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The Hood Magazine

The Season of Giving

Nov 06, 2021 05:00PM ● By Susie Ryks, Volunteer Services Director, Helpline Center

By: Susie Ryks, Volunteer Services Director, Helpline Center 

Holidays often mean time off from work for parents and no school days for kids. This provides families with the opportunity to share time together.  It’s also a great time for parents to teach their children the importance of giving back. Volunteering during the holiday season is a great way to spend time together and turn volunteering into a lifetime tradition. 

The Helpline Center has served the Sioux Falls community for more than 45 years. Through our Volunteer Connections program, we provide the critical link between caring community volunteers and the non-profit agencies that need them. Our online volunteer database, https://volunteer.helplinecenter.org/, has hundreds of volunteer opportunities listed for area nonprofits. Volunteers can search these opportunities to find the ideal volunteer experience.  

Many families with children and teens want to volunteer together as a way to explore important lessons and values. A great way to explore the opportunities to volunteer during the holiday season is to view our Holiday Guides.  Each year, the Helpline Center creates guides containing holiday assistance, volunteer opportunities, giving opportunities, and special events. These guides are some of our most viewed items on the Helpline Center website. If you are in need of assistance or if you’d like to give back, visit https://www.helplinecenter.org/holidayguides.   

Volunteering is a wonderful way for teens to meet new friends, develop new skills and make a difference in their community. In 1999, as a way to connect youth with volunteer opportunities the Helpline Center started SALSA (Serve and Learn Student Association).  Each year, SALSA connects with approximately 600 high school students to engage them in volunteerism, giving them the opportunity to meet new friends, explore careers, gain leadership experience, earn hours for scholarship applications and make a difference in their community.  

SALSA holds monthly meetings in the five public high schools located in Sioux Falls and Brandon. Students hear from nonprofit agencies about the needs in our community, learn about individual volunteer opportunities and complete hands on service projects. Twice a month, students also get together as a large group to volunteer in the community.   

Anne Sprecher, a Senior at Lincoln High School and a SALSA member said, “I enjoy volunteering because I am able to give back to the Sioux Falls area and create many new relationships, which is incredibly rewarding. SALSA is a great resource that allows students to learn about volunteering opportunities and the wonderful organizations that make a difference in our community.”  

If you have a teen interested in volunteering check out our website for more information on SALSA at https://www.helplinecenter.org/salsa.  

Do-It-Yourself Volunteer Projects are perfect for groups, families, and clubs to give back in a meaningful way. This is a great option to complete while you’re gather together as a family, or on your own. You can choose from our list of 40+ project options at helplinecenter.org/diy. Once completed, the projects can be dropped off or mailed to area nonprofits. 

Whether it’s donating toys for kids or volunteering to serve a holiday meal, the Helpline Center can help you find a way to give back during the holiday season. To learn more about SALSA, Holiday Guides, our DIY projects or any of our other services, visit www.helplinecenter.org, or call 211.