As more businesses reopen, a local nonprofit is looking for additional volunteers to join its staff.
Kids Central Inc., a local nonprofit organization that serves five counties, including Lake, Sumter and Marion, works to create brighter futures for children and families while also promoting the welfare of expectant mothers, babies, children, families and young adults through prevention services, in-home care, foster care and adoption.
With more families seeking additional help because of the pandemic, the nonprofit hopes to add volunteers in a variety of areas. Needed skills include organization, inventory, clerical, education, tutoring and computing. With centers in Wildwood, Ocala and Leesburg, the organization serves over 500 families monthly.
“Volunteers are a vital component of service at our Family Resource Centers,” said Jessica Cole, neighborhood projects supervisor for Kids Central. “We provide resources to strengthen families and build strong neighborhoods, while our centers were created to engage families in services promoting family well-being, safety and health.”
For Barb and Jerry Byers, volunteering at Kids Central has been a way to give back. The Village of Gilchrist residents have volunteered for about six years, and they enjoy the work they do.
“Sometimes we have families come in that are about to have a baby,” said Barb. “Babies are a precious gift and we want to make sure the parents are prepared if it is their first child, so we put them in a program that teaches them about SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.”
Barb explained when they are not helping new families, they are helping clients learn about foster care, how to get a job so they can one day bring a child into the home, or spending time getting to know their clients so they can better assist them.
“You never know what they are going through until they come to trust you,” Jerry said. “Many may have children in foster care, while others may be inquiring about how to become one, so even if they aren’t in the position now, they can better themselves so they can foster later.”
The couple loves to work with their clients and educate them on the variety of services the organization offers.
“You feel wonderful when you are able to help a family, even if takes years to reach them,” Barb added.
Without the work of the volunteers, the nonprofit wouldn’t be able to help as many families as they do, she said.
“This very important work could not be done without the assistance of our amazing and committed volunteers,” said Cole. “We are so thankful for each and every one of them and look forward to adding more to our team.”
To learn more about the nonprofit or to apply for volunteer opportunities, visit its website at kidscentralinc.org.
Staff writer Andrea Davis can be reached at 352-753-1119, ext. 5374, or email@example.com.