Volunteering is an excellent way for students to enrich their resume or graduate school application. Agencies and organizations all around the United States and the world seek the energy and enthusiasm of young adults.
Not to overstate the case, young people are one of the greatest sources of positive change in the world today. You can participate in causes and efforts that you believe in and also build a record of contributing that will add much to your background and profile. The personal growth gained from such experiences should not be underestimated either.
Volunteering can benefit both the student volunteer and the organization in which he or she serves. For a Security & Intelligence major, an experience in community disaster preparedness will strengthen future job applications at the same time as helping the community in its homeland security efforts. For a student in Development Studies volunteering in an aid agency, either domestic or foreign, gives “on the ground” experience so that better decisions can be made in the future.
Agencies benefit from employees who are already knowledgeable about the process of disseminating aid and monitoring its impact. Students in area studies specializations can gain from volunteer work with immigrant and refugee communities in the United States and abroad. Firsthand exposure to these populations increases cultural awareness and sharpens language skills.
For their part, immigrants and refugees benefit from the knowledge of American society, government and culture that volunteers bring to them.
Volunteer agencies often provide opportunities to take on responsibilities beyond the typical “entry level” tasks associated with a first job. Thus, volunteers can often discuss higher level accomplishments on their resumes and graduate school applications that many others cannot. Volunteer experience demonstrates to potential employers that the student is a “contributor” to the organizations with which he or she becomes affiliated, the community in which he or she lives, and the world of which he or she is a part.
Below are several questions to help you determine whether the organization or opportunity is a good match.*
- What does your organization do?
- Whom do you serve? (People in a certain geographic area, age group, etc.)
- What outcomes have the agency’s efforts produced?
- Do you have a specific philosophy guiding your work?
- How many volunteers are in your group? What are their responsibilities?
- Is there a designated volunteer coordinator who would be your point of contact?
- What is the time commitment?
- Does the agency provide assistance with travel, parking or other incidental expenses?
- Can you speak with others who have volunteered with the organization in the past?
Some Tips for Volunteering Wisely*
- Research the causes or issues important to you.
- Consider the skills you have to offer.
- Would you like to learn something new?
- Combine your goals.
- Don't over-commit your schedule.
- Virtual volunteering?
- Give voice to your heart through your volunteering!
*Drawn from USA Freedom Corps
Volunteer - Campus, Columbus, Ohio
AIDS Resource Center, Columbus
The need for HIV/AIDS education and support services has never been more urgent. ARC Columbus is dedicated to caring for those living with HIV/AIDS, educating the community about preventing the spread of this disease, and making the fight against ignorance and apathy a health care priority.
American Red Cross of Greater Columbus
The American Red Cross, a humanitarian organization led by volunteers, guided by its Congressional Charter and the Fundamental Principles of the International Red Cross Movement, will provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.
There are tons of ways to get involved with Columbus volunteer opportunities for the causes that mean the most to you, and tons of ways of helping—even if you only have an hour (or less) a month to volunteer. American Towns has centralized the resources for volunteer activism, so get up and get busy.
ASC Career Services, OSU
Career Services provides volunteer opportunity postings throughout the year.
Catholic Social Services, Columbus
Established in 1945, Catholic Social Services is proud of its more than 60-year history of providing vital social services for those in need, regardless of belief or background.
Children’s Hunger Alliance
Children's Hunger Alliance is the statewide nonprofit organization committed to breaking the cycle of childhood hunger in Ohio.
City Year unites young people of all backgrounds for a year of full-time service, giving them skills and opportunities to change the world.
Columbus Council on World Affairs
The world is here in Columbus, Ohio and the success of this community depends on our ability to adapt to the changing world. Through its many community and youth education programs, the Columbus Council on World Affairs provides the critical tools for you to understand and thrive within this change.
Columbus Jewish Community Center
Are you looking for a meaningful and fulfilling way to spend free time? Do you want to donate your time to make the community a better place? The Columbus Jewish Community Center is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers! From ushering to office work, we’ll find the perfect volunteer opportunity for you at the JCC.
Columbus Literacy Council
The Columbus Literacy Council (CLC) is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to increasing the level of functional literacy of adults in central Ohio through teaching the English language skills of listening, speaking, reading, and writing.
Community Refugee & Immigration Services
Agency Profile CRIS is an independent non-profit agency serving refugees, asylees and immigrants in central Ohio. Services include immigration legal services and interpretation and translation.
Do Something has the largest database of volunteer opportunities nationwide that are appropriate for you! Just enter your zip code to find tons volunteer opportunities near you!
English Conversation Partners Program OSU
The English Conversation Partners (ECP) Program matches U.S. American students with international students who would like to learn more about the American language and culture. ECPs meet on a weekly basis throughout the quarter (a minimum of one hour a week) at a time of their choosing.
Environment Ohio is a statewide, citizen-based environmental advocacy organization. We draw on 30 years of success in tackling our state's top environmental problems.
Franklin County Community Emergency Response Team
The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program helps train ordinary citizens to be better prepared to respond to emergency situations in their communities.
Habitat for Humanity, Columbus
Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), and the Greater Columbus Affiliate, is an ecumenical Christian housing ministry. Habitat affiliates work locally in communities around the world to select and support homeowners, organize volunteers, and coordinate house building.
International Visitors Council
IVC was created in 1965 as a 501(c)3 non-profit, international educational exchange organization, to serve international visitors to Central Ohio.
Medical Reserve Corps of Franklin County
The Franklin County and Columbus Medical Reserve Corps is dedicated to establishing teams of local volunteer medical, public health and other professionals to contribute their skills and expertise during times of disaster and public health emergency, as well as throughout the year for community health promotion. You do not need to have a medical background.
Mid-Ohio Food Bank
Nearly 20 percent of the food the Mid-Ohio Food Bank receives must be sorted and packaged before it’s delivered to people in need. Whether it’s one day a year or an hour a week, your hands-on contributions of time and energy help them get food where and when it’s needed most.
The dedication and commitment of our volunteers make 4-H Youth Development possible. Volunteers generously offer their time and expertise and provide support for hundreds of 4-H programs all over Ohio.
Ohio Citizen Corps
The Ohio Community Service Council's Web site ServeOhio provides information about national and community service programs, updates on legislation of interest to the field of volunteerism, education, best practices on screening volunteers, homeland security updates, and more!
OSU, Alternative Spring Break
Alternative Spring Break activities include travel to domestic and international destinations to assist communities in need.
OSU, Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity at Ohio State is one of the most active student organizations on campus. We typically work on several projects to get our volunteers involved. Many of our volunteers enjoy going on one of our numerous domestic and international trips throughout the year, as well.
OSU, Service Learning Initiative
Service-Learning is a form of experiential education characterized by student participation in an organized service activity that is connected to specific learning outcomes, meets identified community needs, provides structured time for student reflection and connection of the service experience to learning.
Police Volunteers (Local & National)
Since September 11, 2001, the demands on state and local law enforcement have increased dramatically. As a result, the already limited resources of these agencies are being stretched further than ever, at a time when the country needs every available officer out on the beat. Police Volunteers program provides you with important information on how to get involved in a VIPS Program in your community.
Port Columbus Int’l Airport, Airport Ambassador
The Airport Ambassadors, an all-volunteer organization formed in 1979, is comprised of individuals ranging from air transport enthusiasts to retired teachers. They conduct airport tours, assist with special events and ceremonies, assist passengers with information or directions and meet and greet dignitaries.
Salvation Army, Greater Columbus
The Salvation Army in Greater Columbus is a collection of Salvation Army churches (called corps) and facilities where area residents can receive services, such as food from Choice Pantries, After School Learning Centers for children, activities and assistance for seniors, Career Enhancement Centers and other programs for adults.
Service Squad at OSU
The foundation of Service Squad is built on a desire to serve our Buckeye community by encouraging and facilitating volunteerism.
United Nations Association of Columbus
Whether you're a professional, student, NGO or business, as a member of UNA-USA, you'll perform a unique and valuable role as a community activist. UNA-USA volunteers educate their communities; mobilize support for the UN and US leadership; serve as liaisons with the media, educators, and public officials in their states and communities; and provide public visibility at the community level.
YMCA of Central Ohio
The YMCA of Central Ohio is thankful to have the support and dedication of thousands of volunteers every year who support our work, our values and our mission to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities.
Volunteer - National & International
- AmeriCorps website
- Amigos de las Americas website
- Cross-Cultural Solutions website
- Earth Watch Institute website
- Global Citizens website
- Habitat for Humanity, International Volunteer Program website
- Learn & Serve website
- National & Community Service website
- National Language Service Corps website
- Service Civil International website
- Serve Net volunteer database
- Student Conservation Association website
- UNICEF website
- United Planet, Volunteer Abroad website
- United Service Organization (USO) website
- United Nations Volunteers website
- Volunteering in America website
- Volunteer Match website
- Youth for Understanding website
Download this volunteer opportunities brochure [pdf]
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