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100 Places to Volunteer in Greater Boston

April 11, 2019

“Whatever community organization, whether it’s a women’s organization, or fighting for racial justice…you will get satisfaction out of doing something to give back to the community that you never get in any other way.” Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's insight on volunteering is especially relevant this week, with One Boston Day right around the corner and both National Volunteer Week and National Volunteer Month in full swing.

All of these holidays celebrate the positive impact of volunteer service, and One Boston Day — established after the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 — encourages Bostonians to commit random acts of kindness, both big and small, and to take a moment to appreciate our city's unique community. In the spirit of these holidays and to celebrate One Boston Day, we've created a one-stop shop for volunteer opportunities at impactful organizations across the city. Whether you're passionate about the environment, have a soft spot for animals, or love working with kids, check out the roundup below for 100 ways you can give back on One Boston Day and beyond.

 

Animals

Animal Rescue League Boston
Multiple Locations
Feed and train shelter animals, provide care to community cats, staff special events, provide general office support, and more
MSPCA
Brookline
Clean, feed animals, provide animal behavior enrichment, educate and interact with visitors, help with adoptions, and more
New England Aquarium
Downtown Boston
Prepare food for the animals, feed the animals in the Giant Ocean Tank, educate and interact with visitors, make ice toys for the seals, and more
Zoo New England
Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Stoneham
Educate guests, maintain park grounds, prepare food for animals, assist keepers, care for the animals in the Petting Zoo, and more

 

Arts

American Repertory Theater
Cambridge
Distribute programs, provide information about shows, scan tickets, clean up after performances, and more
Artists for Humanity
South Boston
Promote the artwork, work on special projects, provide 1:1 tutoring to teens, and more
BAMS Festival
Dorchester
Set up and tear down the festival, manage or assist with festival activities, oversee the parking area, sell merchandise, staff the information booth, and more
Boston Center for the Arts
South End
Help usher for productions in the Plaza and Black Box Theatres or act as a gallery attendant in the Mills Gallery
Cambridge Arts Council
Cambridge
Set up and tear down the festival, sell merchandise, assist with children's activities, run supplies between venues, and more
Cambridge Symphony Orchestra
Cambridge
Play the string bass, contrabassoon, trumpet, harp, or percussion
Community Music Center of Boston
South End
Volunteer with specific programs or help with administrative support, fundraising, marketing, or special events
José Mateo Ballet Theatre
Cambridge
Help with performances, marketing, the Dance for World Community Festival, fundraising tours, community engagement programming, and more

 

Children and Families

Cambridge Family & Children's Service
Cambridge
Help with the 5k races that benefit CFCS, organize gifts during the holiday gift drive, and prepare for the Circle of Friends gala and auction
Children's Services of Roxbury
Roxbury
Work at a daycare program or adult shelter and transition house, work on a special event or project, become a parent mentor, or assist with administrative duties
Christopher’s Haven
West End
Host a child's birthday party, cook a family meal, host a day of arts and crafts for children, and more
Jeremiah Program
Roxbury
Help care for children, guide women through planned curriculum, help prepare and store meals, or tutor a mother in a subject area of your strength

 

Civic Engagement

Boston Public Library
Multiple Locations
Act as an art and architecture tour guide, work with small groups of ESL learners, facilitate large groups who are looking to improve their conversational English, and more
City of Boston
Greater Boston
Apply for mini-grants for neighborhood improvement projects in local neighborhoods, tend to community gardens and plots, and more
Friends of the Cambridge Public Library
Cambridge
Help with website design, software, clerical and office, and social media duties
SomerServe
Somerville
Sign up to receive a monthly newsletter detailing volunteer opportunities with city departments, community events, and local non-profits
Somerville Public Library
Somerville
Help at special library events or in various library departments, including children's, teen room, reference, cataloging, and technology
 

 

Community and Multi-Service Agencies

American Red Cross of Massachusetts Bay Food Pantry
Roxbury
Help with administrative support, blood services, disaster services, food and nutrition, international services, youth programs, and more
Boston Chinatown Neighborhood Center
Chinatown
Tutor children after school, translate, assist with marketing and media, organize the library and curriculum materials, assist in organizing special events, and more
Boston Living Center
South End
Set up the dining room, prepare and serve food, wash dishes, monitor coat check, help with office work, monitor the computer room, and more
Cambridge Community Center
Cambridge
Tutor children, lead workshops, set up and clean up The Coast Kitchen, help with indoor and outdoor maintenance work, and more
Cambridge YMCA
Cambridge
Read stories, assist children in art or cooking projects, instruct classes about subjects of your interest, join children in the gym for large motor activities, and more
Community Dispute Settlement Center
Cambridge
Mediate or help with marketing and communication, event planning, fundraising and development, program evaluation, or technology and social media
De Novo
Cambridge
Utilize your experience as an attorney, paralegal, or law student in the legal program, or utilize your experience as a psychologist, social worker, or therapist in the counseling program
East End House
Cambridge
Assist with administration, community programs, youth mentoring, the school age program, child care, the emergency food program, the middle school program, special projects, and more
Goodwill Massachusetts
Greater Boston
Participate in annual holiday events, mentor youth, sort donated goods, host mock interviews, host a clothing or toy drive, and more
New England Center and Home for Veterans
Downtown Boston
Serve meals, sort and prepare supplies for veterans, coach and teach at the Veterans Training School, participate in projects, and more
Somerville YMCA
Somerville
Provide clerical or office support, assist in planning and executing events, help with YMCA programs, keep the facility clean and safe, and more
Tech Goes Home
Back Bay
Assist TGH trainers, work directly with families and participants, help with events, assist participants, set up and clean up, and more

 

Education

Boston Tax Help Coalition
Multiple Locations
Prepare and file taxes face-to-face with eligible taxpayers, provide a comprehensive tax site intake experience for taxpayers, interpret and translate, and more
Career Collaborative
Downtown Boston
Conduct practice phone interviews with clients, work one-on-one with a job-seeking participant, facilitate job search support groups, speak to groups of job seekers, and more
Harvard Museums of Science & Culture
Cambridge
Facilitate hands-on educational and craft activities, welcome visitors to the Glass Flowers exhibit, read children's storybooks, invite people to draw in the galleries, and more
Museum of Science
Cambridge
Help with the Discovery Center, Eye Opener, Butterfly Garden, Exhibit Hall Interpreter, Hall of Human Life Exploration Hub, or Informal Engineer and Computer Science Learning programs
Prison Book Program
Quincy
Fulfill a prisoner's request for books, prepare books for mailing, process book donations, and more
WGBH
Allston
Assist as a community ambassador, docent or tour guide, TV pledge, event support, or office support
X-Cel Education
Jamaica Plain
Work with aspiring health care professionals, criminal investigators, engineers, accountants, and more who are preparing for the Massachusetts high school equivalency test
 

 

Environment

Appalachian Mountain Club
Multiple Locations
Volunteer as a trail maintainer, trip leader, naturalist, committee chair, facility manager, web master, editor, treasurer, volunteer trainer, event planner, presenter, and more
Bikes Not Bombs
Jamaica Plain
Process donated bikes for use in their program, assist with the yearly Bike-A-Thon, load shipping containers with bikes, teach young people to rebuild and earn a bike, and more
Boston Nature Center
Multiple Locations
Help with trail maintenance, visitor services, gardening, marketing, and beyond at locations around Massachusetts
Charles River Conservancy
Cambridge
Remove invasive plants, paint benches and picnic tables, plant and maintain garden beds, plant fall bulbs, rake leaves, remove litter and debris, and more
Emerald Necklace Conservancy
The Fenway
Educate the public about the conservancy's mission, present the conservancy at local events, participate in the annual clean-up along the Muddy River, prune roses, and more
Fresh Pond Reservation
Cambridge
Help curb non-native plants to make way for plants that help Massachusetts animals eat, hide, build, and live
Groundwork Somerville
Somerville
Help with Somerville Spring Clean Up and Comcast Cares Day, school gardens, the South Street farm, monthly "Cleaning and Greening" events, and more
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Cambridge
Help with various departments, tend experimental gardens, assist with greenhouse operations, process archival materials with curators, and more
Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy
Downtown Boston
Engage with visitors about the contemporary public art program, work on common gardening tasks, maintain gardens, assist with plant records or special projects, and more
 

 

Health

Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Longwood
Volunteer with the cardiology, emergency, endocrinology, gastroenterology, oncology, neurology, nursing, OB/GYN, outpatient surgery, radiology, rehabilitation, social work, surgery, and other departments
Boston Children's Hospital
Longwood
Play with children during wait times, help families find their way in the halls, complete non-medical tasks, provide comfortable accommodations to families, and more
Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program
Greater Boston
Provide administrative support, engage directly with patients, serve on-site in clinics, organize donation drives, and more
Boston Medical Center
South End
Talk and read to patients, provide a comforting presence during end-of-life, assist with the food pantry, welcome patients and visitors, and more
Boston Public Health Commission
Greater Boston
Serve at non-emergency related events like the Boston Marathon, Walk for Hunger, seasonal flu clinics, drills and exercises, and community outreach days
Brigham and Women's Hospital
Longwood
Work with patients, support hospital staff, assist in research labs, provide health care services in other states through the Indian Health Service, and more
Massachusetts General Hospital
West End
Help patients and families navigate the hospital, assist with patient discharges and escorts, cheer patients with pet therapy visits, serve lunches, provide administrative support, and more
Planned Parenthood
Allston
Advocate for reproductive rights, help with administrative tasks, assist in health centers, provide direct service to clients, and more
Tufts Medical Center
Downtown Boston
Visit with adult patients and their families, assist in the emergency room, provide wayfinding assistance, escort patients, assist with discharge, and more
VA Hospital
Brockton, Jamaica Plain, West Roxbury
Provide many important functions throughout the medical center, help make patients' stay more enjoyable, and more

 

Homelessness

Friends of Boston's Homeless
Jamaica Plain
Hold a drive for critically-needed items, create housewarming baskets, serve a meal and host a recreational activity, teach a class or life skill, and more
Harvard Square Homeless Shelter
Cambridge
Prepare and serve dinner, go on a food salvage trip, prepare plates of food to hand out at the door, prepare breakfast, clean the shelter, and more
Pine Street Inn
South End
Serve breakfast or dinner, act as a clinic receptionist, help the team deliver prepared foods to locations across the city, and more
Rosie's Place
South End
Teach adult women learning English for Speakers of Other Languages, prepare and serve meals, lead an arts workshop, assist guests shopping in the food pantry, and more
St. Francis House
Downtown Boston
Assist with meal preparation, sort donations, restock shelves, work one-on-one with guests to meet their clothing needs, work alongside counselors, and more
 

 

Hunger

Community Servings
Jamaica Plain
Prepare and package meals for clients, deliver meals to homebound clients, help with the Pie in the Sky and LifeSavor fundraising events, and more
Daily Table
Dorchester
Sort and prepare produce for sale or kitchen use, label and package prepared foods, help cooks in the kitchen, stock retail shelves, interact with customers, and more
Friday Night Supper
Back Bay
Set up the hall, prepare meals, serve guests, sorting through clothing, breaking down and cleaning the hall, and more
Greater Boston Food Bank
South End
Inspect and sort products, check and label boxes, help in the warehouse, packing food and grocery products, and more
Haley House
Downtown Boston, South End
Prepare food, cook, bake, serve food, eat with guests, clean up, distribute food, help with data entry, and more
Harvest Food Pantry
Cambridge
Set up, help new patrons, staff the registration desk, distribute food to patrons, help in the stock room, and more
Women's Lunch Place
Back Bay
Prepare and cook meals, serve meals to guests, supervise the resource center, work on major fundraising events, welcome guests to the shelter, and more
 

 

Immigrants

Boston Center for Refugee Health & Human Rights
South End
Help new patients understand and navigate the American healthcare system, assist with data management, provide resume reviews and practice interviews, and more
Cambridge Public Library Literacy Project
Cambridge
Serve as a teacher, tutor or classroom assistant
Enroot
Cambridge
Mentor a mentee weekly for one academic year or tutor a student weekly
Found in Translation
Dorchester
Entertain children while their moms work toward a new career, give a presentation on a job skills or financial literacy topic, or mentor program participants
Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition
Multiple Locations
Help immigrants become US citizens, register new citizens to vote, assist with marketing materials, help with data and administrative duties, and more
PAIR Project
Downtown Boston
Help as an interpreter, student intern, legal fellow, attorney, medical professional, grant-writer, IT specialist, and more
Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center
Boston, Lynn, Worcester
Help with community events, provide translation assistance, accompany families on fun activities, provide transportation for clients, help clients practice speaking English, and more
 

 

Seniors

Hale House
Back Bay
Socialize and do a one-on-one activity with residents, lead a group activity of your own interest, meet with an elderly client to create a financial budget they can stick to, and more
Somerville Cambridge Elder Services
Cambridge, Somerville
Run an errand for a senior neighbor, escort seniors to medical appointments, assist low-income elders with bill-paying and money management, and more

 

Sports

Athletes Unlimited Newton
Newton
Help the organization provide year-round therapeutic recreation programs to children and adults with disabilities
Girls on the Run
Greater Boston
Coach small groups of girls over the course of 10 weeks, help with the Girls on the Run 5K, and more
Special Olympics Massachusetts
Multiple Locations
Coach, partake in event planning committees, fundraise, act as timekeepers and officials, and assist at local, region, and state-wide events
 

 

Women

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
Cambridge, Boston, Waltham
Welcome and direct guests, work to increase public awareness of the issue of sexual assault, help with special events and drives, staff the phone and web chat hotline, and more
Boston Women's Fund
Downtown Boston
Help with events, fundraising, outreach and communications, grantee networking, and more
Cambridge Women's Center
Cambridge
Provide emotional support in-person and on the phone, assist members with resource referrals and small projects, help with special projects, record data, and more
Strong Women, Strong Girls
Multiple Locations
Act as site monitors, event volunteers, or strong leaders, and more
Transition House
Cambridge
Provide homework help and supervised playtime with children, create a multimedia exhibition to reframe public understanding about domestic violence, assist clients in budgeting their income, and more
YWCA Cambridge
Cambridge
Mentor girls in 8th grade leadership program, run programs for residents in affordable housing units, and help with front desk coverage

 

Youth

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Massachusetts Bay
Downtown Boston
Mentor a child age 7-12 to positively impact them through weekly online communication or in-person meetings
Big Sister Association of Greater Boston
Back Bay
Match with a Little Sister between the age of 7-15 and enjoy low- to no-cost activities over the course of a year
Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston
Downtown Boston
Support youth with homework, assist in program areas with daily activity, coach, help with administrative tasks, and more
BUILD Boston
Downtown Boston
Support the creation and launch of real student startups, inspire students to get on the path to college, support students from under-served communities, and more
Casserly House
Roslindale
Work one-on-one with adults looking to acquire English language skills, help adults prepare for citizenship, tutor students with homework, and more
CitySprouts
Cambridge
Get gardens ready for a new season of planting and growing, build garden beds, maintain gardens through summer months, press apple cider in the fall, and more
Cradles to Crayons Boston
Brighton
Sort and inspect donated items, package items for delivery to children who need them, assist with community-based events, and more
More Than Words
Boston, Waltham
Join youth on their business job, tutor youth on modules, help youth with resumes and mock interviews, sort and process books with youth, and more
Resilient Coders
Downtown Boston
Attend community hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays to help students with full stack javascript
The Elizabeth Peabody House
Somerville
Help in the classroom, community, food pantry, and public awareness and fundraising events
YearUp
Downtown Boston, Quincy, Roxbury
Help a young adult navigate the start of their professional career, tutor a young adult, or share your story and insights as a guest speaker
 

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