The Catholic University of America

Service Organizations in the Metropolitan D.C. Area

We encourage alumni, faculty, staff, and students to contact local service organizations about volunteer opportunities. The following list offers a wide range of service activities available in the D.C. Metropolitan area. The organizations that are underlined can accommodate large groups.
 

Aging and Seniors

Emmaus Services for the Aging
Reaches out to build trust with seniors to provide support, advocacy, and services that help them remain active and independent. Typical activities: grocery bagging and distribution.
 
IONA Senior Services
Supports people as they experience the challenges and opportunities of aging. Provides education and community-based programs and services. Typical activities: meal bagging and preparation. 
Contact: www.iona.org
 
Sarah’s Circle
Not-for-profit affordable housing residence and wellness center providing programs and services for very low-income seniors. 
 
The Washington Home
Provides long-term and end-of-life care. Programs of care include cancer, Alzheimer's, hospice, respite, short-term rehabilitation, and wound care. 
Typical activities: spending time with seniors, happy hour.
 
  • Seabury's Age-In-Place

Age-In-Place® (AIP) provides free yard work and house cleaning to older adults over the age of 60 in wards 4, 5, and 6 of Washington, DC.
Contact: http://www.seaburyresources.org/srj/index.php/assistance/ageinplace

 

Animal

 
Lost Dog and Cat Rescue Foundation
Nonprofit animal rescue organization saving the lives of homeless and abandoned pets. The foundation rescues dogs and cats facing euthanasia in overcrowded shelters and places them for adoption.
Typical activities: showing animals at adoption events.
 
 
PAL (People Animals Love) Club
PAL Club and Camp builds on children’s natural affinity for animals to stimulate scientific inquiry, improve reading and math, and reward good behavior.
Typical activities: visiting schools, spending time with children
and animals.
 
National Zoo
About 2,000 animals from 400 different species reside at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Typical activities: working with the public, or behind the scenes with plants and animals.
 

Arts

 
Community Help in Music Education
Nonprofit organization that mobilizes community resources to promote and provide access to music education for D.C. public school students.
Typical activities: Serving as music instructor/assistant, music mentor.
 
Dance Place
Transforms lives through performing arts and creative education programs that inspire personal growth, professional success, physical wellness and community engagement.
Typical activities: Serving as usher, teaching assistant, or intern.
 
Atlas Performing Arts Center
Performing arts center fosters the artistic growth of professional and aspiring performing artists and provides a unique communitycentered venue for training and education in the performing arts and stagecraft.
Typical activities: Serving as volunteer usher.
 

Children and Youth

 
Hope and a Home
Addresses poverty issues affecting families. Uses one-on-one coaching and peer support to help parents and children achieve permanent housing, higher education, rewarding work, and valuable connections to their community.
Typical activities: painting and repairing affordable housing units, mentoring Hope and a Home children.
 
Covenant House
Dedicated to serving all of God’s children with absolute respect and unconditional love to help suffering homeless kids and to protect and safeguard all children in need.
Typical activities: Serving as resident advisers, youth advisers, case manager.
 
The National Center for Children and Families
Serves as a transitional home for homeless families, primarily children with single mothers, and provides support systems necessary for families to rebuild their lives.
Typical activities: tutoring and computer training.
 
Hospital for Sick Children
Provides quality rehabilitative and transitional care for infants, children, adolescents, and young adults with special health care needs.
Typical activities: Serving as patient care volunteer or administrative volunteer.
 
Ronald McDonald House
Serves as a “home-away-from-home” for families of seriously ill children who travel to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area to be treated for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
Typical activities: administrative work, family check-ins, light housekeeping, grounds keeping, house maintenance, special event support, baking and/or cooking for families.
 
ACE Mentor Program
Provides mentors who guide student teams from the District of Columbia, Northern Virginia, and Maryland public schools as they explore educational and career opportunities in architecture, construction, and engineering.
Typical activities: construction site tours, professional office visits, guided excursions to college campuses, “hands-on” projects designed to help students learn architecture, engineering and construction industry fundamentals.
 
Community Preservation and Development Corporation
Strives to build long-term sustainability of communities. Empowers residents by offering community development programs. 
Typical activities: educational enrichment activities, school partnership, curriculum development and instruction
facilitation, professional development in areas related to curriculum, instruction, youth development, technology
education.
Contact: www.cpdc.org
 
Mary’s House
Community-based organization that provides transitional housing services, shelter, and support programs to homeless and struggling families. Founded on the concept that “smaller is better.” The philosophy at Mary House has always been to help others as we ourselves would want to be helped, while providing a safe haven that enables families to reclaim their dignity.
Typical activities: after-school tutoring, grocery pick-up, summer camp volunteer.
 

Cognitive and Physical Disabilities

 
Deaf-REACH
Seeks to maximize the self-sufficiency of deaf adults needing special services by providing referral, education, advocacy, counseling, and housing.
Typical activities: special events coordination and planning, community service center volunteer, volunteer for Deaf Horizons Day Program.
 
Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind
Provides a range of services including low vision care and rehabilitation, job development training, and employment for people of all ages who are visually impaired or blind to enable them to remain
independent.
Typical activities: Volunteering as a reader, Lighthouse Camp counselor, or phone-a-friend volunteers.
 
Best Buddies
Dedicated to establishing a global volunteer movement that creates opportunities for one-to-one friendships, integrated employment, and leadership development for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Typical activities: one-to-one friendship with a buddy.
 
L’Arche
Faith-based organization focused on the gifts of people with intellectual disabilities, revealed through mutually transforming relationships.
Typical activities: monthly prayer nights, daily house chores, gardening, grocery shopping.
 

Environment

 
Anacostia Watershed Society
Protects and restores the Anacostia River and its watershed communities by cleaning the water and recovering the shores.
Typical activities: river and community trash clean-ups; nonnative, invasive plant removals; native tree planting and maintenance; storm drain stenciling.
 
Audubon Naturalist Society
Strives to inspire residents of the greater Washington, D.C., region to appreciate, understand, and protect their natural environment through outdoor experiences, education, and advocacy. Seeks to create a larger and more diverse community of people who treasure the natural world and work to preserve it.
Typical activities: summer nature camp counselors, stocking shelves, trail mulching, invasive plant removal, property, maintenance.
 
Casey Trees
Flagship Community Tree Planting program is a grassroots approach to planting trees in neighborhoods across the District.
Typical activities: tree planting, care, inventory, advocacy.
 
For Lands and Waters
Focuses on nature restoration projects and community-based environmental education projects with public schools in D.C. and Virginia. Plants native plants and trees with the students, which become “living classrooms” that are integrated into the school curriculum, enabling students to have hands-on experiences with nature while learning about science.
Typical activities: prepping areas for planting, creating paths, weeding, building benches, moving heavy materials.
 
National Arboretum
To serve the public need for scientific research, education, and gardens that conserve and showcase plants to enhance the environment.
Typical activities: garden maintenance, volunteer gardening.
 
Washington Parks & People
Leads greening initiatives across the city: land reclamation, native reforestation, watershed restoration, public health and fitness programming, urban agriculture, and green job training in order to help revitalize forgotten communities.
Typical activities: D.C.-area beautification, greenhouse construction.
 

Homelessness and Hunger

 
Arlington-Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless
Which a mission to move people into a permanently self-sufficient, independent life, provides transitional housing and support services to homeless families and women in Arlington County and the City of
Alexandria in Virginia. 
Typical activities: tutoring, field trip coordinating, small business
planning.
 
Arlington Food Assistance Center
Obtains and distributes groceries, directly and free of charge, to those people living in Arlington who cannot afford to purchase enough food to meet their basic needs.
Typical activities: bagging groceries, food distribution, gleaning.
Contact: www.afac.org
 
Bread for the City
Provides vulnerable residents of Washington, D.C., with services, including food, clothing, medical care, and legal and social services, in an atmosphere of dignity and respect.
Typical activities: sorting clothes, health education, distributing groceries.
 
Capital Area Food Bank
Largest nonprofit food distribution and nutrition education resource in the Washington, D.C., metro area. Its goal this year is to distribute 30 million pounds of food through direct service and a network of more than 700 partner agencies to 480,000 area residents.
Typical activities: packing and sorting food, working on shopping floor, helping with food bank tasks, packing for Kids Cafe program
 
Carpenter’s Shelter
Servers as a meeting place and center of learning where people unite interactively to end homelessness. Advocates self-reliance through education.
Typical activities: field trips, tutoring, day care, answering phone calls, job mentoring, providing meals, outdoor cleanup.
 
Christ House
One of the first 24-hour residential medical facilities for homeless men and women in the United States.
Typical activities: answering phone calls, preparing and serving food, movie nights, neighborhood walks, bingo night, short stories.
 
Community of Hope
Provides direct services in health care, housing, and educational support to meet the needs of homeless and low-income families and individuals in Washington, D.C.
Typical activities: after-school reading programs, computer lab assistance, child care volunteers, translating services, Hope Apartments maintenance work.
 
DC Central Kitchen
Turns leftover food into millions of meals for thousands of at-risk individuals while offering nationally recognized culinary job training to once-homeless and hungry adults. Provides breakfast, outreach, and counseling services to chronically homeless people.
Typical activities: meal preparation and distribution, crop gleaning, donation preparation.
 
Food and Friends
Provides nutrition counseling and prepares, packages, and delivers meals and groceries to more than 2,800 people living with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other life-challenging illnesses throughout Washington, D.C., and parts of Maryland and Virginia.
Typical activities: meal preparation and delivery, administrative help, food drives.
 
Loaves and Fishes
This ministry of St. Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church has served lunch to hungry and homeless people on Saturdays, Sundays, and federal holidays since 1968. Since many Washington food programs serve only on weekdays, the program offers a crucial service to its guests, some of whom travel across the city to be able to eat on the weekend.
Typical activities: meal preparation and distribution.
 
Martha’s Table
Finds solutions to poverty in the short term with food and clothing programs, and in the long term by breaking the cycle of poverty with education and family strengthening programs. Offers tutorial, learning, and recreational programs during the school year, meals to homeless people; an in-kind redistribution center, family support
services; and information and referrals about other community and government services.
Typical activities: driving and delivering food, tutoring children, organizing events.
 
Miriam’s Kitchen
Provides individualized services that address the causes and consequences of homelessness in an atmosphere of dignity and respect. Prepares free, homemade meals and provides support services to more than 4,000 homeless men and women each year. 
Typical activities: meal preparation and serving, sorting clothes, toiletries distribution, interacting with guests, drive hosting.
 
So Others Might Eat
Feeds and clothes D.C.’s homeless and poor; treats ill, homeless people at medical, dental, and mental health programs; trains people for jobs; and houses homeless families and single adults.
Typical activities: tutoring children, working with senior populations, dining room and meal preparation, yard work, painting, organizing game nights and birthday parties, administrative tasks.
Contact: www.some.org
 
Thrive DC
Thrive DC provides a safety net for people facing economic crisis and housing instability, and helps achieve independence for people experiencing extended periods of homelessness.
Typical activities: preparing and distributing meals and emergency supplies, assisting at computer workshops, helping people apply for jobs, tutoring.
 

Learning

 
Asian American Lead
Promotes the well-being of Asian American youth through education, leadership, and community building.
Typical activities: mentor, summer volunteer.
 
Latin American Youth Center
Multicultural, community-based organization whose mission is to support youth and their families to live, work, and study with dignity, hope, and joy.
Typical activities: foster parenting, tutoring middle school and high school students.
 
Neighbor’s Consejo
A bilingual and multicultural agency specializing in the prevention of homelessness in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area that helps the Latino community. Specializes in helping homeless men and women
who suffer from addiction, alcoholism, and mental health problems.
 
Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area
Mobilizes community partners to provide a wide range of services that offer hope and rebuild lives. Strives to create an environment where the most vulnerable find wholeness, justice, and self-sufficiency.
Typical activities: registration management, photography, designing creative centerpieces, setting up homes, truck driving, camp counseling, camp nursing.
 
Capital Area Asset Builders
Specializes in financial education and asset-building programs, including a five-class series titled “Money Management 101” that covers basic financial topics such as budgeting, savings, and credit.
Typical activities: teaching educational seminars on finance (in Spanish) at various Latino organizations in the D.C. metro area
Contact: www.caab.org
 

Sports and Recreation

 
Girls on the Run of Washington, D.C.
Youth development program that combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls. Core curriculum addresses many aspects of girls’ development — their physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being. Lessons provide girls with the tools to make positive decisions and to avoid risky adolescent behaviors.
Typical activities: coaching, planning the 5k race, being a “running buddy.”
 
GUIDE Program
Serves troubled children, at-risk youth, and families, and adults who have psychiatric challenges through programs that focus on prevention, early intervention, treatment, aftercare, and housing services and disabilities.
Typical activities: Tutoring, sports activities, psychiatric rehabilitation.
 
Special Olympics
Provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.
Typical activities: fundraising, coaching, training athletes.