By Donna Gavello
Today’s busy lifestyles can make it hard to find time to volunteer, however, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you and your community. As an American Cancer Society volunteer, you are honoring a survivor or a loved one lost to cancer. The important thing is to volunteer only the amount of time that feels comfortable. Volunteering should be a fun and rewarding experience.
Give Cancer Patients a Lift
An estimated 3,500 Fresno County residents will learn they have cancer this year and getting to their scheduled treatment will be one of their greatest concerns. The American Cancer Society Road To Recovery program can help provide free transportation to and from treatment for people who do not own a vehicle, don’t drive, can’t afford the extra gasoline, or don’t have access to public transportation.
The Road To Recovery program needs volunteer drivers. Volunteers donate their time and the use of their cars so patients can receive the lifesaving treatments they need. The program offers a chance to give back while literally helping to save lives.
To volunteer, drivers must have a valid driver’s license, a safe and reliable vehicle, and proof of automobile insurance. Drivers must be 18-84 years old and have a good driving history. Volunteers arrange their own schedules. The American Cancer Society provides online training to drivers, and conducts criminal background and driving record checks.
Volunteer at a Discovery Shop
American Cancer Society Discovery Shops help support the fight against cancer through the sale of high-quality, gently used, donated merchandise. For more than 50 years, the society has owned and operated these specialty resale stores, featuring items such as clothing, jewelry, furniture, artwork, collectibles, and other household items. Volunteers are always needed for a variety of meaningful opportunities like working a cash register, providing customer service, receiving inventory, monitoring the dressing rooms, and other duties.
Your local Discovery Shop is at 2004 W. Bullard Ave., on the northwest corner of Bullard and West avenues in Fresno. Opportunities are available seven days a week. Onsite training is provided. Stop by the store any time to pick up a volunteer application.
As a Discovery Shop volunteer, you stay connected with your community, build relationships, and know that you’re helping raise funds for cancer research and patient services. Discovery Shops allow you to develop your merchandising, customer service and sales skills, all while making a difference.
Share Your Breast Cancer Experience
Are you a breast cancer survivor and want to share your experience with someone who is currently facing a diagnosis? The American Cancer Society Reach To Recovery program matches trained volunteer breast cancer survivors to people currently living with breast cancer. Through face-to-face visits or by phone or email, Reach To Recovery volunteer visitors provide understanding and hope to individuals who need support during their breast cancer experience.
Volunteer visitors must have had a diagnosis and undergone treatment for breast cancer and be at least one year post-treatment. Volunteer visitors also need to have strong communication and listening skills, be empathetic, and be emotionally well-adjusted. Online training is provided by the society.
Use Your Beauty Know-How
The Look Good Feel Better program is a fun way to help patients learn beauty techniques and feel better about themselves during cancer treatment. In-person workshops help women with cancer manage the appearance-related side effects of treatment. Trained volunteer beauty professionals teach simple techniques on skin care, makeup, and nail care, and give practical tips on hair loss, wigs, and head coverings. It’s a rewarding experience that is ideal for people who like teaching small groups. A mandatory in-person certification training is required by the society.
To learn more about these programs, or to become a volunteer, call the American Cancer Society at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org/volunteer.
Donna Gavello is Program Manager/Mission Delivery for the California Division of the American Cancer Society, Inc. Contact her at 559 451-0163.