Dear PoP – What are Some Good Volunteer Opportunities?

kids 3

“Dear PoP,

Like millions of others in this shitty economy, I’m unemployed and looking for work. There’s only so much cold-calling and resume sending one can do in a day though, and I was wondering if you and your readers could highlight volunteer opportunities in PoPville for those jobseekers among us bored out of our minds during the search?”

We’ve looked at volunteer opportunities in the forum section here. There are some good options out there. But the PoP forum is pretty dead. So if folks know of good places to volunteer please leave them in the comments section here and I can refer folks to this post in the future. And to the original reader who sent in the email – thanks for asking, I admire your decision to do this.

23 Comment

  • I worked with Higher Achievement. It’s after school tutoring for 5-8 graders. It’s a well run organization and they make a difference.

  • The Washington Animal Rescue League and the Washington Humane Society are usually recruiting volunteers.

  • Capitol Letters Writing Center is a relatively new DC-based non-profit organization, working with DC public school students to bring out the writer in them.

    We’re always looking for new volunteers to run writing workshops. The next volunteering info session is September 16th, but you can email volunteer (at), too.

    For more information, check this out: GOOD LUCK! 🙂

  • Greater DC Cares offers all kinds of volunteer opportunities. skilled volunteering. They can help you match your interest, schedule and skills with other organizations.

    For more information, visit their website:

  • Bright Beginnings is a day care center for children of homeless parents. They provide care while parents job hunt and such. I expect they’re swamped these days.

  • I second Greater DC Cares. The amount of different opportunities is so large that once you’re signed up they give you a calendar with all of them. Also my favorite:

    They are in Dupont and deliver donated food to families. You can do the packing, driving, and/or navigating. They always need drivers and it was how I got to know the city.

  • Casey Trees is a FANTASTIC organization dedicated to retoring and maintaining DC’s tree canopy.

  • I volunteer with The Reading Connection who organize after school read alouds to children. It’s low key and very rewarding. You work in teams and it only takes one weekday evening per month (but I’m sure they’d let you do more)

  • Higher Achievement is a program for motivated 5-8 graders. The scholars come three days a week after school until 8 pm to work on their academics. Higher Achievement has volunteer mentors that work with the same group of 3-4 scholars every week for the whole year, so you’re able to build a good relationship with the scholars. Also, they provide the curriculum and lessons for you, so you don’t have to create anything yourself. Their Ward 4 site is located at Brightwood Educational Campus (1300 Nicholson St. NW). There is plenty of parking available and several bus lines stop within a block of the Center. Check out the web site: for more information. I highly recommend it!

  • I agree Greater DC Cares is a good organization, especially if you are looking to do a few different things. Check out for the DC area too–they post job, internship and volunteer opportunities.

  • I’m a project coordinator with Greater DC Cares and also agree that it is a great place to start. Otherwise, I also volunteer directly with N Street Village. They serve breakfast and lunch everyday to homeless women who are dealing with mental illness or addiction.

  • Language ETC ( runs a great volunteer program that teaches low-income immigrants english. No teaching experience required. No foreign language skills needed.

  • The Ronald McDonald House (near Brookland station) does great things for families of sick children. I cook dinner there once a week for the families, and know that they need volunteers to do many things!

  • just got an email about this and it looks awesome!

    Love kids? Want to help a struggling school meet No Child Left Behind’s standards? Want to give back to the community and help local parents and kids move to a better future?

    People Animals Love (PAL) is an animal-related nonprofit launching an ambitious and exciting new after-school club — PAL Club — at Stanton Elementary this year. Part of the program will be enrichment with an animal-centric curriculum, pets in the classroom, field trips to the zoo, etc. and the other part will be reading and math tutoring. We need volunteers — to tutor in reading or math, or to chaperone field trips and help plan family fun nights. The goals of the program are to increase animal-friendly behavior, build excitement around science, and improve reading and math scores. The tutors that came last year were beloved by the students. You will love volunteering at PAL Club. If you’re interested or have questions, please contact John at the PAL Office at 202-966-2171 or [email protected]

  • HIPS’ mission is to assist female, male, and transgender individuals engaging in sex work in Washington, DC in leading healthy lives. Utilizing a harm reduction model, HIPS’ programs strive to address the impact that HIV/AIDS, STIs, discrimination, poverty, violence and drug use have on the lives of individuals engaging in sex work.

    HIPS was formed in 1993 by community and police representatives in response to the recognized need for specialized services for youth engaging in sex for gain in Washington, D.C.

    HIPS reaches over 150 sex workers each night on outreach and makes over 8,000 contacts every year. Over 4,500 of those contacts are with youth under 24. The majority of HIPS’ contacts are made through our mobile outreach program. Three nights a week, from 11:00pm until 5:00am, HIPS staff and volunteers, provide education and counseling, and distribute safety materials, clothing and food to sex workers on the streets. HIPS works to build positive relationships with sex workers on the street through active listening, consistent outreach and unconditional support.

    HIPS also serves street sex workers through our counseling and referral program which provides services ranging from obtaining a legitimate ID card to finding emergency shelter for young people fleeing abusive relationships. HIPS 24-hour hotline provides counseling and referrals to anyone in or affected by prostitution or sex work. Hotline counselors can answer health questions or support parents whose sons or daughters are engaged in sex work. HIPS Foot Patrol addresses the HIV prevention and health needs of an especially marginalized population, young men on the street. All of our services provide comprehensive, unconditional support, utilizing harm reduction models to assist youth and adults on the street to identify the skills they need or already have to make healthier life choices for themselves.

    HIPS is a 501 (c) (3) tax-exempt organization that relies on support from over 100 dedicated volunteers, local community advocates, religious organizations, private foundations and businesses to support our work empowering people on the streets.

    For more information about HIPS, please check out our website at, or call (202) 232-8150.

    Volunteer Orientation Sunday September 20 at 1pm.

  • I am a fan of KEEN (basically involves swimming or playing sports one-on-one with developmentally impaired kids). You can google it and find info easily enough. For folks who are busy, you can be a very sporadic volunteer on an occasional Saturday morning, and it is always a lot of fun.

  • burgundy crescent is a source for volunteers for gay or gay-friendly non-profit organizations in the area. membership is free.

  • A local community service group, We Are Family, really needs help this Saturday. They deliver groceries to the elderly in the North Capitol/Shaw area. I

  • I work for Higher Achievement, and would love to second and third the earlier postings about volunteering as an academic mentor for our scholars. It’s a commitment of one night per week for 25 weeks in the school year, and we provide the training, curriculum, and supports needed as you work with a small group of middle school students. We have our Ward 4 Achievement Center at Brightwood elementary, and Ward 1 Center at Adams school in Adams Morgan.

    It’s a wonderful way to make a lasting impact on a student’s life, and set them on the path to success in high school, college, and beyond!

  • Check out Central Union Mission!

    Help serve meals, do admin work, tutor…whatever your skill is, I’m sure we can use it!

    Currently seeking GRANT WRITERS most of all!

  • I volunteer with Food & Friends, the only organization in DC dedicated to providing meals and groceries to DC residents with AIDS and other life-challenging illnesses. They rely on a huge group of volunteers to do everything from deliver meals to chop onions. They are well-organized – i.e., there’s no standing around waiting for someone to tell you what to do – and they are close to Petworth. They are on Riggs Road just east of the Fort Totten station.

  • There are many volunteer Fire and EMS departments in the area. While there are none in DC proper, almost all the suburban counties have them, and many are very nearby. Closest to here are PG [Hyattsville, Seat Pleasant, Brentwood], Montgomery [Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Bethesda], Arlington [Cherrydale].

    All provide free training and although it’s a lot more time commitment than working in a soup kitchen or mentoring, for the right people it’s very rewarding.

  • I am a Pre-K teacher at Seaton Elementary School (Rhode Island and 10th NW). I could use volunteers to help out in the classroom…read to four year olds, play math games, do science experiments, etc., etc. I am especially looking for volunteers who can play an instrument and/or sing. Music is super important for the little ones, and unfortunately my musical talent is limited. Please let me know if you are interested [email protected]. Thanks!

Comments are closed.