Interested in volunteer service for one or more years as an alternative to entering the workforce or graduate school? Read through the things to consider, learn about opportunities both in the U.S. and abroad, and check out some other helpful resources!
Questions to Consider:
Why do I want to volunteer?
A simple exercise is to create a list of reasons WHY you are thinking of doing volunteer service after graduation. Make sure you really want to VOLUNTEER.
What type of program do I want?
There are many types of programs. You will need to begin narrowing down those that interest you. Do some research into the varieties and begin to eliminate programs that do not interest you.
How will this affect my future career plans and goals?
Think about what you hope to gain from a volunteer experience and how it might fit in to your future career plans. What would be some benefits and losses of a volunteer experience on my future graduate school and/or career plans? Also consider whether you can financially afford to do service instead of working.
How will this affect my relationships?
Parents, families, significant others, and friends are all people that may be affected by your decision. Make sure to talk it over with the important people in your life.
Are there other questions or issues I need to consider?
If you have any physical or emotional health questions or factors that may affect your ability to perform certain types of volunteer work, make sure to discuss those with the program coordinators. Think about other factors or issues unique to you or your situation.
Are there other options I should consider?
Internships, summer programs, short-term opportunities, non-profit work, human service work, and religious life are all positive experiences related to volunteering. If you want more information on these options talk to the Community Service Learning Center or the Career Services Office.
Information adapted from http://www.bc.edu/offices/service/postgrad.html
Many Grand Valley alumni have participated in service after graduation. We will soon post some of their stories!
Recruiting at GVSU
Occasionally, service organizations will visit Grand Valley and host informational sessions to share information and recruit students. For more information on what organizations will be visiting campus, and when, check the list upcoming events on the Community Service Learning Center website or the campus calendar on the Grand Valley home page.
All Stars Project
The Activists for Social Development Fellowship is a competitive ten-week program designed to challenge ten recent college graduates (or those graduating in the spring) to be self-starters and make a difference by providing high-level training in development, fundraising, and youth organizing at a major national nonprofit organization with an outside-the-box approach. Positions are available in Bridgeport, CT; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Newark, NJ; New York, NY; and San Francisco Bay Area, CA. There is a stipend available that varies depending on location. The application can be found on their website here.
AmeriCorps is a domestic service organization that places corps members in community service positions all around the country. Corps members focus on a specific issue such as education, public safety, health or the environment, and they work on bettering this issue within the community they are serving. Corps members serve in this position for ten months to one year. To find out about more opportunities visit the application page here.
In Camphill, people usually live together in house communities. Community members include people with developmental and other disabilities, long-term coworkers who share responsibility for the leadership, managing and running of the community, short term coworkers who volunteer for shorter periods of usually one or two years. Coworkers are responsible for the health and care needs of the people they live with. Coworkers help provide support with daily living to anyone in your house that needs assistance. A scholarship of $5775 will be awarded to anyone who finishes at least one year in the Camphill program which can be applied to tuition or student loans. For a full list of available positions, visit the application page here.
Citizen Corps encourages citizens to engage in a number of activities to help prepare themselves and their communities:
A full list of volunteer opportunities can be found here.
City Year's primary goal is to build democracy through citizen service, civic engagement, leadership development, and social entrepreneurship. The program offers 17- to 24-year-olds the opportunity to engage in 10 months of full-time community service. Volunteers tutor and mentor school children, reclaim public spaces, and organize after-school programs, school vacation camps, and youth corps such as the Starfish Corps, Young Heroes, and City Heroes. City Year envisions the day when the most commonly asked question of a young adult will be, "Where are you going to do your service year?" City Year pays a bi-weekly living expense of $564 plus healthcare. To apply, please fill out the application found here.
Code for America is a new non-profit, and a new kind of organization. Our team is made up of web geeks, city experts, and technology industry leaders. We are building a network of civic leaders and organizations who believe there is a better way of doing things and want to make a difference. This opportunity is salaried and provides benefits and travel costs. Please let Code for America know you are interested by filling out the fellowship form here.
Covenant House is a crisis shelter for homeless, at-risk, and trafficked youth. They give shelter to youth up to 21 years of age, along with food, clothing, counseling, and other services; and provide these services with absolute respect and unconditional love. Faith Community is Covenant House's 12-month service year program, during which members work full-time in the shelters, while living in community with 3-4 other volunteers. Faith Community members dedicate their year to the program's three pillars of service, community, and prayer. Faith Community is located in Anchorage, AK; Atlantic City, NJ; New York, NY; and Atlanta, GA. Volunteers receive a $100 monthly stipend as well as $1200 upon completing their time at covenant house. To apply to live in Covenant house please fill out the form located here.
Green Corps is the Field School for Environmental Organizing. Green Corps runs a one-year, full-time, paid Environmental Leadership Training Program that gives instruction and experience to recent college graduates interested in launching an organizing and advocacy career. The program includes intensive classroom training, hands-on field experience running urgent environmental and public health campaigns, and career placement in permanent leadership positions with leading environmental groups. This opportunity is paid and benefits are also included. To apply, please visit the application page found here.
Devoted to building "simple, decent, and affordable" housing. Homes are built using volunteer labor and are sold at no profit. They seek to eliminate poverty housing and homelessness from the world and to make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action. Habitat for Humanity is committed to environmentally sustainable building and living practices, and works to encourage sustainability in the communities it is active in. More specific volunteer opportunities and information to sign up can be found here.
HealthCorps®' vision is to lead a nationwide movement toward a new generation of healthy young people. We were founded by heart surgeon and two-time Daytime Emmy Award-winning talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz and his wife Lisa, to combat the childhood obesity crisis. HealthCorps Coordinators carry out unique in school and community programming targeting high-need populations. Using peer mentoring to deliver a progressive curriculum in nutrition, fitness and mental strength, HealthCorps Coordinators give teens purpose, help develop human character and inspire an interest in health and culinary arts careers. To view open positions, please visit the career page here.
The Herbert Scoville Jr. Peace Fellowship is a competitive national fellowship program that provides college graduates with the opportunity to gain a Washington perspective on key issues of peace and security over a 6-9 month period. The Fellows serve as full-time junior staff members at the participating organization of their choice. Up to 8 Scoville Fellowships are awarded annually. Fellows receive active mentoring and networking from distinguished Board of Directors and former Fellows in addition to their stipend and benefits of a salary of $2,900 per month and health insurance, plus travel expenses to Washington, DC. Please visit the application website for information and requirements.
KIPP DC and E.L. Haynes public charter schools have joined forces to create the Capital Teaching Residency (CTR) program. CTR is an intensive year-long teacher training program based in the highest performing charter schools in Washington, DC. This highly selective program focuses on the areas of: Math and Science, Special Education, Early Childhood. Click here to view available opportunities!
Math for America is a nonprofit organization that has the mission to improve math education in secondary public schools in the United States. Math for America does this by recruiting, training, and retaining outstanding mathematics teachers. There are Math for America placements in Los Angeles, San Diego, Washington DC, and New York City. Click here to view the application to apply!
The Urban Fellows Program is a highly selective, nine-month fellowship which combines work in Mayoral offices and City agencies with an intensive seminar series that explores current urban issues impacting public policy. Program participants are diverse and come from all over the country to work in New York City. The Urban Fellows Program offers many different opportunities and can be explored here.
Public Allies mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. We are changing the face and practice of leadership in communities across the country by demonstrating our conviction that everyone can lead, and that lasting social change results when citizens of all backgrounds step up, take responsibility, and work together. A monthly stipend of $1300-$1800 is given plus health and child care. Visit the application page here!
The U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps is an elite team of more than 6,000 full-time, well-trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the Nation's public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. Driven by a passion for public service, these men and women serve on the frontlines in the Nation's fight against disease and poor health conditions. Positions for Public Health Service are paid, please visit the application here!
SCA offers internships in over 50 disciplines throughout the US. Conservation. The SCA has postings of internships all over the country - applicants must complete a search on the website to narrow down internship options. Internships are 3-12 month expense-paid opportunities to preserve environmental and cultural resources. Stipends and travel benefits vary depending on position. For more information on how to apply and to view the application, click here! Note: There is a one time application fee of $25.
Our mission is to build the movement to eliminate educational inequity by enlisting our nation's most promising future leaders in the effort. We recruit outstanding recent college graduates from all backgrounds and career interests to commit to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. We provide the training and ongoing support necessary to ensure their success as teachers in low-income communities. To apply please visit this link!
Teacher.org believes that, in order to have more inspired students, we need more inspiring teachers. We need teachers who are dedicated to encouraging conceptual understanding, rather than rote memorization. We need great teachers who can go above and beyond basic expectations. Most importantly, we need teachers who are willing to rise to the challenge and be innovative within education. If this interests you, then Teacher.org is right for you! To start, check out the awesome opportunities for teachers in Michigan here. In addition to Michigan, Teacher.org has opportunities in nearly every state in the US! To view the degree requirements and related educational programs please click here. Unlike many other educational opportunities, Teacher.org has a list of lesson plans for teachers accessible at any time on their website located here. Additionally, Teacher.org also offers a $2500 scholarship for Education majors to help pay for college expenses. To see all the rules and eligibility requirements please follow this link to the Scholarship page.
The Teaching Fellows is a project recruiting students who do not have backgrounds in Education that still wish to teach. Their programs exist across the nation, working to eliminate educational inequality by recruiting candidates for shortage-area subjects and high-need schools. Salary varies depending on opportunity. Click here to view the online application!
Think Impact is an international non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. that catalyzes social businesses in Kenya and South Africa. Founded in 2003, Think Impact has grown to become a leading player in the social enterprise sector. We provide young social entrepreneurs the most effective vehicle to build high-impact social businesses that empower community members in rural Africa. Click here to apply!
United Way is a worldwide network in 45 countries and territories, including nearly 1,300 local organizations in the U.S. It advances the common good, creating opportunities for a better life for all, by focusing on the three key building blocks of education, income and health. The United Way movement creates long lasting community change by addressing the underlying causes of problems that prevent progress in these areas. LIVE UNITED is a call to action for everyone to become a part of the change. To view a full listing of available volunteer opportunities please visit the volunteer webpage.
University Child Development School in Seattle, WA offers a one-year Resident Teacher Program that is ideal for recent graduates who value education and children and thrive when learning by doing. Resident Teachers team with mentor teachers in elementary classrooms. The Resident Program is a teaching experience with thoughtful mentorship and professional development opportunities.
Villers Fellowship for Health Care Justice
Villers Fellows will be given the opportunity to work on a variety of health care justice issues during their year-long tenure. The Villers Fellow works as a full-time policy analyst in Families USA's Health Policy Department. The Fellowship is based in the Families USA office in Washington, D.C. and is designed to provide the fellow with a national perspective on health care justice work.
The Wellstone Fellowship for Social Justice is designed to foster the advancement of social justice through participation in health care advocacy work that focuses on the unique challenges facing many low-income and minority communities. Through this fellowship, Families USA hopes to expand the poll of talented social justice advocates from underrepresented economic, racial, and ethnic minority groups, including the American Indian & Alaska Native, Asian American, Black/African American, Latino, and Native Hawaiian & Pacific Islander communities.
The White House Fellows program is one of America's most prestigious programs for leadership and public service. White House Fellowships offer exceptional young men and women first-hand experience working at the highest levels of the federal government. Selected individuals typically spend a year working as a full-time, paid Fellow to senior White House Staff, Cabinet Secretaries and other top-ranking government officials. Fellows also participate in an education program consisting of roundtable discussions with renowned leaders from the private and public sectors, and trips to study U.S. policy in action both domestically and internationally. To view the application requirements please click here.
The AIF Clinton Fellowship for Service provides a select group of young American professionals the opportunity to serve marginalized and underprivileged communities in India by working with NGOs for a period of 10 months. To apply for the fellowship program, please subscribe to the AIF mailing list by visiting this page.
Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals in Germany
The Congress-Bundestag Youth Exchange for Young Professionals (CBYX) is a fellowship funded by the German Bundestag and U.S. Congress, that annually provides 75 American and 75 German young professionals the opportunity to spend one year in each others' countries, studying, interning, and living with hosts on a cultural immersion program. Visit the application page here!
CIEE offers paid teaching positions in seven countries (Chile, China, Dominican Republic, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Vietnam) for university graduates looking to teach English abroad and immerse themselves in a foreign community. This program offers many different teaching opportunities in 9 different countries on 3 continents. Each has its own duration, stipend, and housing arrangements. Visit the teaching abroad program page for more information!
Cross-Cultural Solutions, also known as CCS, is a nonprofit working to address critical global issues by providing meaningful volunteer service to communities abroad, and contributing responsibly to local economies. To browse the different opportunities Cross-Cultural solutions has to offer, visit the destinations webpage.
The North American Language and Culture Assistants Program is an initiative of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain. The program is primarily devoted to providing grants for US and Canadian university students -majoring in any subject- and graduates with some proficiency in Spanish. Its main objective is to provide North American native English or French students with the opportunity to assist a teacher in the English or French programs in elementary, secondary or language schools in Spain (12 to 16 hours a week). For a full list of application guidelines, please visit the information page here!
Earthwatch Institute engages people worldwide in scientific field research and education to promote the understanding and action necessary for a sustainable environment. We believe that teaching and promoting scientific literacy is the best way to systematically approach and solve the many complex environmental and social issues facing society today.
English Program in Korea
The English Program in Korea (EPIK), affiliated to the Korean Ministry of Education, Science and Technology, was established in 1995 to improve the English speaking abilities of students and teachers in Korea, to develop cultural exchanges and reform English teaching methodologies in Korea. Visit the application webpage to view all requirements.
German Academic Exchange Program
GAIN was created by DAAD in cooperation with the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (AvH) to provide support for German scholars and scientists working in North America by facilitating networking within the community and improving the flow of information on current developments in higher education and new career opportunities at German universities, research institutions, and companies.
Global Health Corps
Global Health Corps recruits placement organizations that are doing excellent work in improving healthcare access and health outcomes for the poor. Placement organizations range from small grassroots organizations to large global institutions. Placement organizations identify an area of need, create a job description for a fellowship position, demonstrate the capacity to absorb two new fulltime staff, and identify a clear manager for the fellow team. Fellow candidates apply for specific positions with one of our placement organizations for which they have relevant skills and experience, and are selected jointly by GHC and the placement organization. Click here to fill out an application to become a fellow.
Global Service Corps' mission is to design and implement volunteer vacation and service-learning community development programs that benefit the volunteers and positively impact the communities they serve. Global Service Corps provides a variety of programs from short-term volunteer vacations, to two-week through six-month service-learning programs, to one-year fellowship programs. Whether you are brand new to the international volunteer experience, have decided to participate in a cultural immersion, service-learning program, or want to further develop your career in international development, there is a GSC program to meet your needs. Click here to view the application webpage!
Join volunteers in our non-profit network providing long-term, ethical service on a volunteer vacation abroad or a USA volunteer program. Live and work with local people on life-affirming service programs for one to three weeks. Extended-term service option for six to 24 weeks. We support service partnerships year-around through short-term volunteer teams, direct project funding, classroom support, child sponsorships and student scholarships. No specialized skills are needed to contribute genuine, long-term development assistance. There is a fee to serve abroad that varies dependent on the opportunity. Visit the opportunities page for more information!
Global Volunteer Network
The Global Volunteer Network offers service opportunities around the world. They currently provide volunteer programs through partner organizations in 21 countries throughout South America, Africa and Asia. The network continues to expand with new programs currently being researched and assessed. Their vision is to support the work of local community organizations in developing countries through the placement of international volunteers. There is a $250 application fee as well as a fee to take the trip that varies depending on location. Visit this page to start exploring the varied opportunities!
Globe Aware focuses on short term, one week volunteer vacations. These are specially formatted for working people with limited vacation time who want to volunteer abroad.
Hellenic American Education Foundation Teaching Fellowship
Fellows are at the College for a full school day (Monday through Friday 8.30am - 4pm, with occasional Saturdays for specific events) and teach in supervised English classes and/or work in the HAEF University Applications and Counseling Office and the HAEF Library, and have the opportunity to interact with a wide range of students at the elementary, middle, or high school level. Fellows are also involved as coaches and mentors in the Forensics Club - the College's largest English language theater and debate club - where they are able to connect with the students in a fun, creative, and supportive setting. At the end of the school year, Fellows take part in the English language Summer Camp in June-July. Visit the application page to learn how to apply!
Interac is Japan's leading private provider of Assistant Language Teachers (ALTs). Our highly motivated and qualified teachers serve thousands of schools and boards of education throughout every region of Japan, working with children from kindergarten to high school. Visit the application page here!
InterExchange is a nonprofit organization devoted to promoting cross-cultural awareness through work and volunteer exchange programs. For more than 40 years, InterExchange has been connecting young people from all over the world with life-changing international cultural exchange opportunities. In turn, we provide a unique answer for businesses, organizations, summer camps, and families in need of staff, interns, volunteers, camp counselors and au pairs. You will be paid a monthly stipend of about $400. To apply, or for more information on applying, please visit the information page!
International School Services
For over 50 years ISS has brought the very best educators together with the very best schools, pairing over 20,000 candidates and 300 schools in more than 150 countries worldwide. Now more than ever, ISS makes securing a highly sought international teaching career easier, smarter and more affordable. To register to become a candidate, please fill out the registration form here!
Japan Exchange and Teaching
The Japan Exchange and Teaching Program is sponsored by the Japanese government. JET places native English speakers in classrooms across Japan. The workers live in Japan for up to a year and serve as a language assistant to Japanese students. To apply to become an applicant for the JET program, please fill out the form on the application page.
Mickey Leland International Hunger Fellows Program
During each two-year fellowship cycle, 12-15 Leland Fellows are placed with international development organizations that include international and local NGOs, U.S. government agencies and multilateral organizations. Fellows work on a variety of food security issues, such as agricultural development, nutrition, natural resource management, agribusiness development and women's empowerment. Includes a monthly stipend, health insurance and travel expenses. Please visit the application page for updates on the fellowship process
Nanubhai Teaching Fellowship
We bring native English speakers to boarding schools in rural India. Fellows provide additional practice in speaking English to help students build both skill and confidence, which makes them more competitive with their urban peers in the Indian job market. Please visit the application page here for more information!
While the need has remained for volunteers to work in agriculture, education, forestry, health, engineering, and skilled trades, countries are increasingly requesting help in new areas: business, the environment, urban planning, youth development, and the teaching of English for commerce and technology. Volunteers serve in over 90 countries in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Central and South America, the Caribbean, Central and Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. Visit the opportunities page here to see available openings. *Recruiters typically come to GVSU's campuses in October and February.
Peacework Development Fund
Peacework strives to alleviate poverty and economic disparity in our world through innovative partnerships of higher education, corporations, and communities. They provide opportunities for superior undergraduate or graduate level students seeking an intensive individual placement for a minimum of 4 weeks. These placements are self-funded by the participant and require prior international experience or study.
Projects Abroad is a leading volunteer abroad organization. They offer a diverse range of international service projects, plus the opportunity to become part of one of our volunteer communities abroad. Their continuous presence overseas and unparalleled in-country support from international staff ensures that your experience will be far more worthwhile and genuine than those of the average tourist. Visit the application page to see available opportunities!
Rotary Peace Fellowships
Each year, Rotary selects individuals from around the world to receive fully funded master's degree fellowships at premier universities in fields related to peace and conflict resolution and prevention. Locations include Japan, UK, Australia, Sweden and the U.S. These fellowships cover tuition and fees, room and board, round-trip transportation, and all internship/field study expenses. The deadline to submit completed applications to Rotary International is July 1, 2015 for academic study beginning in 2016. Join a rotary club by visiting the application page!
This program offers a year-long innkeeper fellowship at a homeless shelter/halfway house in Washington D.C. Interns take classes at the Servant Leadership School, participate in monthly community-building activities and group reflection, and have opportunities to connect with individuals and organizations working to address the complex problems of poverty. InnKeepers also learn about addictive behaviors, explore their faith, and personalize their understanding of poverty and oppression.
Service Civil International
Provides short term volunteer experiences of 2-3 weeks in work camps in the United States and around the world, as well as long term volunteer opportunities. Volunteers pay a small fee ($80 in the United States, $195 for overseas work camps) and their travel costs, and are provided with meals and a place to stay. Note: the word "work camp" is used as a synonym for community service project
The EDGE Educational Academy is a premier after-school enrichment center in Taiwan, catering to international students needing assistance in English, math, science, SATs and more. EDGE teachers also coach scholastic teams, organize academic competitions such as spelling bees and math competitions, and assist with college applications. The EDGE prides itself on their curriculum- focusing on creativity, originality, and analytic thought- and on the quality of their teachers. The EDGE's goal is to help students excel in their coursework, attain their desired grades, provide opportunities to achieve and reach their full potential. please contact The Edge here if you are interested in applying.
United Nations Volunteers
The United Nations Volunteers (UNV) program contributes to peace and development through volunteerism worldwide. UNV contributes to peace and development by advocating for recognition of volunteers, working with partners to integrate volunteerism into development programming, and mobilizing an increasing number and diversity of volunteers, including experienced UNV volunteers, throughout the world. UNV embraces volunteerism as universal and inclusive, and recognizes volunteerism in its diversity as well as the values that sustain it: free will, commitment, engagement and solidarity. Based in Bonn, Germany, UNV is active in 140 countries. Register to be a UN volunteer here!
Voluntary Service Overseas
A British service organization that offers 1-2 year volunteer placements for experienced professionals age 20-75, in over 30 developing countries primarily in Africa and Asia. Volunteers are provided with a living allowance, accommodation, insurance and flights. Visit the application page here to register!
Volunteers for Peace
Similar program to Service Civil International. VFP organizes over 3400 2-3 week work camps in over 100 countries worldwide. There are many types of work available because projects arise from grassroots local community needs. A $250 registration fee covers most projects except those taking place in developing countries. A VFP membership fee of $30 is also required for placement. The registration fee covers food, accommodations and work materials for the duration of the project. Volunteers arrange and pay for their own transportation to and from each project.
WorldTeach is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 1986 in response to the need for educational assistance in developing countries. WorldTeach has placed thousands of volunteer educators in communities throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa, Eastern Europe and the Pacific. Volunteers are placed in schools and host communities that specifically request WorldTeach volunteers and would otherwise be unable to afford or located qualified teachers. Volunteers receive training, language preparation, and field support, empowering them to make an impact that will last long after they leave. To learn more about hoe to apply, please visit the application page!
Please visit the Career Center on Allendale's campus at 206 Student Services Building or on the Pew campus downtown at 101-B DeVos Center. The career center has a multitude of services including career and major exploration, internship and job searching, resume and cover letter help, interviewing and networking, and more! The offices are open Monday through Friday 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. To make an appointment to come in, call 616-331-3311 (Allendale campus), or 616-331-6708 (Pew campus).