Carol Saviak (left) along with volunteer Padma Sikaria (right) talk with prospective volunteer Marth Welty (bottom right) about getting connected with St. Francis House to serve as a reading tutor and assistant in the kitchen. (Photo by Tammy Harrow)
PONTE VEDRA RECORDER, Thursday, March 15, 2018 12:00 am, by Benjamin Naim
A local resource and civic matchmaking service, St. Johns Volunteers offers personalized nonprofit volunteer opportunities and a chance for locals to enrich the quality of life in St. Johns County.
Executive Director Carol Saviak explained that the nonprofit matches individuals with local agencies through personal volunteer profiles and an online matchmaking system. In addition to the St. Johns Volunteers website, individuals can visit a Training & Resource Center for a volunteer-interest consultation.
“Both our website and the services offered at the physical volunteer center promote an array of nonprofit opportunities that range from special event volunteer opportunities that are one-time or short-term to longer-term ongoing opportunities,” said Saviak. “Examples could include, the Counsel on Aging’s Meals on Wheels program specifically for Ponte Vedra, which is an ongoing opportunity.”
Saviak noted that there are plenty of opportunities in St. Johns County, and almost every other nonprofit in the area hosts fundraisers and public outreach events for potential volunteers.
Interested volunteers can get connected online through the nonprofit’s online profile service, which will generate personalized opportunities in the area.
“We laughingly will share that it works in a similar nature to eharmony or match.com, in that it asks you to create an online volunteer profile,” Saviak said. “When you do that, it provides a recommended set of matches based on the skills and interests that you entered.”
Individuals who register a profile can see a list of “recommended matches” that align with their interests before applying for various roles. To be included in the St. Johns Volunteers database, Saviak noted that organizations must be partnered with the nonprofit and be registered as a 501 (c) (3).
Saviak said volunteering can benefit working professionals by allowing them to network, and the nonprofit can help students looking to bolster their resumes.
“Students have an opportunity to demonstrate their interest in being good citizens,” she said. “They can build up the credits they need of community service hours for qualifying scholarships, such as Florida Bright Futures scholarship.”
Additionally, the executive director said St. Johns Volunteers can offer students hands-on work experience in a variety of fields.
For more information on St. Johns Volunteers, visit www.StJohnsVolunteers.org or visit the Resource & Training Center at 1 News Place, Suite A in St. Augustine.