New Year offers new opportunities to volunteer

New Year offers new opportunities to volunteer

OCEANSIDE — Those looking to volunteer can put their skills to good use by volunteering for the city of Oceanside.

The city accepts volunteer applications year-round to work in the Library Literacy Program, Parks and Recreation Department, Police Department and seven other city departments.

Volunteer Polly Alonso helps keep things running at the Oceanside Police Department. Photo by Promise Yee

In most departments there aren’t many skills or requirements necessary to volunteer.

“There are no specific age or time requirements,” Armando Fernandez, senior human resource analyst, said. “It’s up to volunteer needs and schedules and the needs of the department.”

Volunteers support city staff with clerical work, recreational sports league coaching and community patrols.

“Most volunteers do office work, filling, phones,” Fernandez said. “It helps the city to have volunteers doing basic duties and volunteers get an understanding of how city government works. It’s a plus-plus for both parties.”

The payoff for volunteers is service hour credits, on the job experience and workplace camaraderie.

“It’s a great group of people,” said Polly Alonso, six-year volunteer for the Senior Volunteer Police program. “I wouldn’t want anybody else to work with.”

Some volunteer positions do have a minimum age requirement and require specific training, however.

Applicants for the Senior Volunteer Police program must be at least age 55 and attend a two-week training program on traffic control, radio ethics and police protocol. Once training is completed, volunteers are assigned to office support work or the volunteer police patrol.

Volunteer patrol officers have the responsibility to ticket handicap parking violators, support police officers in the field and check on homebound elderly in the You Are Not Alone program.

Senior patrol officers wear badges and uniforms and go out in marked patrol cars for four shifts. Collectively, senior volunteers put in more than 1,000 hours a year.

“The resources and motivation these folks bring to us is immeasurable,” Sgt. Steve Regalado said. “You can’t buy that.”

“I think we do good,” Harry Titus, 94 and a 10-year volunteer for the Senior Volunteer Police program, said.

Currently, the police department is recruiting volunteers for its Senior Volunteer Police program. The training academy begins in March. For more information on the Senior Volunteer Police program, contact Sgt. Steve Regalado at (760) 435-4871.

For more information on volunteering for the city of Oceanside, visit ci.oceanside.ca.us.

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