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Volunteering offers benefits to local community

Written by: What’s Up Prince William

Prince William County is made up of many organizations that help meet the needs of community members.

To reach their goals, non-profit and community group rely on volunteers.

Since moving to the county in 2000, Patti Beattie has helped with various organizations, including Literacy Volunteers of America — Prince William (LVA-PW) in Woodbridge, Lutheran Church of the Covenant (LCOC), and Dale City Civic Association (DCCA).

She’s encouraging others to get involved in the community.

Prince William County’s growing population, Beattie explained, is one reason citizens should lend a helping hand.

Prince William County had more than 463,000 residents in July 2017, according to the United States Census Bureau.

As the population continues to climb, so do the needs of local groups.

“There’s a lot of need going on, and that means that if we all can help non-profit community organizations, we can help make this a better place for people to live, and work and play,” Beattie said. “And if each person just gave a few hours of their time a week or a month — and resources, if they’re able to —  just think about the impact and the ripple effect that this would have on our whole world.”

Through their volunteer efforts, community members can offer needed support to local organizations and schools.

Volunteering also plays a positive role in a individual’s physical and mental health.

“It provides you with just a wonderful amount of satisfaction,” Beattie said. “It’s important for people of all ages to make volunteering a part of their lives, whether they’re a student, a family doing service together, or a retired person.”

How to help

Numerous organizations throughout the county are seeking members.

The Bel Air Woman’s Club is among them.

The organization was established in Dale City in 1973.

It’s a part of the General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC), an international non-profit, and has been involved with the Prince William County Spelling Bee for 40 years.

“Our mission is to support the community and it’s well-being,” Bel Air Woman’s Club President Karen Attreed.

Individuals interested in joining the club can attend the meetings, which begin at 7 p.m. on the fourth Monday of every month.

The meetings are held at the First United Presbyterian Church.

Community members interested in lending a helping hand can also assist local non-profits.

Action in Community Through Service (ACTS), a non-profit in Dumfries, is searching for volunteers who would assist with various tasks.

Volunteer Prince William can help citizens learn about opportunities to serve.

The Manassas-based non-profit connects prospective volunteers with organizations that need assistance.

“We’re the matching service,” Volunteer Prince William Executive Director Mary Foley said.

Community members can search for opportunities on the website.

“It’s just about giving the volunteer that opportunity to make a difference in this community and doing what they want to do, and then also — for that agency — attracting the right volunteer to do the job that they need done,” Foley said.

Volunteer Prince William also runs multiple services, including its Retired and Senior Volunteer and Un-Trim-A-Tree Holiday Gift programs.

There are numerous ways county residents can get involved in the community, according to Beattie.

“No matter what your passion, what your skill set is, or what your experience is — even if you don’t have experience — there are volunteer opportunities that will match them,” Beattie said. “It’s just a matter of stepping out of your comfort zone, making a call, signing up and joining in.”