Whether your motivation to volunteer comes from being a good Samaritan, a cause you care about or a personal passion, there’s plenty of plus points. Like the undeniable feel-good factor, you get from lending a helping hand, to the sense of belonging created through the social bonds made when volunteering.
Connection and belonging are key factors to happiness and settling into a new city. When wrapped up in your personal sphere you can forget about the bigger picture – volunteering intimates you’re part of something bigger than yourself. From coaching kids to enjoy exercise to preparing medically-minded meals. Or helping guide visitors through the National Museum of Natural History’s butterfly farm. In the District, there are many unique ways to lend your skills and time to a worthy cause. Here are 10 volunteering opportunities in D.C. to spark your interest.
Giving can reap rewards in the form of seeing the theatre for free through volunteering with Signature Theatre. At this Tony Award-winning non-profit, theatre volunteers can get involved as ushers, with ticket collection or meeting and greeting theatergoers. Take advantage of seeing one of their contemporary musicals or plays, and hang out after a shift to meet some like-minded culture vultures.
Be quick to register your interest as they already have a waiting list by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Help support DC’s most vulnerable population by volunteering at Bright Beginnings, Inc. This nonprofit organization operates early childhood and family learning centers for children and their families who are experiencing homelessness. Volunteer needs are, but not limited to: volunteer readers, classroom assistants, sponsoring curriculum-based field trips, and more!
Interested volunteers can contact Bright Beginnings for more information at email@example.com.
Are you passionate about arthropods? Have a knack for teaching? Keep an eye out for NMNH’s volunteer opportunities which are updated regularly. Some roles require a one-year commitment (eight hours per month) plus an orientation training day and program-specific training.
For opportunities at the National Museum of Natural History and other Smithsonian museums in D.C., check out the volunteer adverts at si.edu/volunteer.
If you have a way with clothes or see yourself as a fashionista you may love to volunteer at Dress For Success Washington D.C. You can support their mission to empower women to achieve financial independence by providing professional attire. Why not start by donating clothes you haven’t worn in the past year – what better excuse is there for decluttering your closet than for a good cause? Read up on the power that Dressing For Success has had on getting women back into the workforce on their website.
If your looking to share your skills to improve adult literacy in D.C consider volunteering with WLC. Their curriculum covers digital literacy with tech-enabled learning, along with practical maths classes. They also offer courses purely focused on helping students pass the written Driver’s Knowledge Test required for getting a license. Volunteers who can commit four hours per week will positively impact the education, independence and reorientation of adult learners into the community.
Prospective volunteers can call 202-387-9029 or contact the organization online.
A team building activity to bond over can be a corporate volunteering opportunity. Habitat for Humanity offers Team Building Days for those who want to get out of the office and improve the community. Volunteer groups can assist the nonprofit’s mission of eliminating poverty housing in D.C. by taking part in a ‘build day’. This can help reduce homelessness in the nation’s capital by helping the building of affordable homes for those in need. FYI: They provide all materials, training, and supervision so no previous construction experience is required. Just a hard hat.
Start your volunteering hours by getting by touch by phone at 202-257-1153 or register interest online.
Forget that evening class you’ve been meaning to sign up for to brush up on your second (or third) language. Put your language skills into practise as a bilingual volunteer bridging the gap over language barriers. Bread for the City’s clients speak many languages, all of whom are D.C. residents living with low incomes in need of basics like food, clothing, medical care. They benefit from food boxes, clothing donations and access to Bread for the City’s Medical Clinic.
Exercise is a great confidence builder and mood booster. KEEN facilitates those benefits to young people with disabilities. They provide free, non-competitive one-to-one programs of exercise and fitness. As a volunteer coach, you can lead exercise activities such as Zumba classes, swimming, bowling and more. It connects volunteers to community-minded people and comes with the disclaimer that you ‘don’t need to be athletic, either’.
Find out about getting screened as a volunteer online.
Volunteers at Lucky Dog can get involved at all stages of the animal support they provide. From preparing for an animal’s arrival to helping at adoption events, a passion for animals is a must. Depending on the role, volunteer time commitment can range from an hour a month to more. Fancy yourself as an ‘Adoption Coordinator’ marketing available dogs for adoption? Or do you see yourself as more of a ‘Matchmaker’ suited to finding pre-approved adopters a new pet? Contact the animal rescue organization to find out more.
If you find yourself a perfect match for a pet, make sure you’re in the position to take one home. Stay in pet-friendly apartment, like a Blueground apartment in D.C., so you have the option to become a pre-approved adopter. You can simplify an online search for a rental by using the ‘Pets Allowed’ filter.
Those short on time may find that individual volunteering opportunity with Food & Friends could be a solution. With varied volunteer opportunities to fit busy schedules and interests, the only prerequisite is a commitment of at least six months, or a 20-hour equivalent. Helping out here revolves around the prep and delivery of nutritious meals for those facing life-threatening illnesses. Whether you prep or package the food, you’ll be helping to heal through basic nutrition in the D.C area.