Volunteering in your local community can provide excellent opportunities to work on a cause you’re passionate about and build great extracurricular experiences.
Here are some great opportunities you can explore today!
There are always numerous opportunities to volunteer at your local foodbank. Through volunteer work, you’ll receive opportunities to aid homeless and low income communities by sorting, packaging, and delivering necessary food supplies to communities experiencing food insecurity.
A few ways to get involved:
- Google (your zip code/city) + (Foodbank) and see what organizations are in your area! Take a look at their website and contact the organization directly for volunteer opportunities
- Explore volunteer opportunities through you campus’ clubs and service center. They are likely numerous opportunities to work at a foodbank through your school.
- Check out “Feeding America”, America’s largest hunger-relief organization with a mission to combat food insecurity across the nation. Feeding America provides many opportunities for students to get involved with their mission. Check out their “take action” page here.
Volunteer At A Local Hospital
Hospitals feature fantastic volunteer programs for students who are eager and committed to serving their local community. A volunteer experience with a hospital can provide real world experience working in healthcare through interactions with patients, assistance in hospital rooms, and set schedules/shifts for volunteer work.
Check out your local hospital website for volunteer opportunities near you. Simply Google (hospital volunteer programs) + (your zip code/city) to find a list a programs near you.
For aspiring healthcare professionals, there are more robust volunteer opportunities which provide students opportunities to work directly with patients, work alongside nurses, and observe hospital procedures. These programs are structured like a “hospital internship” where volunteers have opportunities to gain hundreds of hours of real world field experience through rotations in various departments of their hospital.
In Los Angeles, COPE Health Scholars in partnership with UCLA facilitates the “Health Scholars Program”, which provides students opportunity to “gain firsthand experience in both clinical and administrative health care settings and become an integral part of the care delivery team”.
You will assist with basic care for patients alongside nurses, physicians and other members of the care delivery team, and have opportunities to learn the “business” of healthcare, preparing you for your health care career – COPE Health
While the example given is specific to students in the Los Angeles area, contact local hospitals and medical schools to understand if there are any opportunities in your area.
Animal shelters are always in need of onsite career and assistance in their adoption centers. Volunteers at animal shelters have opportunities to play with, walk, and socialize with the animals under the care of shelters and assist in the administrative and clerical work in getting animals adopted.
Contact local animal shelters near you to see what opportunities exist.
The largest non-profit organizations in the United States are only able to deliver their aid to communities in need through the work of a robust network of volunteers.
Volunteers carry out 90% of the humanitarian work of the Red Cross – American Red Cross
Some of the most famous non profits such as the American Red Cross, UNICEF, and The Gates Foundation support terrific programs for students to explore.
Volunteer Tax Planning
The IRS offers the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs which enable volunteers to provide income tax assistance for low income communities. As a volunteer tax planner, you’ll work with a sponsoring organization, receive training, and volunteer in your local community to provide tax assistance to low income communities. For any student with an interest in business and accounting, the VITA and TCE programs are a terrific way to gain real world business experience and make a difference in your community at the same time!
Check out the program on the IRS’s website here.
While a job with Americorps isn’t for most students given the substantial time commitment of the program, it’s certainly worth a mention. Americorps is a national service organization that provides service opportunities for anyone who is willing to join. From mentorship opportunities with local students to “boots on the ground” disaster recovery efforts, Americorps partners with organizations across America to provide assistance where it’s needed the most.
A “volunteer” opportunity with America is more of a full time job, rather than part time volunteer work. However, the perks of an experience with Americorps are substantial:
- Student Loan Deferment
- Real world skills and training
- Living allowance/stipend
- Health benefits
- Educational award to help pay for college
- Scholarship opportunities
- Career opportunities for full time employment post graduation
For students willing to take a year off from school, learn new skills, build a great resume, and help fund their college career, you can check out Americorps here.
Opportunities To Volunteer Are Endless
Beyond the list above, the opportunities to volunteer are endless. You can always explore and connect with other organization that align with your interests who are always looking for volunteers to strengthen their cause. You can check out volunteer resource portals to explore other volunteer opportunities in your area.