Free Things to Do: Volunteer 

click to enlarge JEREMIAH TEUTSCH
  • Jeremiah Teutsch

While sometimes philanthropy can seem out of grasp for many of the 99 percent, volunteering is typically free. Here, Current staffers share some of their favorite causes, none of which require any kind of financial fee to give back.

San Antonio Pets Alive!
If making SA a no-kill-ville is your jam, volunteering at San Antonio Pets Alive! might be the way to go. Fill out and submit an online application, attend one of the frequent orientation sessions at Animal Care Services (4710 Hwy 151, (210) 370-7612), sign a release and waiver of liability form and you’ll be amidst the puppies and kittens in no time. Join the behavior team and work with trainers on rehabilitating dogs with attitude. The PR/marketing/graphic design/photography team recruits volunteers to help with presentations at adoption events and distributing SAPA materials at local business. Puppies need lifts, too–the transport team helps deliver animals to other cities or within the city between ACS and SAPA’s Marbach location. But if you need all the oxytocin you can get from puppy playtime, sign up for Love-on-a-Leash, two-hours worth of dog walking and playing. Sanantoniopetsalive.org. —Jessica Elizarraras

Usher at the Majestic/Empire Theatres
The Empire and Majestic theaters have been Downtown staples since their construction in 1913 and 1921, relics of historic SA that have seen a gilded age of entertainment, then flood and decay and later still a renovated return to the limelight. Through the usher program, volunteers can experience these gorgeous theaters, learn the house rules and add a personal element to the showtime atmosphere, plus, you know, get a free peek at the shows themselves. Orientation sessions, available to interested theatergoers 18 and up, take place on Sunday, August 17 at 4 p.m. and Thursday, August 28 at 6:30pm. Contact volunteers@majesticempire.com for more information. Majestic Theatre and Charline McCombs Empire Theatre Volunteer Usher Program, 308 E Houston, (210) 226-2121, majesticempire.com/info/volunteers. —Matt Stieb

Girl Zone
Help empower young girls this summer and beyond with the Martinez Street Women’s Center “Girl Zone” Program. The year-round afterschool program and summer camp geared toward young women ages 9 to 14 teaches leadership skills, arts and culture, environmental issues, self-esteem, physical activity, and science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects, and more through a social justice framework. Orientation and criminal background check required. Camp runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, June 9 to August 7; after school programs starts on September 1 with elementary school from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and middle school from 4 to 6 p.m. For more information, contact Andrea Figueroa at afigueroa@mswomenscenter.org. Martinez Street Women’s Center, 1510 S Hackberry, (210) 534-6638, mswomenscenter.org. —Mary Tuma

San Antonio Parks and Recreation
Channel your inner Leslie Knope and volunteer with the City of San Antonio’s Parks and Rec department. There’s myriad ways you can contribute, whether via rotating gardening, landscaping and clean-up efforts posted on the helpful online volunteer calendar, helping park police through Park Watch or the similar, newly launched Trail Watch program, in which you commit four hours a month to spreading the word about trail safety and etiquette along the ever-expanding greenway system. The next Trail Watch orientation will be held on June 7 and attendees must RSVP by calling (210) 207-6803 or emailing Meredith.Tilley@sanantonio.gov. If you’re more group-minded, you and your organization can consider the Adopt-a-Park program or a smaller commitment to a group park clean-up project. For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact volunteer coordinator Gabriela Tello at (210) 207-2899 or gabriela.tello@sanantonio.gov. Sanantonio.gov/parksandrec/volunteer.aspx. —Callie Enlow

San Antonio AIDS Foundation
Founded in 1986 by a benevolent bar owner nicknamed Papa Bear, the San Antonio AIDS Foundation has evolved from a modest hospice to a multi-service agency reaching thousands each year through compassionate medical care, prevention education, counseling and HIV testing. In addition to onsite volunteering opportunities (which require orientation and run the gamut from office work and gardening to assisting with field trips and holiday parties for residents), SAAF takes on intermittent special events volunteers to help with offsite fundraisers such as Walk for Life and WEBB Party. Interested applicants can meet with a volunteer coordinator from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays or email volunteer@txsaaf.org. 818 E Grayson, (210) 225-4715, sanantonioaids.org. —Bryan Rindfuss

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