United Way of Greater Lafayette
Live United - United Way
Volunteer Center
Current Volunteer Needs


Volunteer Needs Column

October 14, 2011


Tips for Overcoming Challenges in  

Neighboring Programs



Neighboring by its nature tries to effect systemic change to challenges that have, over generations, become engrained in every aspect of your target community. This is inherently difficult to do. All agencies that engage in Neighboring have significant hurdles to overcome, even after several years of successful programming.

The key to sustaining Neighboring through these challenges is to leverage your connections, nurture residents' sense of empowerment, remind them of the strides you have made, and support them through the process. Below is a list of common hurdles and strategies to overcome them.


Be aware of resident time and schedules.

  • Be flexible with project timelines. It's okay if a small project takes more than one day to complete.
  • Organize neighborhood activities and schedule meetings during times that are convenient for most residents.
  • Host partnership meetings in a location central to residents-a nearby community center, church, local volunteer center, resident's home, or school.
  • Provide food and child care. It will make it easier for residents with children to attend.

Help to build residents' pride in their neighborhoods

  • Recognize resident volunteers for their hard work and participation; make recognition meaningful.
  • Help residents identify their individual unique skills and talents through assessment tools such as Alliance for Children and Families 1999 Individual Capacities Inventory and Building Communities from the Inside Out: A Path Toward Finding and Mobilizing a Community's Assets.
  • Show the relationship between residents' skills and project outcomes.
  • Encourage residents to plan and lead projects.
  • Provide community resiliency or similar training to increase residents' self-worth and confidence.

Understand differences in community language and/or culture

  • Learn and understand the community's history, culture, and values.
  • If residents speak a different language, identify someone to work with the community who is bilingual and knowledgeable about the community's culture.
  • Learn and understand the community's vocabulary or vernacular, especially in terms of how they reference service and volunteering.
  • Identify cultural tension and use creative ways to resolve conflict.

Know potential neighborhood safety issues

  • Host meetings in a place where residents feel safe.
  • Help residents develop a plan that includes local law officials.

Avoiding failed promises and unmet community needs

  • Meet with leaders and residents to understand expectations for the partnership.
  • Develop realistic expectations and a realistic timeline to implement new projects and initiatives.
  • Be clear about your organization's role in the partnership.
  • Be honest about what your organization can and cannot do.
  • Allow residents to express their needs and desires.
  • Do what you say you will do; be there when you say you will.
Do you have tips for helping to make sure neighboring projects are successful?
~article provided by HandsOn   


What's New This Week?

Trains, Trains and more Trains!

Linden Depot Museum is gearing up for their Christmas Season. If you like to play with trains athey can use you or a group to keep the trains running, greet or run a cash register. The museum is open December 10th - 21st from 1 -7pm and over 1000 visitors come to learn about the history of trains and shop for that special gift. If you would like to Volunteer email Gary or call 765-427-3630.


Shhh....you're in the library! 

Librarian helpers are needed in several of our Lafayette Schools. If interested in helping by shelving books and checking in/out books for 1 hour a week or more, email Karen Combs or call 771-6036. No experience needed....they will train! Help raise a generation of great readers starting today!  


Did you say Chair Zumba?

Bickford Cottage are looking for volunteers who love helping people exercise. Fitness leaders are needed to help the seniors get and stay mobile! 1/2 hour classes run at 9:30am Monday - Friday. If you would like to run a class or two then email Rachel or call 490-6290.

Who Won the Battle of Tippecanoe?

Volunteer and get to watch for free the reenactment celebration of the Battle of Tippecanoe on November 5th & 6th. Historic Prophetstown are looking for volunteers to run the concession stand for this 200th year celebration. If you would like to be a part of history email or call 765-567-4700.


If interested in learning about more volunteer opportunities, contact Amy at the United Way Volunteer Center or visit:


Week of Caring


Photo Contest Winners


"Most Fun Getting Dirty"  


Evonik at TCCC

 Evonik having fun getting dirty spreading 30 yards of mulch on the playground at Tippecanoe County Child Care East! They received a $100 gift certificate to Great Harvest! They announced that they will be donating their winnings to a charity or their choice.   


You put in a long hard day but the children at Tippecanoe County Child Care now have a fun and SAFE place to play! Thank you for your selfless giving of your time and muscles during the week of caring and for your generous gift to the charity you give the gift too. You have and will touch many lives!




Check back next week to find out who wins the next category! 


Learn more about the United Way

Do you want to find out more about what the United Way of Greater Lafayette is all about? Visit the website


Please forward this Volunteer Column.
You can LIVE UNITED by helping us spread the word. Imagine how many people we could reach if everyone forwards this to five people.


Now accepting applications for United Way's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Last tax season we were able to assist in over $205,500 in returns to low income families. Now we need your help to ensure this program is a success again. VITA is your opportunity to help low income families in our community. We will provide free training and certification to prepare taxes beginning in January 2012. VITA is a WIN WIN WIN program. Our community wins because tax dollars that are saved can be spent locally to boost the economy. The client wins because taxes are prepared accurately and for free saving an average of $200. As a volunteer you win because this is a great opportunity to give back while also learning how to prepare your own return. To volunteer or for more information about VITA contact Jennifer Million at (756) 742-9077 ext. 227, text (765) 237-2344 or visit our website.



Something that has always puzzled me all my life is why, when I am in special need of help, the good deed is usually done by somebody on whom I have no claim.
~William Feather

United Way Follow Us on Twitter
United Way Join Our Facebook Page

*On-Going Volunteer Needs*



Are you good on the Phone? 

Big Brothers Big Sisters are looking for individuals to answer the telephone and welcome agency guests. Days and hours are flexible. If interested, email or call 765-446-2227.



A Stand Down is a community effort to provide much needed relief to our service members, veterans and military families. Lafayette Stand Down will be held Saturday, November 5th and about 50 volunteers are needed. Great group project! For more information or to sign up email Martina.


B-I-N-G-O is the NameO

Bickford Cottage are looking for volunteers who love calling Bingo and visiting with their seniors! They have bingo on Thursdays at 1pm and Saturdays at 2:30pm. If you have an hour to have fun then contact Rachel or call 490-6290.

Feed Minds Not Cavities

Bickford Cottage are asking for gently used books to be donated for their "Books for Treats". Instead of passing out candy this Halloween, they are going to pass out books! If you would like to donate your gently used books, drop off at Bickford: 3633 Regal Valley Drive, Lafayette or call Rachel for details at 490-6290.

Be a Stable Person in a Child's Life

Sunnyside 5th & 6th graders are in need of some lunchtime mentors and after school homework helpers. The children are no longer elementary but not quite middle school and they are in need of some extra support. Lunch times are between 10:39 am - 1:35pm in four different lunch periods. If you would like to be a stable person in a young person's life contact Debbie Gutwein by email or call 771-6100 x 8429.


Christmas for Everyone

Christmas for Everyone is a community ministry of compassion organized by the Tippecanoe Evangelical Association of Ministers and Ministries and the American Red Cross to provide Christmas gifts for children in need in the Greater Lafayette area. Volunteers are in need to help with registration and data entry from 9am - 5pm. Shifts vary depending on availability, but ideally done in 4 hour increments. Bi-lingual in Spanish is a plus! For more information or to sign up contact Jennifer by  email or call 742-6975 x 2215.

Keep America Beautiful
Volunteers are needed to assist with a Free E-Waste Recycling event being held at James Cole Elementary on October 29th from 8am - 2pm in 2 hour shifts. Will need to do some heavy lifting. For more information contact

Winter is around the corner...do you have a coat?
The Salvation Army is having their annual Winter Warm Up on November 5th. Winter coats and clothing will be passed out to community families and individuals. If you would like to donate or volunteer please call 742-0006 or email today.

A Child's voice. A child's life. Lifted up. By you. 

Learn how you can be a voice for an abused or neglected child. How you can make a difference. Tippecanoe County CASA is currently recruiting for a training series that will begin on October 25th. Call 765-423-9104 or email today to find out how YOU can make a difference in the life of a child in Tippecanoe County. Act now - a child is waiting for your voice.


Are you Hungry?

Sign up to volunteer to help feed the hungry in our community! St. John's/LUM Food Pantry are looking for people to help pass out food on any of the days, Monday, Tuesday, Thursday & Friday mornings from 8:30am - 12pm. Typically once a month. For more information email Jane or call 463-6158.


Are you Cool for Cool School? 

Tippecanoe County Child Care's after school program "Cool School" is looking for volunteers to help children with homework Monday - Thursday from 3:00 - 4:00pm at Miller and Earhart elementary schools. This can be ongoing or once, part or full week and/or all of the hour and a half. If interested in becoming a Cool School helper, email Jennifer or call 765-742-4033 x 119.


Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 

Tippecanoe Villa are looking for a group of 4 volunteers on November 22nd and 23rd from 8 or 9am - 12 or 1pm to set up Christmas trees with the lights only. They need to be set up and ready to decorate before Thanksgiving. If interested, email Judi.