The city of Alexandria relies on volunteers to provide needed services to residents. Both public and private agencies use volunteers in a variety of ways. The Alexandria Volunteer Bureau has more than 400 agencies registered. They link volunteers with these groups. For information about AVB, or to register as a volunteer, visit their web site at www.alexandriavolunteers.com or call 703-836-2176. Here are some major events for which volunteers will be needed over the next year.

*Art On the Avenue, Oct. 2

*The Walk to Fight Breast Cancer, Oct. 23

*Del Ray Halloween Parade, Oct. 30

*Turkey Trot, Nov. 25

*Annual Toy Drive, December

George Washington Birthday Parade, Feb. 21

United Community Ministries (UCM) is one of the largest private providers of human services in Mount Vernon. UCM needs volunteers to serve in a number of capacities and in many programs throughout the year. It is a non-profit, human services organization located here in our community.  UCM was founded in 1967 by a group of concerned community members and numerous local faith organizations to assist our neighbors in need.

In its infancy, UCM focused on providing crisis intervention services – food, clothing and eviction and utility cut-off prevention. Over the years it has grown into an agency that focuses on preventative measures, recognizing that if it was going to truly affect change, it needed to help those in need to become self-sufficient and to help prevent future generations from repeating their parents’ histories.

Today’s programs address both emergency and long-term needs.  Emergency services include in-kind assistance of food, clothing, furniture and infant supplies, and emergency financial assistance for rent, utilities and medical bills.

Self-sufficiency services include job counseling and placement, self-employment and technical assistance, computer skills training, housing for those transitioning from homelessness, mentoring programs, community outreach, child abuse and neglect prevention programs, and a comprehensive child development center, the Bryant Early Learning (BEL) Center.

Through the year, the group's volunteer opportunities include:

Fall 2005

Help the Homeless Walkathon and Miniwalks: The Help the Homeless Walkathon helps prevent homelessness and assists homeless families. The Fannie Mae Foundation is providing UCM us with an opportunity to raise the funds needed to help the homeless in our community.  Miniwalk participants help raise $100,000 for UCM’s programs and services – money that will help families out of homelessness or prevent families from becoming homeless. The money raised will allow UCM to provide housing services to more than 650 people, prevent more than 220 evictions, and much, much more. For additional information, please contact Tracy Davis at 703-768-7106 ext.328 or at developmentofficer2@ucmagency.org.

Boy Scouts Food Drive: Saturday, Nov. 13. Every year, the Boy Scouts collect food for UCM’s food pantry and each year, you donate about 10,000 pounds of food through their collection efforts. Support UCM by giving. UCM also needs volunteers on that day to help sort and box the food as it arrives.  Interested volunteers can contact Cecelia Vergaretti at 703-768-7106 ext. 326 or volunteer@ucmagency.org.

Share the Joy Holiday Program: Each year, United Community Ministries (UCM) conducts a Holiday "Share the Joy" program.  This program provides toys and other gifts for approximately 1000 children in our community through Adopt-a-Family, Sharing trees and a Holiday Shop where UCM clients can browse and select items for their children. The shop is stocked with new, unwrapped toys and items donated by businesses, schools, clubs and individuals within our community. Volunteers are needed to:

* Help UCM staff prepare a mailing to prospective donors (October)

* Translate “shopping lists,” signs and instructions into Spanish (December)

* Conduct a toy drive (December)

* Conduct a food drive (any time)

* Help set up gift room (Dec. 1- 23)

* Escort parents while they select items for their children in the gift room (three shopping days in December; those who speak Spanish are encouraged to volunteer in this area)

* During three shopping days, help restock gift room (December)

* Pick up donations from designated Sharing tree sites.

For more information, contact Cecelia Vergaretti at 703-768-7106, ext. 326 or volunteer@ucmagency.org.

JAN. 2005:

* SOUPer Saturday: The potters of the Torpedo Factory, together with a local restaurant, will sponsor the 11th annual “SOUPer” Saturday in January, from 9 a.m. to noon, in Old Town Alexandria. The exact date is not yet determined. Persons can buy a handmade bowl and receive a free ticket for one serving of soup.  Tickets can be redeemed on the day of the event, at a designated restaurant near the Torpedo Factory, usually the Scoop Grill. Proceeds benefit UCM. For more information call Tracy Davis at 703-768-7106 x328, or via email at cdo@ucmagency.org.

* Capitol Steps: Sunday, Jan. 23, 2005, 4:30 p.m. Performance will be held at Good Shepherd Catholic Church and benefits UCM and its programs. Tickets are available for purchase in December 2004.  If you would like to make reservations or become a sponsor for this event, call Friends of UCM at 703-768-7106 ext. 346.

APRIL 2005

* National Volunteer Recognition Month: Each year, UCM recognizes all of its volunteers and brings them together in fellowship to celebrate their kindness and generosity in their service to UCM.  UCM is looking for donations for door prizes, decorations, and food and beverage donations to help alleviate the cost of the event. For more information, please contact Cecelia Vergaretti at 703-768-7106, x326, or via e-mail at volunteer@ucmagency.org.

* BEL Benefit Concert hosted by Mount Vernon Unitarian Church:  The Bryant Early Learning Center (BEL) was established to address our community-wide issue of lack of safe, affordable childcare. BEL is a nurturing learning environment that helps parents, especially teen mothers. It serves a diverse population and includes an Early Intervention and Screening Project and a Developmental Curriculum. UCM is grateful to MVUC for supporting the BEL throughout the years. For more information, please contact Eileen McNally at 703-768-7106, ext. 327, or via e-mail at grantwriter@ucmagency.org.

MAY 2005

* Cinco de Mayo:  Saturday, May 7, 2005. The Friends of UCM will present a Cinco de Mayo Celebration to benefit UCM programs. For more information call the Friends of UCM at 703-768-7106, x346.


* Back to School Supplies Collection and Distribution: Last year, UCM supplied 565 children with the tools that they would need to begin the school year on an equal footing with their classmates. UCM obtains a list of supplies for each grade from local schools and attempts to provide every item for that grade to the student. The beginning of the school year can be a financial strain on a family and this is UCM’s way to alleviate some of that pressure. Donations and volunteers are needed for this project.For more information, contact Cecelia Vergaretti at 703-768-7106 x326 or volunteer@ucmagency.org.


Food Drives at local supermarkets: Last year, UCM’s Food Pantry distributed 243,003 pounds of food to those in need in the community. Without contributions from individuals and organizations, UCM would not be able to provide this great a service. UCM is looking for persons to help organize and staff food drives at local supermarkets. If you are interested in helping UCM stock its pantry shelves, please contact Cecelia Vergaretti at 703-768-7106, ext. 326, or via e-mail at volunteer@ucmagency.org.

Homework Assistance: United Community Ministries’ Youth in Action program is looking for individuals that would be interested in helping youth grades K-6 with homework assistance.The individual would be needed once or twice per week in the afternoon/ early evening hours.  Must have transportation to the homework assistance location (South County area). Also, must have particular strengths in reading and/or math. The individual must be committed to serving for at least one hour per week for three months.For more information, call a UCM Youth Counselor, Julio Chacon at 703-768-7106 ext. 306 or Katrina Hamlett at 703-768-7106 ext. 341

The Food Pantry is looking for volunteers to help bag and distribute food to clients. The Food Pantry is located at UCM’s Main office at 7511 Fordson Road. For more information, contact Richard Dobber at 703-768-7106 ext. 343.

Drivers needed for dental appointments to NOVA Dental Clinic in Falls Church.  Requires that you wait at the appointment to return with client back to Alexandria. Clients must arrive on time, or client loses service and UCM is required to pay for appointment. Need your own vehicle. Copy of drivers license, insurance and driving record must be provided to UCM.

Volunteers to Assist Computer Instructors: Volunteers will work with computer instructors to help students follow during the lesson.  Would like a commitment of 12 hours per month, working knowledge of MS applications, patience and understanding. Computer classes are held on Monday and Wednesday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday, 7-9 p.m. Spanish speakers especially needed. For more information, contact Workforce Development Center at 703-360-9088.

Volunteers also needed for Friday Senior Computer days. Requires a commitment of once per month from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. or 2-4 p.m.)

Bilingual Resume Assistance. Provide administrative support to staff in preparing resumes for persons who speak Spanish as a first language. Provide one-on-one assistance for persons with limited English speaking skills to work on basic and essential workplace skills. Requires approximately three to five hours per month. For more information, contact Workforce Development Center at 703-360-9088.

New You Mentors provide one-on-one friendship, emotional support and modeling of positive work ethics to program participants. Mentors provide participants with useful tools to assist them in their job search and help participants use their strengths to reach their desired results. One two-hour training session, ten weekly sessions to be held on Monday evenings 7-9 p.m. For more information, contact Workforce Development Center at 703-360-9088.

Transitional Housing. UCM’s transitional housing programs need volunteers. Through case management and support group meetings, the program fulfills UCM’s mission by teaching families long-term self-sufficiency skills, with a focus on parenting skills and fiscal responsibility.  Most of the participants are siingle mothers. The program holds monthly life skills meetings to focus on crucial topics such as money management, nutrition, and safety in your neighborhood. Each meeting is two hours in length and includes a children’s program as well.

Each month, we would like a different group to do two things:

* Childcare: Provide childcare with our staff, Need approximately two to three volunteers; older teens may volunteer.  Time needed:  5:15-8 pm.

* Food:  Prepare/Serve/Clean-up after a dinner for approximately 60 people. Need approximate five people; older teens may volunteer.Time needed: approximately 4:30-7 p.m. On the third Thursday of the month. Programs are held at a local church with a full kitchen. Groups can prepare and cook the meal in the church kitchen or use the kitchen to heat a meal that has already been prepared. Meals might include pasta, chicken, soup, or a casserole.

Alexandria City departments have a variety of volunteer needs throughout the year. Here is a list of some of the volunteer opportunities.

* The Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities:

Youth Sports: 703-838-4345

Recreation Center Advisory Councils-703-838-4345

Senior Citizen programs- 703-838-4831

Events- 703-838-4844

Therapeutic programs and activities- 703-519-3353

* Human Services:

Agency on Aging- 703-838-0920

Alexandria Volunteer Guardianship Program- 703-838-0920

Cooperative Caring Network- 703-838.0920

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program- 703-549.1607

Alexandria Volunteer Bureau- 703-836.2176

Are you O.K.?- 703-838.4520

Ripening to Vintage Fund of Alexandria, Inc.- 703-998.6045

Ho Ho Ho- 703-354.5679

*Office on Women:

Sexual Assault Response and Awareness (SARA) Program- Erika Callaway Kleiner at 703-838-5030 ext. 117 or erika.callaway@alexandriava.gov

The Alexandria Domestic Violence Program- Betsy Greene at 703-838-4911

* The Office of Historic Alexandria:

Gadsby’s Tavern Museum is looking for volunteers interested in working with the Collections Committee, education programs and as tour guides. (03-838-4242

The Alexandria Black History Museum is looking for adults to help with programs and operations. 703-838-4356

The Alexandria Library always needs volunteers. To inquire about current opportunities, call the library branches and ask for their volunteer coordinator. The numbers are:

* Beatley Central: 703-519-5900

* Barrett Branch: 703-838-4555

* Burke Branch: 703-519-6000

* Duncan Branch: 703-838-4566

* Local History/Special Collections: 703-838-4577

Alexandria Volunteer Fire Department, Inc. (affiliate of the City of

Alexandria Fire Department) has multiple categories of training status so as to encourage participation by all qualified applicants. Information is available by calling 703-922-4578 or e-mailing brunopj@prodigy.net .

Citizens who wish to donate their time and talents to the Police department should call the Volunteer Unit at 703-706-3988.

The Community Service Board’s volunteer program offers a variety of opportunities for adults and teens age 16 and above to work directly with consumers of their services, in their offices, on a committee or even in their own home. All volunteers are provided with an orientation and training. For more information, contact 703-838-4455, ext. 165.