Study. Party. Save the world

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Cold, damp February nights got you down? Try banishing the mid-winter blues by donating your time to a good cause. Grace Benac reports on opportunities for every interest

For fashion fanatics:

The Fashion Design Council of Canada is currently looking for helping hands for the upcoming Fashion Week, from Mar. 28 to Apr. 2. Positions up for grabs include décor and event set-up assistants. This is perfect for anyone who is enthusiastic about fashion show production and works well under pressure.

For animal lovers:

Volunteers at the Toronto Humane Society play an active role in animal residents’ lives, from grooing and feeding to assisting with adotions. Administrative and customer service jobs are also available.

For country folk:

Tucked away in Toronto’s east end, Riverdale Farm boasts a sizable collection of animals, from rabbits to goats and cows. The farm is looking for volunteers to help with various events happening throughout the year, including harvest festivals and Halloween parties.

For LGBT activists:

Consider giving your time to the Lesbian Gay Bi Trans Youthline. Volunteers have the chance to either provide peer support to callers, or help with fundraising and event coordination. Volunteers must finish 40 hours of training in anti-oppression, self-care, safer sex and other topics in order to prepare for the job.

For gym buffs:

Why not turn your GTL lifestyle into a job? The YMCA of Greater Toronto accepts applications for volunteers year-round to run individual conditioning, group fitness and instructional programs. If customer service is a better fit for you, the YMCA also has positions in membership services and front desk operations.

For future teachers:

The Toronto Public Library’s Homework Help for Teens program caters to high school students in need of assistance with their assignments. The library is looking for tutors who can relate well to teens, and science and math whizzes are in particular demand. If you don’t have the makings of a great teacher when you start, the program offers training to help volunteers brush up on their teaching methods. Among the pros of working at the library: all overdue fees are written off after 6 months of service.

For foodies:

For some people, finding the next big poutine place isn’t as important as just finding a warm meal. The Daily Bread food bank, which has locations across the GTA, is always looking for volunteers, whether they’re looking to give their time occasionally or give a long-term commitment. Volunteers do everything from sorting and repackaging food to administrative work. If you’re too shy to go on your own, Daily Bread also allows people to volunteer in groups of up to 30, as long as they arrange their volunteer times in advance.

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