Many hands make for light work

By Nancy Black

It was like being the first person in line at Fletcher’s Corny Dogs on the opening day of the State Fair of Texas! The grease was fresh, the smell of funnel cakes was in the air and the party was just beginning. Lake a Palooza, at the Bath House Cultural Center, was a huge success this past weekend. Music flowed from two stages — inside and out — while visitors enjoyed the latest art gallery exhibit and delicious food from local businesses. The most amazing sight of the day for me, though, was watching all the volunteers take such great pride in their work. 

Assigned blue T-shirts so they could be easily identified, each volunteer scurried around doing their assigned task. Some greeted visitors as they arrived, others took turns manning the children’s activities tables or emptying trash cans. But all were happily donating their time to help make sure the event went off without a hitch.

Volunteers are a crucial part of our society. They provide needed services that otherwise would not be available. From hospitals to animal rescue groups to events like Lake a Palooza, volunteers lend a hand wherever needed.

A great way to start volunteering somewhere is to first figure out what you enjoy doing. Are you into plants? Volunteer at the Dallas Arboretum. Like animals? There are hundreds of animal rescue groups in and around our area, and the Dallas Zoo loves volunteers, too! Love the arts and theater? The Friends of the Bath House Cultural Center can help fill your cultural needs.

I remember when I first moved to Hollywood, I volunteered at the Los Angeles Theater Center as an usher. I got to see all the plays for free and meet some amazing unknown actors (at the time) like Bill Pullman and Stephen Tobolowsky. A friend of mine now does the same type of volunteering as an usher at the Winspear Opera House here in Dallas. She gets to see all those shows for free, too!

Trust me, whatever it is you like to do, there is an organization out there anxiously awaiting your call to help. is a nonprofit website devoted to matching volunteers with worthy local organizations and causes that need some helping hands. 

Site visitors can sort volunteer opportunities by city, keywords or even by a specific cause. The search results bring up numerous organizations and groups in need of volunteers, the number of volunteers needed for any given event and contact information to sign up.’s goal is to match more than 100 million volunteers by the year 2025.

Will you be one of them?