There are many reasons to want to volunteer. Perhaps you need an extracurricular activity for school or want to experience something new. Or maybe you want to give back to the community by taking part in something you’re passionate about.
Here are five local volunteer opportunities in the Philadelphia area that you should check out.
1. Greater Philadelphia Cares
Located: Various Locations
Philadelphia Cares is a volunteer organization that encourages people to donate their time, skills and passions to specific non-profit projects in the area. All projects are geared towards making Philadelphia a cleaner, safer place to live. Duties on certain gigs include helping and assisting the elderly, disabled, homeless and hungry, cleaning up parks and neighborhood playgrounds and assisting families with their child’s needs. Philadelphia Cares is a section of the Hands On Network, which supervises over one million volunteers in the US.
To sign up, volunteers should complete the online orientation, as well as checking out the online monthly calendar to see what projects are available. They also accept group volunteers, volunteer leaders and project partners. Specific project areas include Hunger Relief, Education, Strengthening Families, Environment, Seniors, Digital Inclusion, People Living with Disabilities, Community Development and Ongoing Opportunities. They also take part in annual events, such as Philadelphia Cares Day, Spring Park Clean-Up, Corporate Leadership Breakfast, Adopt-a-Family, Principal for a Day and the Philadelphia Marathon.
2. Habitat for Humanity
Located: 1829 N. 19th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19121
Habitat for Humanity is a non-profit organization that helps to decrease poverty and homelessness in America. Specifically they help out families in need by building houses and cleaning local areas, especially areas which may have recently witnessed a natural disaster of some sort (like Hurricane Katrina.) If family’s are selected for a partner program, they will donate 350 hours of volunteer time in exchange for a no-interest mortgage. Besides the Philadelphia location, Habitat for Humanity is also located in Camden, Montgomery, Chester and Bucks County. It costs about $120,000 to rebuild a home and $140,000 to build a new one from scratch.
To volunteer, you must be at least 16, and there are several different areas of volunteer expertise. Individual volunteers work Wednesday, Thursday and Saturdays on actual construction sites, volunteer groups work in groups of 10 (whether corporate, civic, partnering or otherwise,) Restore volunteers help with cleaning, staffing, selling and fundraising, committee volunteers help with special events and communication and office volunteers perform clerical duties.
3. Epals Foundation / In2Books
Located: 13625-A Dulles Technology Drive, Philadelphia, PA 19019
Epals Foundation is an outgoing opportunity for volunteers ages 18 and up, to assist children/youth in the Philadelphia area with computers, technology, education and literacy.
Epals is the perfect volunteer opportunity for those who love to write, and those who don’t want to or can’t afford the time to leave their home. In2Books, a section of Epals, is searching for pen pals for the 2010-2011 school year. You will be assigned a pen pal from grades 3-5 in an effort to help this student improve their reading and writing skills. The student will suggest five books of their choice during the school year, and pen pals will read the material in the book and then discuss the book’s prevalent issues through the pen pal letters. All communication takes places at “Pen Pal Place,” including the majority of text from each book, so pen pal correspondents do not have to pay for postage.
4. Hayes Manor Flea Market & Community Health Fair
Located: 2210 Belmont Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19131
The Hayes Manor Flea Market and Community Health Fair is a bi-annual event that helps support the local community as well as seniors, veterans and military families. Volunteers have to be at least 10 years old.
Hayes Manor is a beautiful area that invites vendors and buyers from all over the tri-state area. All money made goes towards Hayes Manor. This October will be the first annual Community Health Fair, featuring the popular fundraiser Alex’s Lemonade. There will also be free blood pressure checks and various other community perks.
Volunteers are needed with people skills, sales experience, event set-up/breakdown, and people that can stand for long periods of time.
5. RSVP Philadelphia
Located: 642 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19130
RSVP Philadelphia is looking for volunteers ages 55 and up to help with child-related activities. According to the website for Volunteer Match, about 45,000 children spend 25 hours alone after school between the hours of 3-6PM, which happen to be the most dangerous hours for children who are easily influenced and swayed by peers, as well as this factor contributing to children being overweight and partaking in crime. RSVP are looking for volunteers to be positive role models for kids, teaching after school activities and other valuable kids. For 10-12 weeks, volunteers will commit 1-2 hours of their time weekly, and their commitment will be based upon their home location, and age/grade level of children. Volunteers must pass criminal background check.