Volunteering in the community often leads to a better community for everyone. Helping those in need is a small step almost everyone can make in that effort. The Volunteer Center at San Juan College can connect potential volunteers with local nonprofit agencies around the area, like San Juan Catholic Charities and E3 Children's Museum and Science Center.

San Juan Catholic Charities is a nonprofit organization in Farmington committed to advancing the reign of God in a spiritual and holistic way by providing unconditional human caring, assistance and services modeled on Gospel values to everyone, especially the poor and needy, through the capabilities of its staff and volunteers. The agency provides food pantry services, immigration services, a teen-parent program, financial assistance, a drop-in center, English as a second language classes and a transitional housing program.

The agency needs volunteers 16 and older — those who are bilingual in English and Spanish is very helpful — to assist with clerical duties, food pantry stocking, sorting, data entry, answering phones and helping direct walk-ins. Assistance is also needed for the startup of the transitional housing program and for citizenship class tutoring.

A background clearance is required for all volunteers working with children. A minimum number of volunteer hours is asked, and training is offered by the agency.

The mission of E3 Children's Museum and Science Center, a nonprofit organization in Farmington, is to spark imaginations of children and adults through hands-on learning and quality programming. The museum provides schools and other agencies with field trip opportunities on weekdays and activities for the public during the week and on most Saturdays. Tot's Turf area is available for children ages 5 and younger to explore and develop their movement, fine motor and cognitive skills. Exhibit galleries encourage intuitive experiences in art, science, nature, history, math and culture. Outreach programs and summer art and science camps are also available for children ages 6 and up.

E3 is seeking students and adults to become docents. Docents will be encouraged to create art and science projects so young children can explore the world around them through imagination and intuitive experiences. Docents also participate in many special events organized by the museum, including the Freedom Days Ice Cream Social, Real Night at the Museum, the annual Renaissance Fair and others. Volunteer opportunities are also available for groups, families and youth. Technical volunteers are also needed for graphic design services.

Volunteers must be 16 years old or older. Fifteen-year-old volunteers may participate but require a parent/guardian to serve with the child. A background clearance is required for all volunteers. Training is also required but provided by the agency. A minimum of three hours per week is asked of all volunteers.

The Volunteer Center at San Juan College maintains a directory of more than 100 community organizations and agencies needing volunteer services. For more information on the volunteer opportunities listed above or other agencies in need of assistance, call the Volunteer Center at 505-566-3293 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays.