0399.

Enjoy the summer months by volunteering your time and give back a little something to a place and a lifestyle that has given you so much.




The Afghan Connection

Imagine agreeing to marry your nine-year-old daughter to an elderly man in order to repay a debt or to collect enough money to provide for the rest of your family. Amazingly, this is a reality for many Afghan women and an unfortunate situation that Gail Weingart and the organization of which she is president, The Montana Connection for Afghan Women (MCAW), are fighting to eradicate. The MCAW was founded after the attacks of 9/11, and its focus is to raise money for grassroots, non-governmental organizations that help Afghan women and children. MCAW and also educates the public about the Afghan situation. In April the MCAW hosted Halima Kazem, an award-winning journalist who is currently directing a documentary about Afghan women in politics. Kazem was the featured speaker at MCAW’s fifth-annual wine & cheese fundraiser, which benefited the MCAW and its quest to improve women’s rights.

Although the fall of the Taliban significantly furthered women’s rights in Afghanistan, there is still much work to do. During the Taliban’s rule women were forced to stay indoors, cover themselves from head to toe, and were not able to attend school or work outside of the home. Those who did not abide by these rules risked physical abuse or even death. Since 2002, the women of Afghanistan have attended university and become involved in politics and activism.

-Becky Edwards
Appears in 
© 2000-2017 Outside Media Group, LLC
Powered by BitForge