Summer is on the horizon and that means come mid-June, over 3,000 elementary, middle and high school students in Ashe County will have a lot of spare time on their hands.
Ashe County Volunteer Coordinator Glenda Luther said there are plenty of opportunities available for kids and teenagers to volunteer in the county during the summer months and beyond.
According to Luther, lots of students enjoy volunteering with Ashe County Parks and Recreation and places like Ashe Memorial Hospital, Ashe Services for Aging and Ashe Really Cares, as well as a host of other organizations in the county.
“They (students) can volunteer with the parks and recreation department,” Luther said. “That’s always a big hit with the students.”
“Some help out with Ashe Really Cares over the summer, stocking shelves and stuff like that, and the hospital always has some volunteer opportunities available,” Luther said.
Luther also said she coordinates a school supply drive, which relies on volunteers, for local teachers and students that starts in June.
“I do a school supply drive, and that starts in June,” Luther said.
On Thursday, April 12, 220 hard-working and dedicated volunteers were recognized for their service to the community at the 29th annual Ashe County Commissioners’ Volunteer Awards Ceremony. Twelve businesses, organizations and individuals were honored with awards from the county, and eight received awards from Gov. Pat McCrory.
Most, if not all nonprofits in the county couldn’t survive without the help of volunteers, even those who volunteer just a few hours of their time.
Kelly Vannoy, chairperson of the Ashe County Sharing Center, said the organization relies heavily on and greatly appreciates the hard work of their cadre of volunteers.
“Sharing Center volunteers are a diverse group of 90 individuals representing varied generations, church denominations and backgrounds who come together with the common goal of providing food, friendship and hope to our Ashe County neighbors in need,” Vannoy said. “In 2013, the group exceeded 2,000 hours of volunteer service and provide food for over 18,000 individuals in our mountain county.”
Ashe County Schools Superintendent Dr. Todd Holden supports and encourages volunteerism among local youths and high school students.
“It is important for our students to give back to our community and our county,” Holden said. “It helps them learn more about what they may want to do in the future.”
Luther encourages anyone — young or old — interested in volunteering, to get in touch with local organizations or contact her.
“Anyone interested (in volunteering) can contact the individual departments or organizations, or they can call me,” Luther said.
The following is a list of some of the organizations in the county that welcome the help of volunteers:
• Ashe County Parks and Recreation is located at 626 Ashe Central School Road, Unit 16 in Jefferson (336-982-6185).
• Ashe County Humane Society is located at 1175 Old Highway 16 in Jefferson (336-982-4297).
• Ashe County Sharing Center is located at 3 North 3rd Avenue in West Jefferson (336-846-7019).
• Ashe Outreach Ministries is located at 11719 N.C. 88 West in Creston (336-385-3663).
• Ashe Really Cares is located at 626 Ashe Central School Road in Jefferson (336-982-5234).
• Ashe Arts Council is located at 303 School Ave. in West Jefferson (336-846-2787).
• Ashe County Habitat for Humanity is located at 1056 N.C. 164 in West Jefferson (336-846-2525).
• Ashe Memorial Hospital, 200 Hospital Ave. in Jefferson (336-846-7101).
• Ashe Services for Aging, 180 Chattyrob Lane in West Jefferson (336-246-2461).
• Ashe County Public Library, 148 Library Drive in West Jefferson (336-846-2401).
Of course, such opportunities are not limited to teenagers. Adults can volunteer at all of the above locations, and others, too.
For more information on volunteer opportunities and other volunteer-oriented organizations in the county, contact Luther at 246-2461 or email her at email@example.com.
Alan Bulluck can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck.