Volunteer opportunities in Laurel

April is a month of volunteer service opportunities, with National Volunteer Week, April 15-21; Global Youth Service Day April 20-22; and Earth Day, April 22

The Volunteer Center For Anne Arundel County — Works with local agencies to provide a variety of opportunities to serve the community throughout April and beyond. Go to http://www.volunteerannearundel.org/SpecialEvents to download a free guide, "Celebrating People in Action," and information on volunteering with Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, National Electronics Museum Robot Fest, Greenscape in Annapolis; the SPCA's annual Walk for the Animals; and more. Contact the Volunteer Center at 410-897-9207 or info@volunteerannearundel.org.

Patuxent Research Refuge and National Wildlife Visitors Center — Opportunities for volunteers to become more personally involved in accomplishing the mission of Patuxent Research Refuge by assisting with public educational programs, helping with wildlife surveys and a variety of other tasks. The volunteer must complete required training, sign a volunteer agreement to be kept on file and commit to volunteering at the refuge a minimum of eight hours per month for six months. Must be at least 18 years old for most positions; some younger volunteers considered if they are with their parent/guardian. For more information, go to patuxent.fws.gov.

Earth Day events— Fri., April 20, 1-3 p.m., North Tract entrance to Patuxent Research Refuge, off Route 198: Volunteers ages 13 and over needed to help remove non-native invasive plants. Bring gloves, water, bug repellent and hand tools if available. Sat., April 21, 9 a.m.-noon, National Wildlife Visitor Center, 10901 Scarlet Tanager Loop: Volunteers ages 10 and over needed to weed, mulch and fix up outdoor gardens and trails. Bring gloves, water and bug repellent. Space is limited for both and registration is required; call 301-497-5887

Charity's Closet and Success In Style — Weekday and weekend opportunities at Charity's Closet, a thrift store where everything is priced $5, located at Savage Mill, on the ground floor of the New Weave Building. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. All proceeds from Charity's Closet benefit Success In Style, which provides free business wardrobes and coaching to disadvantaged individuals seeking employment. Success In Style's Laurel location is at North Laurel-Savage Multiservice Center, 9900 Washington Blvd. Hours are Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 443-538-3843. http://www.successinstyle.org.

STARS – Speakers, Tutors, Achievement, Retention, Success — A mentoring program based at the Woodland Job Corps Center, in Laurel, serves "at promise" motivated youth, ages 16 to 24, who want a successful life. The center has many young men looking for guidance from volunteer men as they reach for their goals in life, work, education, family and community. No mentoring experience is necessary —volunteers just draw on their own life-lessons. Requires just one to two hours per week, one night per week, to listen and help a young man reach his full potential. Training and support provided. Contact Gloria Coliton, 301-362-6045 or coliton.gloria@jobcorps.org.

Side by Side — Faith-based nonprofit is recruiting volunteers to work with students in Laurel's elementary schools as tutors, homework coaches or Family Academy children's activity assistants. Training and ongoing professional support provided for tutors or homework coaches. High school students can earn service credits. Call Linda, 301-931-1399. http://www.sidebysidelaurel.org.

FISH of Laurel/Elizabeth House — Nonprofit, all-volunteer organization that assists needy neighbors in the greater Laurel area operates entirely with private and public donations of food, money and volunteer services, with an all-volunteer Board of Trustees. Volunteers work in the kitchen, pantry, with food pick-up and committees and functions. Due to the high demand for services, FISH prefers dedicated, long-term volunteers, but volunteers can also help on an as-needed or substitute basis. Adults and teens may volunteer as individuals or in groups. Training will be provided. To volunteer, call 301-776-9296. Leave a voice message with name, phone number and what kind of work you are interested in doing. Or send a message to webmaster@fishoflaurel.org.

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