Whether you are a newly minted retiree, eager to stay active and get out of the house occasionally, or a newly downsized professional, eager to explore an “encore” career, several organizations are offering opportunities for you to dip your toe into the water.

On Thursday, January 30, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Pennington United Methodist Church, CONTACT of Mercer County and its Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) will host a recruiting day for volunteers to serve at area community agencies. The event marks the celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday which has become a national day of service.

Prospective volunteers of all ages from throughout the county are invited to meet with representatives of local agencies to consider volunteer service at their centers. The price of admission: A non-perishable food item or a cash donation at the pleasure of the prospective Volunteer or agency representative destined for Habitat for Humanity’s Food Bank.

During the day, potential volunteers will have the opportunity to visit agency representatives at display tables discussing volunteer options at their organizations. This event is a gateway to long-term service rather than limited to a single day of service. This annual event, previously held on the day of the King Birthday observance, was moved to the end of January to reduce conflicts or overlaps with the many other typical and worthwhile events of the day. The Pennington Methodist Church, at 60 South Main Street, Pennington, is the home of CONTACT’s administrative operations.

Now in its fifth year, the program gives people “a chance to consider a number of options and can sign up for ongoing service rather than just one day. And, you get to fight hunger in your community!” says Hugh Adams, director of the Retired & Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). “It will be a relaxed atmosphere and we will try to give visitors even more information on volunteering so they can make the best choice and the best match for themselves and the agency.”

The sponsors are also seeking support from local businesses in the form of helping to underwrite refreshments and other costs for the event. There are even volunteer opportunities on the event day itself.

For more information reach CONTACT at 609-883-2880 or by E-mail at rsvpmc.contact@verizon.net or contactofmercercounty@verizon.net. The website is: www.contactofmercer.org

Meanwhile, the Princeton Senior Resource Center has extended the deadline for applications for its Next Step Internships to Friday, February 7. The intern program is designed to help people 50 and older navigate a mid-life career change into an encore career in a nonprofit organization.

Two internships are currently offered in event management and in program management and marketing. Job descriptions for the positions and application form are posted at www.engagedretirement.org.

According to the Senior Resource Center, “the program exposes the intern to nonprofit operations and helps him or her develop skills for successful re-employment in a non-profit organization. Through the program, interns develop specific skills related to their project or work assignment and also general experience in the nonprofit sector. Also, they will expand their resumes and list of references, and add to their job search networks.”

Stipends for interns range from $750 to $1,000, depending on the length of the internship. A typical internship involves 90 to 120 hours of hands-on learning experiences, plus training and supervision. Training includes time with the supervisor and executive director, orientation to nonprofit organizations and to PSRC, attendance at staff meetings, and training sessions on critical aspects of non-profit management.

More information, including application form and descriptions of the available internships, is posted on the Next Step website, www.engagedretirement.org

People of any age with a skill or passion they would like to share with teenagers may be able to contribute to the educational offerings at the Princeton Learning Cooperative, an innovative approach to learning that helps teens live and learn without school by creating a personalized education based on their interests, goals, and abilities.

In a press release the organization said it “is looking for volunteers to work with our teen members in a number of ways. Would you like to offer a one-time workshop? Would you like to tutor or perhaps even lead a class or activity? We have had adult mentors work with our students in a variety of academic and non-academic pursuits. If you have something you would like to share with young people, please be in touch.”

Among the current highest priority needs: languages (Spanish, Mandarin, Swedish, Russian), world history, environmentalism, philosophy, animals (behavior, anatomy, etc.), makers, drawing, music, law, GED and SAT prep, photography, meteorology, computer programming (C++, Java, others), writing, edible plants, manga artist, and math tutoring.

The Princeton Learning Cooperative will hold an open house for those interested in knowing more about its approach to learning on Saturday, February 15, at 1 p.m. at 16 All Saints Road, Princeton. Contact PLC at info@princetonlearningcooperative.org or 609-851-2522.

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