In the Community

Service Opportunities for Students

Check back regularly for updated information on community service opportunities for DC-area students.

A Wider Circle supports low-income families by supplying furniture and other basic items and helping them become economically self-sufficient. Volunteers contribute by stocking and organizing donations and helping clients select furniture. Those over 18 can be part of a truck team that picks up donated items from locations around the region, and Volunteer Leaders can take groups on tours, provide orientations, attend outreach events and assist in administrative tasks. All ages are welcome, but volunteers under 14 must be accompanied by an adult.  Click here for more information.

AmeriCorps NCCC may be a great fit for students considering a gap year after graduation. In this full-time, residential team-based program, national service members ages 18-24 are based on a campus and deployed throughout their region to serve on short-term local projects. During your 10-month term, you might build trails in national and state parks, work with kids at afterschool programs and camps, and run an emergency shelter or gut and rebuild houses after a natural disaster. AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance while they’re serving and an education award for college upon completion. Click here to learn more about how to apply to AmeriCorps NCCC, or here to learn about other AmeriCorps programs.

Anacostia Riverkeeper works to protect and restore the Anacostia and create opportunities for the community to connect to the river.  Volunteer activities include litter pick-ups in Anacostia Park and other sites in the watershed, and supporting the group’s boat tours, kayaking and fishing events.  There is no minimum age to serve, but minors must be accompanied by an adult.  For details email [email protected], or follow Anacostia Riverkeeper on social media to learn about events as dates are announced.

Capitol Hill Village supports seniors in the Capitol Hill neighborhood so they can “age in place” in their own homes.  Through its volunteer program, Capitol Hill Village provides quality services to clients, a rewarding service experience for volunteers, and opportunities for new friendships to develop as volunteers and members share experiences and discover mutual interests.  Volunteers, including high school students, may serve on a regular or periodic basis, depending on their preferences and schedules.  Assignments may include assisting clients in their homes, light home maintenance projects, running errands, help with electronics and technology, gardening projects, planning social or educational events, assisting in the organization’s office and meeting other needs of the members.  Volunteers must complete an application and interview and pass a background check.  To learn more, call (202) 543-1778.

Casey Trees works to restore, enhance and protect the tree canopy of the nation’s capital. Volunteers may participate in plantings, which are held every Saturday in the spring and fall.  They may also help from April to October with inventories to assess the health of trees, or pruning, which takes place in the summer.  There is no minimum age to volunteer, but students must register in advance, and those under 18 must be accompanied by an adult (with a ratio of one adult per three minors) and must have a signed parental consent form.  For more information contact Chelsea MacCormack, Volunteer Coordinator, at [email protected] or (202) 349-1907.

Children’s National Health System volunteers, who are 15 and older, support patients and their families by playing with children in waiting areas, delivering flowers and gifts, helping people find their way around the hospital, providing information and assistance at the Welcome Desks, and conducting administrative tasks. In the Dr. Bear’s Ambassador Program, volunteers make a six-month commitment for 50 hours of service. The fall application opens on August 1, and the winter/spring application will open on December 1. In the Summer High School Volunteer Program, students ages 15 to 18 who will be returning to high school in the fall can serve during the eight-week program.  A commitment of at least 75 hours is required and the application for Summer 2020 opens February 1. Students who have availability during the day can also apply any time of year to serve in the Greeter Program. Click here for more information on these opportunities and requirements.

DC Diaper Bank provides diapers and other baby items to needy families. Volunteers work primarily at the organization’s warehouse in Silver Spring to sort and pack diapers and other materials for distribution. All ages are welcome; volunteers under 18 must be accompanied by an adult, with each adult assigned no more than four students.  To learn more, click here.

DC Library System allows students 14 and older to contribute up to 5 hours per week as a Teen Library Helper at branch libraries around the city. To apply, print and complete the application and return it to the staff at your local library or email it to [email protected].  An interview may be required to match you to a project that suits your skills and interests. For more information, call the volunteer program at 202-741-5990.

DC Scores creates neighborhood soccer teams that give kids in need the confidence and skills to succeed on the playing field, in the classroom, and in life.  Volunteers 15 and older with basic soccer knowledge can take a one-time training to serve as referees and can also help with special events. Click here to learn more.

DC Volunteer Snow Team allows volunteers to choose from a list of neighbors who have requested assistance and are then deployed to clear pathways and sidewalks when there are 4 or more of inches snow.  The program can even provide a shovel! Students under 18 must have a waiver signed by a parent.  Click here to register.

Jan’s Tutoring House provides educational and enrichment activities for inner-city Washington, DC school-age children and youth through one-on-one mentoring and tutoring.  Volunteers 14 and older may tutor elementary school children who participate in the program.  A weekly commitment for one year is requested. For more information, click here or call 202-547-1345.

KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) provides free, fun, non-competitive exercise and fitness programs for disabled youth. Volunteer coaches ages 15 and older work one-on-one with participants, helping them to enjoy different sports activities. There are opportunities for occasional participation, regular involvement, and leadership roles. For more information, click here.

Little Lights is a faith-based organization on Capitol Hill that serves local at-risk youth and families.  Volunteers 16 and over can assist students from preschool to 8th grade in the group’s Homework Club or tutor in the Reading Heroes and Math Heroes programs.  For more information, click here or contact the volunteer coordinator at [email protected] or (202) 548-4021.

Martha’s Table provides access to quality education, healthy food, and family support. Volunteers 12 and older can help families shop at the organization’s no-cost pop-up food markets and thrift store, prepare and serve meals with the organization’s food truck, and assist teachers and students in education programs.  Students ages 12-14 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, click here or email [email protected].

People Animals Love (PAL) operates a Pet Visit Program, which brings dogs to provide comfort and companionship to individuals in nursing homes, hospice, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, schools and libraries. Dogs and their owners must complete a certification process that includes fees, training, and evaluation visits.  Once certified, volunteers can schedule visits with their dogs at locations around the DC region.  To learn more, click here or call (202) 966-2171.

Reading Partners provides tutoring and mentoring to elementary school children in cities around the country.  Volunteers age 14 and over work one-on-one with students who are reading below grade level.  A background check is required and a commitment of at least one hour a week is requested. Click here to learn more about volunteering in Washington, DC and here to serve in other locations.

Serve Your City creates essential learning opportunities for at-risk DC students through academic support, community engagement, and athletics.  Volunteers 15 and older can provide tutoring and homework help to middle school students, and participate in service projects and other special events.  Volunteers with expertise in swimming and rowing can also serve as assistant coaches. Click here to learn more.

The Mission Continues provides opportunities for veterans adjusting to life at home to find purpose through community impact. Volunteers can join a service “platoon” and serve alongside veterans on projects to support youth engagement, revitalize neighborhoods, improve the national parks in our backyard, expand access to healthy food, and more.  The minimum age to volunteer in DC is 8, and volunteers 15 and under must be accompanied by an adult.  (Check with your chapter for local policies.) Click here for more information about opportunities in the DC area, and here for other locations.