Community Action Volunteers in Education

CAVE DWELLERS <br>Clerical Assistant Holly Ponciano (left) and Executive Director Nan Timmons are right at home in CAVE’s new location in the BMU.

Clerical Assistant Holly Ponciano (left) and Executive Director Nan Timmons are right at home in CAVE’s new location in the BMU.

photo by Tom Angel

Community Action Volunteers in Education
Bell Memorial Union Room 309
Chico, CA 95929-0750
(530) 898-5817

Located at the corner of Second and Cherry streets for the past 17 years, Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) benefited from a lot of “serendipitous” foot traffic, says Executive Director Nan Timmons. Now that the organization has moved to new quarters on the third floor of Chico State’s Bell Memorial Union (BMU), Timmons wants to make sure people know where to find them.

“The BMU truly is the place to be,” she explained. “It has all the services it had before plus a multitude of new ones, so that’s where the students will be. So for us to be there is certainly a great thing. We just have to make sure to be clear where people can find us.”

Timmons has a right to be concerned. With 800 to 1,000 students volunteering each semester, CAVE is the largest student-run organization on the Chico State campus. She encourages students and community members searching for its new location to inquire at the BMU information booth or check out the electronic kiosks located in the BMU galleria.

Aside from the big move, Timmons says it’s otherwise business as usual for CAVE. For 34 years, CAVE, an Associated Students program, has provided students with a variety of volunteer opportunities as well as coordinated the Volunteer Connection database for the community in general.

“We’re trying to keep the changes as minimal as possible,” Timmons explained. “We’re trying to make it really smooth by continuing to operate the same programs as last year. But after the move, we’ll continue to do what we always do, which is look for additional programming opportunities, if they’re appropriate, and look for additional funding to support what we’re doing. And you can never have enough volunteers. We can certainly service as many people as want to volunteer—students and community members.”

CAVE administers programs that provide volunteer services to children, the elderly, special populations, adult non-readers and individuals in state facilities. For senior citizens, for example, CAVE offers visits and social activities with volunteers through its Adopted Grandparent and Friendship Circle programs. Programs for elementary-school children include Classroom Aide, Reading Connections and Project Pals. After-school programs and sports activities are also offered.

A new component of the Volunteer Connection database is SHARP, or Short-term Assistance by Retired Professionals. The brainchild of retired sociology Professor Grace Marvin, the concept is to put the names of retired individuals into a database, organized by specialties, and make the information available to nonprofit organizations. An agency needing short-term help with human resources, marketing or computers, for example, could inquire if there was someone available to meet its needs. So that volunteers don’t get “beleaguered by requests,” Timmons said, CAVE will help make the matches.

One of the services that CAVE will supervise once again is the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program. Through the program, specially trained Chico State students prepare simple tax forms for low-income and elderly clients at no charge. The program was dropped last spring due to a lack of supervision, but Timmons anticipates that it will be back next February and continue through April 15.

Registration is open now for most CAVE programs and continues through Sept. 21. To learn more about the volunteer opportunities at CAVE, call or stop by its new location for additional information.