You say you’re filled with goodwill towards men (and women)? And you wish you could buy a present for everyone who might go without this season? Please accept my compliments on your generosity. But can you afford it?

If your pocketbook isn’t as large as your heart, why not consider giving the best gift anyone could receive – you. You can have a tremendous impact when you share your time and talents with those who are in need.

The Volunteer Center of Dallas County works with more than 700 nonprofit organizations that need volunteers year-round. This holiday season, consider giving yourself to senior citizens, children or the needy.

You’ll be surprised how much you receive in return.


Lifespan is an organization that provides support and training for pregnant and parenting teens. The agency’s annual Christmas party Dec. 10 is a festive event attended by the teens and their children. Volunteers in Santa Claus costumes can provide holiday entertainment for the guests, and other volunteers can help distribute gifts.

Boys & Girls Club

Boys & Girls Club of Richardson hosts after-school programs at the RISD Academy. Athletic director Lon McQuiston says the organization is planning a busy holiday season for the 200 children who participate in the agency’s programs. A Christmas party for the children is scheduled Dec. 16, and an ice skating party will be held the week after Christmas. Volunteers can chaperone these events, drive children to the parties and help with activities.

Before the holiday break begins, volunteers are invited to read stories to the students. Help also is needed with tutoring and playing games with children after school until 7:30 p.m.

Boys & Girls Club is hosting a day camp for students during school vacation, and volunteers are needed to help with arts and crafts, games and activities.

Nutrition Program

Dallas County Human Services Nutrition Program provides meals, recreation, education and social services at senior centers throughout the community.

Each center, including the White Rock Senior Center and the Happy House, will host a special holiday meal Dec. 16. Volunteers can help plan the parties, decorate and serve food.

Debra Wyatt, center administrator for the Nutrition Program, says volunteers are invited to sing carols, provide holiday entertainment or teach holiday crafts to the seniors.

Volunteers can work with the managers at each center to set up special holiday programs.

Juliette Fowler Homes

Juliette Fowler Homes has a variety of volunteer opportunities in December for people who want to work with youths or senior citizens.

On Dec. 10, volunteers are needed to help coordinate a garage sale benefiting the East Dallas center. Help is needed with sorting, selling and moving items.

Volunteer coordinator Erika McKenzie says she needs volunteers the morning of Dec. 16 and all day Dec. 23 to wrap gifts for teenagers living at the center. These adolescents have experienced emotional, behavior or family problems and are receiving help at Juliette Fowler Homes.

Volunteers can also serve a special Christmas dinner for senior citizens Dec. 16.

For more information about these and other volunteer opportunities, call the Volunteer Center of Dallas at 826-6767 to speak with a volunteer phone counselor.