Extension offers diverse volunteer opportunities

Published 8:15 pm Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Editor’s Note: April 18-24 is National Volunteer Week. To that cause, The Clanton Advertiser will feature every day between today and Sunday a different group or organization and volunteering opportunities offered there. Today we highlight the Chilton County Humane Society.

The Chilton County Extension Office offers volunteers diverse opportunities to give back to their community, and share a hobby, skill or craft they enjoy with others.

“I love volunteers, and Extension could not operate without them,” said Gay West, county extension coordinator, via e-mail. “In fact, we have always depended on volunteers to enhance our educational programming.”

The Extension Office offers programs throughout the year on various topics, from cooking and gardening to home improvement and personal finance – and pretty much everything in between. Volunteers often have large roles in making those programs come together.

For example, West said a Chilton County Master Gardener volunteered to teach a group how to grow and use herbs when cooking. Another is currently helping with a youth program on cake decorating.

Some people help with the local 4-H program, serving as judges for the annual beef and peach cook offs. Volunteers can get more involved with 4-H as group leaders.

Help is also needed in putting programs together, setting up the event and cleaning up afterward.

West said it’s important to match a volunteer with his or her interests and talents.

“Some of our volunteers will work very hard to help with a program but would never stand up and present a program,” West said. “It takes time to find the right match.”

“And it is important to value the volunteers and their time and to say thanks for their help.”

West also said volunteers need to remember that most organizations now have a screening process in place for people who will work one-on-one with children or the elderly.

For more information about volunteer opportunities with the Chilton County Extension Office, call 280-6268 or visit www.aces.edu/counties/Chilton/.