Civic Engagement Opportunities
The Center for Community Engagement and Service Learning maintains a list of current volunteer and service opportunities for students.
Last updated on October 9, 2019.
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We'll also be showing a free film in October! Join us on October 9 for On the Basis of Sex. The documentary film is based on the life and early cases of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The movie will start at 7 p.m. at the Normal Theater. This screening is co-sponsored by Illinois State University's Women's and Gender Studies Program.
Trick or Treat for Change is our yearly fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of McLean County. Illinois State students dress in costume and trick or treat on Halloween, asking for spare change instead of candy. All donations go directly to the Collegiate House currently being built by the Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan student chapters of Habitat for Humanity. Registration is required, and you MUST be a current Illinois State University student in order to participate through Illinois State.
For this year’s Serving Those Who Served project we’re working with local VFW Auxiliary 454 to create care packages to send to active duty members of our military serving overseas! We need your help filling the packages with items the VFW currently needs from the list below. Simply drop off your donations at the Center (M-F, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.) between now and November 8. Thanks for your help!
On November 9, we will take a small group of volunteers to the VFW to organize and pack the care packages. We'll leave from the Center at 8:30 a.m. and return at approximately 11:30 a.m. If you're interested in volunteering, please register through our online registration form. Registrations will be limited to the first 15 people.
The McLean County Museum of History is partnering with Western Avenue Community Center and Conexiones Latinas de McLean County for the second annual Día de los Muertos Celebration at the Museum on October 26, 1:15 to 4:30 p.m. Volunteers are needed for refreshments, ushering, and other duties during the event. Visit their SignUpGenius page to register for a volunteer role.
The West Bloomington Revitalization Project is looking for new volunteers and board members to support their collaboration with neighbors and local stakeholders. The group is focused on impactful efforts that honor the Westside’s historical and cultural roots, build on the pride and strength of residents, and share a vision for a better quality of life for our neighborhood and entire community. They are looking to enhance their program areas of Food & Gardening, Books & Learning, Tools & Housing, Bikes & Transportation, Arts & Street Beautification, and Business & Economic Development. They also need help with finance, marketing, fundraising, and building strategic partnerships. For more information, visit their website. They are also holding an open house for volunteers and board members on October 16, 5 to 6 p.m., at their location (724 W. Washington St., Bloomington).
Want to volunteer for Habitat without doing construction? Habitat ReStore could use help unloading, sorting, shelving, and helping customers carry out their treasures. All proceeds from ReStore go to help local families have safe, affordable homes. Visit the ReStore website for more information on volunteer opportunities.
Many families in McLean County are in need of a safe, decent, and affordable place to live. You don’t need to swing a hammer to help Habitat for Humanity build homes for those in need. Volunteer in their office by answering phones, doing light filing, and helping out the staff. Learn some new office skills or utilize the ones you have while being an effective member or their team! Call or email Lindsey to get started: (309) 827-3931 or email@example.com.
The Red Cross is looking for volunteers to serve as Blood Drivers, transporting blood and blood product throughout the region, and Blood Donor Ambassadors, providing excellent customer service at local blood drives and assisting donors through the process. To find out more about either opportunity please contact Sasha Welch-Moore at (309) 322-0566 or Sasha.Welch-Moore@redcross.org.
Homes of Hope needs volunteers to help with their annual Draw Down Fundraiser on November 2. Volunteers are needed for set-up, tear-down, kitchen help, 50/50 sales, silent auction, black jack tables, and more. Most shifts are in two-hour increments. For more information, email Holly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local nonprofit For A Better Tomorrow is seeking volunteers who are committed to sustainable philanthropy, social justice, and eliminating the gap between abundance and need, both locally and globally. They are looking for a volunteer with experience in marketing, book keeping, website content, and forms maintenance, as well as committee members and potential board members. If you would like to learn more about FBT’s mission, please contact FBT/Terri Helregel at email@example.com.
Integrity Counseling is looking for front desk reception volunteers. They need both regular volunteers (2 hours or more per week) and substitute volunteers who can be called when someone is ill or on vacation. They especially need volunteers for late afternoons, evenings, and every other Saturday morning. Their reception volunteers answer our phones, do phone screenings, and help schedule clients based on counselor availability. They are flexible with schedules and are a great volunteer placement for retirees and students. For more information, call 309-827-9100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The School Street Food Pantry is an organization that is dedicated to providing students in the local community with the food, supplies, and knowledge they need to become self-reliant in the future. They are a volunteer-run non-profit operating out of the First United Methodist Church in Normal, right next to Illinois State University. Volunteer positions vary based on time commitment and labor conditions. The volunteer application explains the duties and commitments volunteers will have to adhere to when working for the pantry. Click here to find the application. Please contact email@example.com with any questions or concerns.
Heritage Health is looking for volunteers to socialize with residents and help with one-on-one activities. Volunteers are also needed to assist with bingo, crafts, word games, short stories, nails, table games, and more. Volunteer shifts are typically within the hours of 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (Mondays through Fridays) and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Saturdays). For more specific information on volunteer needs, contact Heather Clark at hclark@Heritageofcare.com or (309) 468-4125.
Heritage Health also currently needs volunteers to assist with a Halloween Party for their residents on October 31 at 2:30 p.m. Volunteers will help serve food, drinks, and assist with a costume contest. The event will last around an hour. For more information, contact Heather Clark at hclark@Heritageofcare.com or (309) 468-4125.
The Farmer City Haunted Forest is a haunted hay rack ride through the Salt Creek Area 21 campgrounds, near Farmer City, Illinois. The event needs volunteers to serve as pumpkin carvers (week of October 14), Line attendants, ride supervisors, runners/helpers, actors (bring your own costumes), make-up artists, and set-up/clean-up. The event takes place October 18, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; October 19, 2 p.m. to 12 a.m.; October 25, 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; and October 26, 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. For more information, Angela Testory at (2170 714-3669 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year, The Baby Fold’s Festival of Trees will celebrate its 26th year as a family-centered community event. All proceeds from the 2019 Festival of Trees will again help to provide positive changes in the lives of children and families served by The Baby Fold by connecting them with opportunities for a better life. This year’s Festival of Trees will be held November 22-24, 2019, at the Intestate Center in Bloomington, Illinois. The Festival needs hundreds of volunteers throughout the week of set-up (November 19-21) until tear-down (November 24). Volunteer sign up begins on September 1, 2019, at www.festoftrees.org. If you would like to sign up as a group, please contact Jess McLane at email@example.com.
The Illinois State University Police Department is looking for volunteers to take part in their Students On Patrol (STOP) Program. Student STOP volunteers will help provide safe walks, report safety and security concerns, and assist the Illinois State Police Department in the detection of criminal activity. The program allows students to gain real-world experience, cultivate professional contacts, and participate in optional trainings and ride-alongs with the police. More information is available on the department website.
Children’s Discovery Museum needs volunteers for week day, after school, and Saturday programming such as art studio, innovation station, and assisting with groups and campus. Volunteers are also needed for special events. All volunteers are required to participate in an orientation prior to volunteering. Visit the Museum's website for information on orientations this fall. Contact Amy Pitzer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Parkside Junior High School is looking for volunteers to serve as mentors and to provide a positive adult influence for Parkside students. Mentors would meet with an individual student during lunch (12 to 12:30 p.m.) a minimum of once per week to chat, play games, etc. For more information or to arrange a short volunteer orientation, contact Suzi Hesser at email@example.com or (309) 452-8321.
MarcFirst is currently looking for front desk volunteers. These volunteers are in charge of welcoming guests into the building and directing them to various rooms. Volunteers will also help answer phone calls and direct calls to appropriate departments. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Volunteer shifts can be for any amount of time; even 1 hour a week would be helpful. MarcFirst is located at 1606 Hunt Drive, Normal. Students interested in volunteering should email firstname.lastname@example.org or call MarcFirst at (309) 451-8888 and request to speak to Beth.
Sunnyside Community Garden and Food Forest was established in 2016 to serve the community of West Bloomington. It is a small urban farm that produces fruits and vegetables in an organic, sustainable way and gives them away to local food banks. Sunnyside is in need of volunteers to help with weeding, planting, harvesting, and the occasional odd job. If you like getting your hands dirty, this would be a dream volunteer job. They have open work days weekly on Friday and Saturday, 9-11 a.m. Visit their Facebook page for more information, or contact Jan Turner at email@example.com.
The Boys & Girls Club is a safe place for kids that offers fun and engaging programs for Club members at an affordable price. The Club offers a wide variety of programs to meet the needs of various ages and interests, such as leadership development and volunteering opportunities, homework help, computers, games, sports, dance, swimming, photography, arts and crafts, discussion groups, college prep, youth employment, movie making and delinquency prevention.
The Club needs volunteers to help support their organization and can utilize you in any way you see fit. If you love working with youth consider helping at an event, become a support volunteer or facilitate programming through their impact programs. In addition, there are other opportunities within the Club such as data entry, assist with mailings, cleaning, and organizing. For more information check out their volunteer webpage or contact Jenny Hall.
The Child Protection Network (CPN) is a volunteer-driven organization established in August of 1990 by the McLean County State’s Attorney, along with a grassroots group of community leaders. CPN’s focus is to provide financial resources that support the treatment and prevention of child abuse and neglect. CPN is looking for volunteers to spread awareness of CPN's mission, organize/plan/execute events, serve at events, and become CASA volunteers (advocating for abused and neglected children). For more information, visit the CPN website.
Help older individuals stay independent! Faith In Action is a local organization that helps seniors through spiritual, emotional, and physical support. They need volunteers to transport individuals to medical appointments, plan special events, assist seniors with shopping, visit with seniors, conduct basic office support, and more. For more information, visit their website, call Faith in Action at (309) 827-7780, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Sharing the Ability to Read (STAR) Adult Literacy Program looking for volunteers to help adults improve their reading, writing, or math skills, or to help non-native English speakers improve their English. Volunteer tutors work with individuals one-on-one or in small groups with support from STAR Literacy instructional support staff. Volunteers work mornings, afternoons, or evenings based on the schedule that is convenient for them and their students. For more information, fill out a Volunteer Interest Form.
Home Sweet Home Ministries is seeking volunteers for a variety of roles. In particular, they need individuals to help with their supper clubs or adopt-a-meals on June 26 and July 10. They also need kitchen assistants and servers for Fridays and Saturdays. Their Bread for Life Co-op could use help with errands (must be over 21 with a valid driver's license) or with event set-up, tear-down, or meal serving for the Co-op's upcoming anniversary celebration on July 19. Additionally, they have an ongoing need for volunteers to work in their Mission Mart or to help sort donations at their Warehouse, located at 1700 West Washington Street, in Bloomington. Individuals or groups up to 25 in size can sign up to volunteer anytime Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contact Felicia Young at 309-319-2821 or email@example.com for more information or to schedule a time to serve.
Adult volunteers are needed to answer phones on the 24-hour hotline. Volunteering your time on the hotline offers a rewarding experience and a great opportunity to give back to your community. A complete training program and professional backup is provided. Our training program teaches you everything you need to know, including communication techniques and information about community resources. The next 8-week training class begins February 1, 2018. If interested, the volunteer application is available online. Classroom training meets on Thursdays from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Questions? Call Kevin at 309-834-0541.
The Bloomington Housing Authority and Marcfirst work together to support adults with developmental disabilities through the Congregate Housing Service Program (CHSP). The Housing Authority provides apartments to 24 adults with diagnoses at the Irvin Apartments at 823 W. Oakland and 810 W. Jackson in Bloomington. Marcfirst staff provides services and training to assist the participants to become more independent. Therefore, volunteers are asked to commit to a weekly schedule. The length of time spent with participants would vary. However, volunteers should devote at least a half hour at a time. This opportunity is ideal for students to find out if they want to pursue a career working with people with developmental disabilities. If you have further questions, please contact Jen Mayer at 829-3360 ext. 208.
The Civic Life Project is holding the Democracy 2020 Youth Film Challenge, a national film competition for people from 15- to 25-years-old to produce public-issues-oriented videos that ultimately create a groundbreaking movement for young Americans to get engaged in democracy and to vote. Participants in the Youth Film Challenge are encouraged to increase their awareness of social issues and to understand how their voice and their vote can change society. Participants create a film to share their voice on an issue they care deeply about in the 2020 election. These films should have the power to convince young people of the importance of the issue, the reason to get involved, and also engage the audience to go to the polls and vote. For more information, visit https://civiclifeproject.org/.
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth has a variety of internships available in her offices in Belleville, Carbondale, Chicago, Rock Island, Springfield, and Washington, D.C. The Washington, D.C. internships allow interns to gain in-depth knowledge of how the U.S. Senate functions. Internships in D.C. are divided into five specialties: legislative, communications, operations, scheduling, and law/graduate. Additionally, Senator Duckworth's office offers a scholarship for applicants who cannot otherwise afford the living expenses in the city where the internship is located. Visit Duckworth's website for more information. The deadline to apply for Spring 2020 internships is October 25.
Join the newly relaunched Play for Peace student organization at Illinois State to promote positive relationships, develop leadership skills, and engage with other Play for Peace Clubs around the world to create non-threatening environments, free from fear, in which people of all ages can experience the joy of play. The mission of the organization is to bring together children, youth, and organizations in communities affected by conflict, using cooperative play to create laughter, compassion, and peace. For more information contact Sharon Mills, Central IL AHEC Director and Play for Peace RSO Advisor, or Coy Suprunowski, RSO President.
For more information about Play for Peace Global, visit www.playforpeace.org.
YWCA McLean County is hosting a Trivia Night fundraiser on November 8. Proceeds will support YWCA's Prevention and Empowerment Services Department, which includes Stepping Stones, Labyrinth, and YWCA's Prevention Education program. Teams can have a maximum of eight people, and the minimum donation is $200 per team. For more information or to register, visit the YWCA's website or the Facebook event.
Illinois PIRG has openings for Impact volunteers to work on the Get Out the Count Campaign. Interns will be helping to educate and engage students and citizens and to empower young people in civic engagement. Interns will help with media relations, coalition building, and event organization. For more information, contact Madelyn Amos at firstname.lastname@example.org or (252) 314-3437.
Are you looking for an opportunity to add some real-world experience to your resume? ISU's Innovation Consulting Community creates student teams to work on projects for local organizations. You can make a #RedbirdImpact while building your project management, leadership, and innovation skills. Check out ICC's current list of projects on their website, then click on "Get Involved" for info on how to join the team.
The Boys & Girls Club of Livingston County has five AmeriCorps positions available in their AmeriCoprs Project Learn program. One position is for approximately 33 hours per week and four positions are for approximately 13 hours per week. The Project Learn program is designed to help youth improve their reading and math skills through a variety of high-yield learning activities. These are unpaid positions, but AmeriCorps members receive a living allowance and education award for their service. For more information, contact Jordan Hornickel at email@example.com or (815) 419-5799.
Illinois State University is looking for a cast of current students, faculty, and staff to participate in various promotional and informational projects throughout the year. These projects may include print or digital projects, video productions, or social media campaigns. If you're interested in participating, fill out the online form. Individuals will be contacted with specific opportunities as they arise. Questions? Contact University Marketing and Communications at UniversityMarketing@IllinoisState.edu.
The YWCA needs additional teachers for this school year and would love for you to join their team. They are looking for child care professionals focused on fostering a positive learning environment for children. You can find additional information regarding before and after school teacher positions here and special education positions here. Please direct questions to Melissa Breeden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Illinois Campus Compact is beginning an AmeriCorps State Program. This program is for college students at ILCC member institutions who are passionate and committed to service. Selected students have one year to service at least 300 hours building capacity for campus and community partnerships . Once these hours are completed the student will receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. If you have any questions regarding ILCC Service Corps please email Marina LoCasto. Find more information online.