August 9, 2017

Give Back: Volunteer Opportunities Abound in Athens

Photo Credit: Joshua L. Jones/file

A dog at the Athens-Clarke County animal shelter.

During the stressful years of college, it can be difficult to make time for yourself, much less total strangers. But giving back to your community can be a rewarding way to challenge yourself and learn more about the larger community of Athens, outside of the comfort zone of the university.

Whether it’s behind-the-scenes work like organizing donations or personal interaction through tutoring or an after-school program, there’s a way for everyone to contribute. These are only a few of the many volunteer opportunities in Athens; read Flagpole’s weekly Bulletin Board section for an up-to-date listing.

Athens Tutorial Program

College students and retired teachers engage in one-on-one tutoring in areas like reading, math, science and social studies. A summer STEM program matches students majoring in the sciences with kids interested in the same areas of study.

Athens Area Homeless Shelter

Make a difference in someone’s life by providing a meal to a family in need. Assist with childcare on Monday and Tuesday evenings while mothers attend evening programs. Tutor kids after school, or consult the needed-items list online and collect donations for the shelter.

Northeast Georgia Food Bank

Help feed the hungry population of Athens. Work inside organizing and stocking the food pantry or outside in the food garden cultivating and harvesting. Organize and collect food for the drives, or prepare sack lunches for school kids. Other volunteer options are also available.

Bear Hollow Zoo

Athens’ only zoo is run heavily by volunteers who get to spend one-on-one time with the animals feeding, cleaning and socializing. There’s an intern program for students studying animal sciences.

Sandy Creek Nature Center

Spend your day in the woods as a trail guide or a trail keeper at one of the extensive Sandy Creek trails. Be an animal care volunteer or general volunteer at special events. For teens, there’s a Naturalist Assistant Program.

Athens Humane Society

Athens Pets

Three volunteer options at the Athens Humane Society can make a difference in an animal’s happiness. As a spay-and-neuter volunteer, assist with prepping the animals, the surgery itself, cleaning supplies and caring for the dog or cat afterward. Socialize with dogs by signing up online, then taking the pups out for a walk and playing with them. Cuddle with cats, clean their litter boxes and feed them. Athens Pets is another nonprofit that helps ACC Animal Control care for and adopt out lost and abandoned animals at the city pound.