Want to help hundreds of nonprofit organizations and thousands of Metroplex residents? Become a phone counselor for the Volunteer Center of Dallas County. You only have to volunteer three hours per week – a little time that can go a long way.

Phone counselors are the backbone of the Volunteer Center, which made more than 88,000 referrals last year to individuals, families, service clubs, companies and others who wanted to volunteer. Most referrals were made by phone counselors and not paid staff members.

Dick Lewis, a neighborhood resident, has been a Tuesday morning phone counselor for more than 13 years. When Lewis started, counselors used handwritten and typed lists of volunteer opportunities to make suggestions to callers. Today, he and other counselors use a computer database of more than 7,000 volunteer opportunities.

“I enjoy talking to so many different people and connecting with the community,” Lewis says. “I feel like I’m doing something good and helping people.”

When a potential volunteer calls the Center, the phone counselor asks the person questions to learn more about his or her interests, location and availability. Counselors can search the database for specific causes like AIDS, or for specific jobs like tutoring. If you enjoy talking to people and would like to learn more about the nonprofit community, you might make an ideal phone counselor. For information, call Judy Jacks at 214-826-6767, ext. 226.