Miller Park Zoo

Miller Park Zoo is holding a Kid's Fun Run 3K and 5K race from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 7.

In lieu of Illinois State’s new project, “Redbird Impact,” it is important to remember the value of volunteering and making a difference in others’ lives.

Redbird Impact features students and faculty making a difference in their community. Making an impact is not as hard as it seems. All it starts with is a simple gesture.

Opportunities are all around, for example, one opportunity is volunteering time to Miller Park Zoo.

Silvia Schuh, events and volunteer coordinator, said the zoo requires a six-month commitment.

“The reason being is that it takes a lot of time and effort to properly train a volunteer to be able to feel confident of being able to complete their assignments,” Schuh said.

The zoo offers six different volunteer opportunities ranging from animal care to upkeep to guest service or even handling animals.

Interested applicants can fill out a form on the zoo’s webpage. Once filled, possible applicants will need to pass a background check and are then called for an interview.

If animals are not of interest, Faith in Action is currently seeking people interested in assisting local seniors.

Opportunities with Faith in Action are: providing rides to medical appointments, providing seniors with a friendly visit, taking seniors grocery shopping/shopping for them.

Interested participants are required to be 21 or older and have reliable transportation.

Volunteer Coordinator Terri Thede said volunteers must also complete a one- to two-hour orientation. However, this can be completed at the volunteer’s convenience.

“For the right student, this is an exceptionally flexible opportunity. Our medical drivers accept rides via an easy-to-use software program that allows them to select the dates and times that fit their schedule,” Thede said. “For those that do friendly visits or grocery shopping, they schedule these commitments with the care receiver so that things fit both individuals' schedules. Our seniors highly value interaction with young volunteers.”

There are several other opportunities available throughout the Bloomington-Normal area for specific interests.

A simple Google search can provide opportunities for students interested in humanities, children and even aiding pregnant women.

It does not take much to help another and a simple gesture can go a long way.

BECKY FLETCHER is a Features Reporter for The Vidette. Contact her at Followe on Twitter at @becky__fletcher

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