Helping hand: Local volunteer opportunities for you and your kids

Peaceful Passings Senior Animal Rescue is one of many area organizations that's looking for young volunteers. File photo. Peaceful Passings Senior Animal Rescue is one of many area organizations that’s looking for young volunteers. File photo.

The kids are back in school, so we know what that means—back to soccer practices, Boy Scout meetings, football games, and band competitions. Free time is sparse, but if you’re looking for one more activity to squeeze in, consider something that will not only teach your kid valuable skills, but will also give back to the community. Here are just a few local opportunities for you and your young volunteers.

Peaceful Passings Senior Animal Rescue

The only home-based rescue in Virginia that exclusively serves senior, hospice, and special-needs dogs is located in Fluvanna, and owner Jackie Meyers is always looking for extra help.
You and your family can clear and rake the walking path; donate and plant flowers; hold a drive for food or cleaning supplies; help trim nails, clean ears, and brush the dogs on animal care days; and walk and hang out with the dogs.

For more information on Peaceful Passings, visit

Ronald McDonald House

Charlottesville’s branch of the national nonprofit provides a home away from home for families who have seriously ill children at the University of Virginia Medical Center or Martha Jefferson Hospital. Groups and families can help with cleaning projects around the house; adopt the house for a week and provide kitchen essentials for families like frozen food and milk; be a chef for a day and prepare meals for families; decorate the house for the holidays; make “welcome boxes” for new mothers, including diapers, pacifiers, creams, and outfits; donate items to keep siblings occupied, like crafts, snacks, coloring books, and non-messy toys; and donate items from the regularly-updated wishlist.

For more information, visit

Charlottesville Area Riding Therapy

Love horses and helping others? Consider dedicating some time to Charlottesville Area Riding Therapy, a non-
profit that brings therapeutic horseback riding to children and adults with special needs. Volunteers must be 14 years old, and equestrian experience is preferred, but not required.

For more information, visit

The Wildlife Center of Virginia

If you and the kids are into crafting, providing some hand-
made items for the Wildlife Center may be right up your volunteering alley. The center always needs the following items: Tail guards: stiff plastic covers that prevent breakage in the raptors’ tail feathers, made from plastic file folders (most commonly used and needed sizes are for red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, and cooper’s hawks); Baby bird nests: knitted or crocheted from yarn; Booties: plastic foot wraps for pelagic birds, made from soft, pre-shrunk, non-loopy fabrics; and Program crate covers: neutral colors (no patterns or bright colors), which provide privacy for animals traveling in crates.

For more information and craft instructions, visit