The City of Bellingham depends on hundreds of volunteers to help with everything from serving on boards and commissions to volunteering with our Library, Parks and Police departments. Bellingham residents are encouraged to participate in National Volunteer Week, April 23-29, through the many opportunities provided in our community, including with the City.
Established in 1974 by President Richard Nixon, National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for Americans to dedicate their time to the betterment of their community as well as the communities of others. Community service and volunteering have many tangible and intangible benefits. Not only do volunteers feel a sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment when dedicating their time to others, mental and physical health benefits are also associated with sustained service.
Because volunteerism is so important to our community, Mayor Kelli Linville has proclaimed April as Bellingham Volunteer Month and is encouraging residents to get involved in local organizations, including City government.
“The City depends on volunteers to meet the needs of our community and help us in all aspects of our work,” Mayor Kelli Linville said. “I want to encourage residents to enjoy the positive impact of volunteerism in our city. We are very thankful for those who serve and find ways to give back to our community.”
The following are a few of the volunteer opportunities with the City of Bellingham:
Bellingham Public Library
By volunteering at the Bellingham Public Library, residents are able to use existing skills and gain new ones, make the library easier to use and a more pleasant place to visit, become better acquainted with library collections and services, attend interesting programs and events, develop local community contacts and meet new people. Current volunteer opportunities include tech helper and serving with the Friends of the Bellingham Public Library. For more information about volunteering at the Bellingham Public Library, visit www.bellinghampubliclibrary.org/Volunteer.
Improving parks, trails and stream corridors
The Bellingham Parks Volunteer Program is a way for community members to contribute to a healthy environment in our parks and on our trails. Healthy environments are inextricably tied to our quality of life here in Bellingham. In the last year and a half, more than 500 volunteers, including Americorps members, have planted over 1,200 plants to help restore Squalicum Creek alone. Americorps volunteers are a vital part of restoring and maintaining the City of Bellingham's various environmental spaces.
Work party opportunities happen throughout the year and volunteers are encouraged to get outside with Bellingham Parks and Public Works project staff to enjoy the benefits of nature while continuing to improve Bellingham's stream corridors, parks and trails. The next work party will take place Saturday May 6 from 10 a.m. to noon at 19th Street Trail. Also on May 6 is a work party from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. for the West Street Trail.
For a full list of upcoming work parties and directions, visit www.cob.org/gov/public/volunteer/parks.
Bellingham Neighbors Together police volunteers
Bellingham Neighbors Together (BNT), a voluntary citizen organization in partnership with Bellingham Police Department, is committed to a visible public presence to reduce crime, educate residents and promote safe neighborhoods. Interested volunteers must first care about their neighborhood and want to be involved in the well-being of the community. The application and instructions for applying can be found by visiting www.cob.org/BNT. Volunteers must be at least 21 years of age, a resident of the City of Bellingham and have a valid driver's license.
The training period is one night a week for 5-7 weeks, totaling to 30 hours. Volunteers will learn personal safety, CPR, how to recognize and respond to danger, walk safety, report on incidents, and identify specific behavior and activity that endangers the community. Volunteers will receive free training and a free uniform including a hat, jacket and t-shirt. Once training is completed, volunteers are asked to commit four hours per month to BNT.
For more information, contact BNT volunteer coordinator Scott Hendrickson via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Boards and commissions opportunities
Volunteer boards, commissions, committees, and task forces serve our community by advising policy makers and providing essential support to city programs and activities. Current opportunities include:
- Arts Comission – There is one vacancy on the Commission that serves as a dual role with the Historic Preservation Commission. Meets the first Tuesday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in the Mayor's Board Room at City Hall.
- Citizens' Transportation Advisory Group – There is one vacancy on the Commission. Meets the third Tuesday of the month at 3:30 p.m. at the Whatcom Council of Government Offices, 314 E Champion St.
- Civil Service Commission – There is one vacancy on the Commission. Meets the second Wednesday of the Month at 1:30 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.
- Community Development Advisory Board – There are three vacancies on the board for a Low Income Representative, 1st Ward Representative and 2nd Ward Representative. Meets the second Thursday of the month at 6 p.m. in the Mayor's Board Room at City Hall.
- Design Review Board – There is one vacancy on the commission. Meets the third Tuesday of the month at 3 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.
- Historic Preservation Commission – There is one vacancy on the commission that serves as a dual role with the Arts Commission. Meets the second Tuesday of the month at 4 p.m. and the fourth Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. in City Council Chambers at City Hall.
- Lake Whatcom Watershed Advisory Board – There are five vacancies on the board. Meets the third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at Public Works Operations, 2221 Pacific St.
- Public Facilities District – There are three vacancies on the board. Meets the fourth Wednesday of the month every three months at 11 a.m. in the Federal Building, 104 Magnolia St., Suite 307.
- Sister Cities Advisory Board – There are two vacancies on the board. Meets the third Tuesday of the month at 5:30 p.m. in the Mayor's Board Room, City Hall.
- Tourism Commission – There is one vacancy on the commission. The commission meets the fourth Tuesday of each month at 3 p.m. at the Four Points by Sheraton Bellingham Hotel and Conference Center.
For more information regarding any of the above boards, commissions, and committees, please contact the Mayor's office at 778-8100 or email@example.com.