As a college student, you are always looking for ways to round out your future resume and elevate your college experience. Many students have never considered volunteering but with the right opportunity, there are so many ways to continue learning outside the classroom AND give back to your community. For students around UIUC, there are tons of volunteer opportunities for whatever you’re passionate about – education, social justice, environmental conservation, or animal welfare; you can be sure you’ll find it in our list of best places to volunteer and make a difference around UIUC.
Habitat for Humanity is an iconic and well-known organization that helps build affordable housing for families in need. The Champaign County chapter offers various volunteering opportunities, from construction projects to fundraising events. Dedicating your time and skills can greatly help provide safe and decent homes to those who need them, fostering a strong community that includes the students.
The Eastern IL Foodbank is a terrific opportunity to help combat hunger in your region. When you volunteer, you help distribute food to those facing food insecurity and play a vital role in sorting and packing food items. You can also sign up to help with food drives and other community events. It feels good to see firsthand how volunteering can directly impact the community you live in.
Unfamiliar to most, the Crisis Nursery is a local organization that provides emergency childcare services and support to families in crisis situations. Great for future teachers, caregivers, and early childhood specialists, volunteering here can look like many different things, including spending time with children, assisting with administrative tasks, or organizing fundraising events.
Calling all animal lovers: The CCHS is always searching for volunteers that want to lend a helping hand to the animals in your area that may be abandoned or in need. Great for future vets or if you miss your pet from home, there are many ways to get involved. The Humane Society is always looking for people to walk dogs, assist with pet adoption events and fundraise for campaigns. By dedicating your time and love for animals, you can help provide shelter, care, and a second chance to abandoned or mistreated pets.
The reading group is a student favorite because it directly involves work they are doing daily in college – reading! If you love working with young children, participating in storytelling or book reading sessions, and getting involved in after-school activities, volunteering will hardly seem like work. This opportunity is frequented by a lot of students going into early childhood care and teaching and is a great hands-on opportunity to give back while learning.
If you’re a premed major, nursing major, or planning on working in public health, volunteering at the CUPHD will be a fulfilling opportunity you can add to your resume. They are looking for volunteers for various health-related initiatives like immunization drives, health education programs, and other community events. The CUPHD directly improves the well-being of community members by raising awareness of important health issues.
For those interested in domestic law and women’s and children’s rights, volunteering at Courage Connection is a great way to spend your time. This organization provides services and supports victims of domestic violence and their families. You can help out by giving your time to assisting with their crisis hotline, attending fundraising events, or even hands-on support in their shelter. You can be apart of something that empowers survivors and helps to break the cycle of domestic violence.
Students going into special education, occupational therapy, and speech therapy are frequent volunteers at CUSR. This organization provides recreational opportunities to people with disabilities and creates an inclusive community where they can experience fulfillment and fun. You can get involved with their sports program, arts and crafts, or other social events. Many students in Best Buddies are seen volunteering here and continuing their love of helping.
If you like to thrift and care about sustainability in your area, Restore Decor could be a fun volunteer opportunity for you – the company is a nonprofit that works towards repurposing and upcycling furniture for sustainability and saving it from a future in a landfill. They provide the furniture to families and individuals in the community that might need it – making it fun and fulfilling.
If you are passionate about environmental conservation, Prairie Rivers Network offers volunteering opportunities to protect and restore rivers and their ecosystems. Students from all different majors flock to this opportunity, where they get to participate in river cleanups, water monitoring projects, and advocacy campaigns. You can actively contribute to preserving the natural beauty of the region and ensuring clean water sources for future generations (and yourself!) by volunteering at PRN.
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