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Volunteerslo.org connects community with opportunities to give back

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Feel like doing more volunteer work in 2018 and haven't in the past because you thought you needed a better "lay of the land"? A visit to one website can put an end to that excuse.

Volunteerslo.org is the comprehensive online database of volunteer opportunities in San Luis Obispo County. Originally a partnership between Cal Poly and the United Way of SLO in 2005, today the site connects more than 300 community organizations with locals interested in helping out in myriad ways.

SIGN UP!  VolunteerSLO.org is an online database of local volunteer opportunities hosted by the United Way of SLO. More than 300 organizations post their upcoming events and volunteer needs for the community to engage with. - IMAGE COURTESY OF THE UNITED WAY OF SLO
  • Image Courtesy Of The United Way Of SLO
  • SIGN UP! VolunteerSLO.org is an online database of local volunteer opportunities hosted by the United Way of SLO. More than 300 organizations post their upcoming events and volunteer needs for the community to engage with.

Aspiring volunteers can search the website for upcoming events, opportunity postings, or specific organizations. Within those searches, you can use different filters to zero in on what kind of work you're interested in. If you're a parent and it's your teen who's looking for opportunities, there's a filter to show the organizations looking for volunteers in his or her age range.

The list of opportunities is expansive. You can register as a spontaneous unaffiliated volunteer for disaster relief—think of the Thomas Fire—and sign up to get notified about any volunteer needs that come up in the wake of natural disasters on the Central Coast.

You can also be a tutor with the Family Care Network. Or help out at a homeless warming center. Assist with the crisis line at the Women's Shelter of SLO County. Volunteer at the Downtown Farmers' Market. There's pretty much anything and everything, which is one reason why the United Way strongly encourages more community members to use the website: There are usually fewer volunteers than postings.

"We wish more people would use it because it is a free resource and there are so many postings that don't get responses," said Rachel Cementina, director of community engagement for the United Way of SLO.

When you find an event or volunteer opportunity that seems up your alley, you can express your interest to the organization right there on the website. Just click the "respond" button on the post, or, if it's a specific event, RSVP "yes," "no," or "maybe."

But to use any of those social capabilities, first you need to log in as a new user.

"It's really easy," Cementina said. "You can actually connect via Facebook so there's almost no setup involved to become a user on the website."

The majority of the posts provide some details about the opportunity and the organization, but they also include a coordinator's email or phone number to contact if you have further questions.

"If you're ready to commit right then, you can sign up for that opportunity, and the agency will get directly in touch with you," Cementina explained. "But there's also contact info if you want to ask a question or get more details before you commit to that volunteer opportunity."

Nonprofit groups that are unaware of volunteerslo.org can go to the website and register themselves just as easily and begin adding volunteer opportunities and events to the database for the community to connect with. ∆

Staff Writer Peter Johnson can be reached at pjohnson@newtimesslo.com.


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