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 January 23, 2020 .
Sign up for our e-newsletter to receive updated information once a week during the school year.
Thanks to everyone who registered for this year's Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service. We're excited to serve with you on Friday afternoon as we celebrate Dr. King! (The project is now at capacity and no additional registrations can be accepted.)
Join us at 7 p.m. on February 25 at the Normal Theater for a free screening of the new documentary ACTIVIZED. The film profiles average Americans who surprised themselves by becoming activists.
We have several seats available on our Alternative Spring Break trips! These trips offer you an amazing opportunity to learn about a social issue, impact a community, and make some amazing new friends. You’ll even earn some valuable experience for your resume in the process. Our trips with openings include:
MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) is a non-profit with the primary mission of ending all forms of impaired driving, preventing underage drinking and drug use (with prevention education to grade school, high school, and college students), and supporting victims. MADD is currently recruiting volunteers for their Court Monitoring Program which involves observing the adjudication process of DUI cases and compiling information about DUI cases. This information can be used to evaluate how certain jurisdictions are processing and enforcing DUI laws. The goal is to use this information to prevent impaired driving. Volunteering for this program is a great way for students gain insight and experience about how the Criminal Justice System works. A volunteer would go to court, collect certain information about DUI cases, and report back to MADD staff. Volunteers are needed in Peoria, McLean, Knox and Champaign Counties. For more information, contact Terri Klein at (877) ASK-MADD, (309) 253-9404 (cell), or Terri.Klein@madd.org.
Unity Community Center
Unity Community Center is recruiting volunteers for spring 2020. This is a great opportunity if you need hours observing, volunteering, or teaching in an academic setting. Unity Community Center is a program of U of I Extension. Unity runs an after-school enrichment program Monday through Friday in accordance with Unit 5 school district schedule. Youth are in attendance 2:30 to 6:45 p.m. Volunteers are able to volunteer at any time throughout the evening schedule. To volunteer at Unity Community Center, register for and attend an orientation session. You'll also need to submit completed paperwork, verification of ANCRA online training, and three completed reference forms. If you have questions, contact Liz Repplinger at (309) 862-4041 or email@example.com.
Miller Park Zoo is hosting an informational meeting for individuals interested in volunteering at the zoo. The meeting will take place Saturday, February 8, from 10 to 11 a.m. at the zoo (1020 S. Morris Ave., Bloomington). The zoo is looking for talented builders, artists, and others of all skill sets and levels interested in helping with projects around the Zoo grounds. Volunteers can help run the carousel and concession stand or help out with animal care. For more information contact Silvia Schuh at (309) 434-2628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
McLean County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) trains and supports volunteers to advocate for the best interest of children residing in foster care. Their next CASA training is scheduled for February 25 to March 17. Classes are held every Tuesday and Thursday from 4 to 7 p.m. with one Saturday class on March 7 from 9 a.m to 3 p.m. at the CASA office. Please contact Eric Hansen at 309-888-5855 or email@example.com for an application or more information regarding the role and responsibilities of a CASA volunteer. Applications for the next training session should be received by January 30, 2020.
The McLean County Multicultural Leadership Program is sponsoring a community engagement opportunity for students interested in learning more about volunteering with Breaking Chains Advancing Increase (BCAI) School of Arts. Join them Wednesday, January 29, from 5 to 6:30 p.m. in DeGarmo Hall, room 52, for pizza and to learn more about opportunities to connect with BCAI. BCAI currently needs volunteers for grant research, bookkeeping/accounting, fundraising/event coordination, marketing, and more. To RSVP, please contact Christy Borders, assistant dean, College of Education, at (309) 438-3541 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 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 email@example.com for more information.
The Baby Fold has been serving children and families in our community since 1902 through 12 programs including foster care, adoption services, autism services, and special education schooling. Both group and individual volunteers are needed throughout the year for events, administrative duties, outdoor projects, and more. The Baby Fold is conveniently located at 108 E. Willow St. in Normal, on The Constitution Trail near The Lodge on Willow. Sign up to volunteer through this online form or contact Sam Guillory at firstname.lastname@example.org or (309) 451-7202.
YWCA Stepping Stones, McLean County’s only 24-hour sexual assault program, is holding free, 40-hour training for new volunteers. The training will take place Tuesdays and Thursdays, February 4 to 27, from 6-9 p.m., and Saturdays, February 8 and March 1, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. After completing the training, volunteers will be qualified to help in many different Stepping Stones areas: hotline, prevention education for McLean County schools, businesses, or groups, tabling at public events, office help, and translation and interpretation services. To learn more or submit an application, please visit www.ywcamclean.org/ssvolunteer.
Advocate Hospice provides a full range of compassionate care for dying patients and their families, and they are seeking to expand their corps of trained volunteers. A complete training program and professional backup is provided. The training sessions will be held Friday, March 6, 13, and 20, from 1 to 5 p.m. Pre-registration and attendance all three days is required. If interested, please contact Laura Rich, Advocate Hospice Volunteer Coordinator, at 309-268-2034 or Laura.Rich@advocatehealth.com. More information is available online.
Recycling Furniture for Families is looking for individuals with regular driver's licenses to be volunteer drivers. Shifts are mid-day/evenings and last 2.5 hours. Volunteers must be able to lift some heavy furniture. For more information, visit their website, call (309) 829-6500, or email 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 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.
Crossroads Handcrafts of the World is a fair trade store in downtown Bloomington. The store is run by volunteers and is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. They ask volunteers to commit to 2 shifts per month from either 10 a.m.-2:00 p.m. or 2:00-6:00 p.m. Volunteer duties include using the cash register for customer purchases, sharing information about Fair Trade with customers, and light cleaning duties in the shop. For more information, visit their website.
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 volunteers 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.
The Villas of Holly Brook (Fox Creek Road in Bloomington) is a senior living community. They need volunteers to help run activities, work in the kitchen, and assist with maintenance. For more information, contact Brianna Neilsen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (815)-980-2828.
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.
The Salvation Army provides services to families and individuals in the community in need of food or access to other resources. They are seeking short-term and long-term volunteers to provide extra support. Volunteers will assist clients checking into the pantry, shop with clients for food items, assemble food bags, document/organize donations, and clean.
The Salvation Army also needs volunteers for their Safe Harbor Shelter that provides day services to homeless individuals in the community. They are seeking long-term volunteers to provide extra support to those that we serve as well as staff at the shelter. Volunteers will greet and check in clients, act as a liaison between clients and case managers, log medications, answer the telephone, and more.
For more information on volunteer opportunities with the Salvation Army and Safe Harbor, visit their 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 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.
Junior Achievement is currently looking for volunteers to work in a 4th grade classroom at Washington Elementary and a 2nd grade classroom at Thomas Metcalf. The Thomas Metcalf volunteer would begin after Thanksgiving break and the Washington volunteer could begin immediately. Each volunteer would need to be willing to come to the classroom 5 times for approximately 30-45 minutes each session. The schedule is normally pretty flexible. Junior Achievement provides the program materials and lesson plans, the volunteer would just need to be willing to discuss the lessons and teach the activities to the kids. For more information, contact Kimberly Vogelzang at (309) 682-1800, ext. 105, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Advocate BroMenn Thrift Shop needs volunteers to help sort donations. If you or your group can help, please contact Carolann at (309) 556-7467.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com or call MarcFirst at (309) 451-8888 and request to speak to Beth.
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.
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.
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.
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 needs volunteers seasonally 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. March through October, they have open work days on Friday and Saturday, 9-11 a.m. Visit their Facebook page for more information, or contact Jan Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The League of Women Voters of McLean County is hosting a free showing of Iron Jawed Angels at the Normal Theater on Wednesday, January 22, at 6:30 p.m. The film depicts the struggles endured by activists fighting for the right to vote for women. An informal conversation will take place at Medici following the film.
Senior Professionals and the American Democracy Project at Illinois State University are accepting applications for 2020 Civic Engagement Service Learning Grants. Illinois State University Registered Student Organizations or students participating in an in-course project are eligible to apply. Projects must take action on social issues to improve, enhance, expand, educate and/or create awareness within Bloomington-Normal and/or McLean County and be student-led. The deadline to apply is 3 p.m. on February 7. For more information and to apply, see the "News and Announcements" section of the Senior Professionals homepage.
STEP-UP (Summer Teacher Education Partnership for Urban Preparation) is a four-week pre-student teaching fellowship, community internship, and summer residency program for teacher education majors at Illinois State University. Students selected for STEP-UP will live in Chicago or Peoria in a partner neighborhood where they fully immerse themselves in the communities in which they serve.
All current teacher education students who have not yet student taught are eligible. Priority application deadline is Friday, December 6, and final application deadline is Friday, January 31. More information and application details are available on the STEP-UP website.
On February 7, Home Sweet Home Ministries (HSHM) and Trinity Lutheran Church will host their fourth annual Night in a Car. This event raises awareness about hidden homelessness in the community and raises funds to support HSHM. Night in a Car is a homelessness simulation, and participants will "live" in their car during the overnight hours. To participate or to make a donation, visit their website.
Mark your calendars for the Career Center's spring events! We've highlighted a couple of events below. The full list is available on the Career Center website.
Do you know college seniors with a passion for community engagement? Please encourage your students to apply for Merrimack College's one-year Community Engagement Master's degree and fellowship program. The fellowship priority deadline for 2020-2021 is March 1, 2020. Fellowship includes full-tuition scholarship for the Master's and real-world experience linking theory and practice.
Summer Discovery is looking for students 21-years-old or older to serve as Resident Counselors for their summer programs. These programs are pre-college enrichment programs for high school students that last 3 to 10 weeks. Locations are available around the country. For more information, visit the Summer Discovery website.
The Coro Fellowship uses the city as a classroom to train the next generation of change makers. Today’s complex urban environments present constantly evolving challenges and opportunities, creating an increasing need for versatile leaders with the ability to forge connections and lead across the non-profit, business, and government sectors. Competitively selected applicants join an intimate cohort of 12 participants for an intensive nine-month program to build leadership skills, deepen knowledge of current urban issues, and provide a lifelong network of alumni who will support and accelerate your career. For more information, visit corofellowship.org.
The United Nations Academic Impact and the Millennium Campus Network proudly present the Millennium Fellowship. This program convenes, challenges, and celebrates bold student leadership advancing UN goals on campus and in communities. Millennium Fellows hone skills, take concrete action, and earn a certificate of recognition from the United Nations Academic Impact and MCN. Undergraduates are invited to apply; the application is open on a rolling basis through May 2020 with early applications strongly recommended (there were 7,000+ applicants from 1,209 campuses last cycle).
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 Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Scholars is a program that uniquely blends opportunities to improve health care for rural and underserved urban communities with experiences that differentiate students from others in their chosen health field. AHEC Scholars is a free, two-year program comprised of 40 hours of community-based, experiential training and 40 hours of classroom training each year, for a total of 160 hours. Students eligible for the AHEC Scholars program should be interested in learning more about rural and underserved communities; currently enrolled in a health professions degree or certificate program; and in their final two years of the program or from degree completion. Central Illinois AHEC covers all program expenses and offers up to $500 in stipends for completion of the program. For more information and to apply, visit the Illinois AHEC Scholars website.
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 email@example.com or (252) 314-3437.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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.