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Notaries helping others in their communities

helping-elderly-resized.jpgUpdated 12-17-18. Notaries are public servants, and for many of you that goes far beyond merely signing and sealing documents. It means giving back to your communities through volunteer and charity work. 3 Notaries talked to the Notary Bulletin and shared stories about their philanthropic work and how they got started.

A Notary helping with disaster relief

“I’m a volunteer at heart,” said Nell Colbert, a Notary in Winter Park, Florida, and for more than 2 decades she’s shown it volunteering with Central Florida Disaster Services, a group of medical and technical volunteers who offer their services during natural disasters.

Colbert, who is an amateur ham radio operator, works as a communications dispatcher with the organization, coordinating relief efforts in emergencies. Her husband was one of the group’s original founders and she’s been involved since its early years.

“Everybody has a responsibility to help out in the community,” Colbert said. “We need to take time to smell the roses and be involved in the community where we live.”

A Signing Agent who cares for abandoned animals

When looking for the best way to volunteer in your community, Signing Agent Kerri Sands-Schultz of Reno, Nevada, recommends finding a cause you are passionate about that will help others. For her that cause is animals. She started by running a service that helped rescue wild prairie dogs that had been kept as pets and later as a volunteer with the Northern Nevada Humane Society.

“The Humane Society needed someone to provide exercise and companionship for animals they take in,” Sands-Schultz said. Apart from walking dogs, she helps children learn how to properly care for pets and fosters baby animals until they are strong enough to move to a new home. “It makes me feel good just helping animals — the purrs of the cats are most rewarding!” she says.

And volunteering has also helped her network as a Notary. “You meet a lot of people. If someone asks what I do, I tell them and they will often say, ‘By the way, I need something notarized. Can you help me?’” she said.

A Mobile Notary who reaches out to the homeless

Kelly Charpenet, co-founder of Santa Monica Notary & Live Scan in California, uses her commission to directly help others.

“We have a homeless problem in the city of Santa Monica,” Charpenet said. “I would run into homeless people in the alley behind our offices. Many of them are veterans and we found out they needed to get documents notarized.”

Charpenet started offering the services of herself and other Notaries at her office to local charities, notarizing paperwork at no charge for homeless individuals. She says one of the best moments for her was meeting a man she’d notarized for who was able to get off the streets and into a good home with medical care.

“Knowing someone is no longer out in the rain, that’s the best feeling you could possibly get,” she said. “Notaries are part of the community; we are commissioned by the state. We take giving back to our community seriously. Who better to help than the people who need it the most?”

David Thun is the Assistant Managing Editor with the National Notary Association.

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Serving others one notarization at a time

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Add your comment

Roseann Voigt

24 Dec 2018

I also volunteer my services to ALL the military at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas, been doing that since I have been volunteering for the past over 11 years there. If needed I will also go to the Veterans Hospital, in North Las Vegas to offer my services. Our Military give up so much for for our freedom, I feel it's an honor to give back to them.

Jody Bode

24 Dec 2018

In CA we can’t charge veterans for notarizing certain paperwork, especially for benefits... and who would anyway? Best wishes to all!

Phyllis A Denison

24 Dec 2018

I was doing notary services for the residents of the So. AZ, Home for Veterans here in Tucson and was informed that I am not allowed to do that if I charge others. It hurts me to ask them for money.

Cheryl Kaster

24 Dec 2018

Notarizing for the homeless is certainly a worthy effort, as long as it can be done in accordance with the Notary's state law. In Hawaii, however, we have very specific laws about the type of identification that is acceptable and while some of those who are homeless may have current I.D., unfortunately many do not and even that lack of acceptable I.D. prevents us from helping them get documentation so they can request documentation that would assist them in getting valid I.D. for the purpose of notarization.

Maxla Brown

24 Dec 2018

Why now?

Julie Murdock

30 Jul 2019

I want to help

08 Jul 2021

How can I get involved with my community network? Btw i would love to help!

National Notary Association

14 Jul 2021

Hello. This article has some tips on community networking:

Elliot Weaver

09 Sep 2023

If there is anyone in CA who can help me notarize an affidavit in support document for a conditional acceptance I'm trying to send to the tow company who took my car in the wee hours of.the.morning, at the direction of the police, while I was asleep in my tent..(policing for profit? But that's another story altogether..) I am one of those "house less" individuals in need. I received the lein sale paperwork two years after they sold my car, giving me a deadline to respond.d but but law in order to sufficiently give notice to them I need to have my affidavit in support notarized please let me know if.ypu can help

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