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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Davis Volunteer Network launches a new site

For those looking to volunteer in or around town, a single website has the information needed to get started.

The Davis Volunteer Network site debuted eight months ago to publicize volunteer opportunities and charitable events within the Davis community and the UC Davis campus.

UCD graduate Daniel Donnelly began Davisvolunteernetwork.org in early July 2011, but he created a new site, volunteer-net.org, to allow for more flexibility and engagement with both users and organizations.

Donnelly, who is originally from Santa Cruz, received a bachelor’s degree in international relations in 2011. He works part-time in town, along with developing his website. He previously had an internship at a nonprofit in Valencia, Spain until April 2011. He came up with the idea for the site in Fall 2010.

“I tried to start a nonprofit with another firm, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “I had the idea because I wanted to represent nonprofits and wanted to start nonprofit. It’s the best way to contribute to communities and provide more support for nonprofits that exist. The site gives publicity to nonprofits for donations.”

After soliciting organizations through e-mail and tabling at the Davis Farmers Market, the network’s website now has a calendar that lists a regular schedule of ongoing and one-time service opportunities.

This year, Donnelly began regularly volunteering with the campus group Health and Education Leading to Prevention (H.E.L.P.), which hosts shelters and soup kitchens.

Donnelly said there are two levels to the benefits of volunteering. For the community, he said it provides additional help for the organizations and provides a service like feeding the homeless. On an individual level, you can meet really awesome people and serve the community, he said.

On the old site all the content was made by Donnelly and was almost exclusively about volunteer opportunities in Davis. Conversely, the new site has content from organizations and these organizations can create new pages for cities beyond Davis.

Deena Freel, a senior design major, went to high school with Donnelly and helped him work on the layout of the new site.

“I know a lot of people who want to volunteer but don’t know where to get involved,” Freel said. “The Volunteer Network tells you where to go and who to talk to. People who wouldn’t otherwise be involved will have more opportunities.”

Alex Rossbach, a senior political science major with a minor in history, has known Daniel for four years; they used to swim together at UC Davis. Rossbach helped with the graphic design and building of the new site.

Rossbach said the site is good because it is a nonprofit and centralizes information about volunteering in one place.

As a recent graduate, Donnelly has had a hard time finding full-time jobs. He said he will look into getting a master’s degree only if it can complement his work at the Volunteer Network.

He offers the following advice to other recent graduates: “Take a risk, follow your heart, and do some good.”

To become a sponsor of the Davis Volunteer Network, e-mail daniel@davisvolunteernetwork.org. For individual donations, pay by check or PayPal.

ANGELA SWARTZ can be reached at city@theaggie.org.

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