Hello there quentin !
I myself am a newly blessed virgin MCSA 2000. I started out four years ago in my little room with a real old home made box. I decided to start doing some reading and crap, when I discoverd I liked working with computers, so four or five years later I've been blessed with this CERT, or should I say cursed LOL. Anyways I too was very worried about getting a job with in the IT world. Well I couldn't get no job because I didn't have the experience with in the Networking real world, so here's what I did because I have a strong background in computer repair, I said heck with it I'll start my own home based business repairing computer's and their peripherals, printers faxs machine and so on so forth. You say you are living in a small town well then you must be the only real compation there when it comes to computer repairs.
I'm shutting down my doors to my business and moving on to Calgary Alberta where there are ten's of thousands of MCSA's, but you have to look at it this way they're not you, and if don't just grab the meal deal by the tail now you'll never get started, so just put your hands up in the air and say "I"m ME and I can make it in this IT world." I'm 42 and this is my second career, my first one was in the welding industry as a pipe pressure welder, and that took me about 4 years of apprentiship to get my journeyman Papers for that career, but it was a long haul because I got the same darn thing when I started out "You don't have any experience" Well let me tell yah 15 years later I was making top buck at $37.50 an hour which isn't too shabby.
I'm thinking I'll be doing it all over again only this time it will be with in the IT world. You have to pay your dues and I don't mean by just doing the schooling, hands on the job. Now you asked about who would you volunteer for? Well here's what I learned at school and on the net, you can check out your local health centers or even your local cable company and so on and so forth anything to do with charity. The all use networks today :-) I hope this has shind some light on it for you. Oh and by the way you can never have enough paper certs. ;-)