Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunity: The Ohio Benefit Bank
By Kelsey McCoy, VISTA for Media

“A young mother who has to go out and work may not realize that she can receive childcare subsidies. Helping people become aware of the benefits they are eligible for in Ohio points them in the right direction,” Amy Swart, a VISTA at Southeast Ohio Second Harvest Foodbank said on Rural Action’s weekly radio program “Volunteer Action” on Tuesday.

According to the official website, the Ohio Benefit Bank (OBB) is “a web-based computer program that connects low and moderate-income Ohioans with access to work supports such as tax credits and public benefits.” Swart trains counselors at 22 sites and counting in ten counties in southeast Ohio. The counselors guide clients through a web-based questionnaire. At the end of the program, the OBB generates a list of the benefits the client is eligible for in Ohio, and then prints official forms for the client. Counselors working with the OBB are all volunteers, working in sites that volunteer their space. Four sites are currently located in Athens County in Glouster, Coolville, Athens and Nelsonville.

The OBB also helps clients file income taxes, which is especially important this year with the federal stimulus package. Swart said she is trying to spread the word about the importance of filing taxes even if you do not receive any income—people who receive social security, for example—in order to receive the stimulus check from the government. She also pointed out that this is a one-time tax filing, and will not require you to pay it back or file next year.

In the state of Ohio, the OBB currently has 520 sites with 2000 trained counselors, who have generated $15 million in tax credits in Ohio communities to date. If you are interested in being part of this “neighbors helping neighbors” program in southeast Ohio, contact Amy at 740-385-6813 or amy_oashf@hotmail.com.


Volunteer Opportunity: The 4th Annual Nelsonville Art and Music Festival
By Brian Koscho, VISTA for Stuarts Opera House

Stuarts Opera House is having their 4th Annual Nelsonville Art and Music Festival May 16th-18th at Robbins Crossing on the Hocking College Campus. Along with lots of music, there will be art vendors, local food, workshops, kids activities, camping, and more.

Confirmed bands include:
The Avett Brothers
Akron/Family
O'Death
The Red Stick Ramblers
Michael Hurley
Uncle Monk
Southeast Engine
Silo Circuit
Casual Future
Woody Pines and the Lonesome Two
Justin Gordon
MANY MANY MORE TO COME!

We are gathering volunteers for various jobs including cleanup, setup, stage, food, beer, gate, tickets, etc. Volunteer shifts will be THREE HOURS in length, at all sorts of times over the weekend in various positions. YOU WILL GET A FREE WEEKEND PASS FOR WORKING A TOTAL OF 6 HOURS OVER THE WEEKEND! If you work less than 6 hours you will receive a pass for the day you are volunteering.

Those interested can e-mail Brian Koscho at brian@stuartsoperahouse.org. Please include: your full name E-mail, Phone number, Days/rough times available to volunteer, any previous experience volunteering at Hockhocking Festival or Nelsonville Art and Music Festival.

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