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Volunteer Opportunities

There are many benefits to volunteering while you are in college! At Drake we work reciprocally with local neighborhoods and community organizations to identify opportunities for students to serve. Annually, Drake partners with over 100 community agencies and schools on a variety of projects from lunch hour reading programs with kids at King elementary to building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Whatever your interest there is an opportunity for you to get involved! Check out below for some of the requests we've received recently or search the United Way of Central Iowa Volunteer Hub for 100s of opportunities. 

Volunteering in times of Coronavirus

If you're looking to volunteer this year or partner with a non-profit organization, please watch this 3-minute training video first and read these safety tips

We encourage you to wear Drake gear as you volunteer out in the community to celebrate our Bulldog pride. 

One-time Volunteer Opportunities
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities:
In-Person Opportunities
  • Children & Family Urban Movement Reading Mentors: Meet one on one with your mentee (virtually during COVID) and read books, while supporting literacy skills in an enthusiastic and caring environment. Please contact Marty Katz at for more information. 
  • UnityPoint HELP Program Volunteers: The HELP Program was developed by Yale University to prevent delirium and physical decline in hospitalized older patients. Delirium is a significant contributor to longer hospital stays and a more difficult recovery. Volunteers are specially trained to carry out daily interactions and recommended activities for HELP patients. Volunteers must apply and complete onboarding process. A commitment of 2-4 hours per week for 6 months is required. Contact
  • UnityPoint Patient and Family Support Team Volunteer: Set up Zoom video calls with patients' families and friends and set up iPad or provide technology assistance; provide companionship. Must be available for a 3-hour shift each week for 2 semesters. Contact
  • Free Meals - Hope + Elim Church across the street from campus, 2500 University, will begin serving hot meals Wednesdays from 5-6pm starting March 3. No ID needed - drive through for a hot meal and non-perishable goods. Volunteers are needed - contact
  • Eat Greater Des Moines - Operation: Fresh Produce Drop. Wednesdays from 10am-2pm. Volunteers will load and unload 30-pound boxes of produce, dairy and meat to partners using a drive-through method. Wear a face mask, close-toed shoes, and warm clothes. Sign up. 
  • Food Bank of Iowa - Help sort food and bag produce on site. To see the calendar of openings and sign up, click here
  • Habitat for Humanity - The Drake Habitat for Humanity chapter is recruiting volunteers for the semester. Covid precautions are in place - all events are outdoors, masks are required, and there is a cap of 10 people at a time. Learn more about volunteer opportunities.  Contact or with any questions. 
  • Science Center of Iowa needs volunteers to help deliver customer service, clean exhibits, be a general source of information, remind visitors to social distance, etc.  Training required. Contact
  • Sprout Garden - starting later this Spring, there will be opportunities to volunteer in the Sprout Garden on campus. Volunteers are needed to water, weed, and harvest, and lead activities for youth. Contact
  • Joshua Christian Academy - Joshua Christian Academy, housed in Hope Lutheran Church across from campus, is looking for volunteers to help with morning check-in from 7:15-8:15am, and lunch/recess from 11:15am-12:30pm. Looking for consistent volunteers. Reach out to Kourtney Perry at
  • Drop off canned goods and toiletries to one of the Drake Neighborhood's Little Free Pantries, or a little library or little pantry in your own community. Does your student organization, group, or department want to "adopt" a pantry for a week this spring? Reach out to  
Do-It-Yourself Projects
Remote/Virtual Projects
  • Tutor Hero - Evelyn K Davis Center for Working Families - Tutor Heroes, a free tutoring program for 6-12th graders, will offer free virtual tutoring this year. Tutors need to be available from 5-7pm on either Tuesdays or Thursdays. Seeking subject matter experts in Maths, Sciences, and Spanish. Apply here. Contact Jason at with questions. 
  • Everybody Wins! Iowa Volunteer Opps:
    • Power Read Online - Mentors meet online for 30-45 minutes via Zoom each week to engage in literacy activities and conversation with a student. Mentors are paired with the same student each week. 1 semester commitment required. Apply here. 
    • Pen Pals - Mentors and students will write letters back and forth to each other on a bi-weekly basis
    • Make Reading Videos - Make a video of your favorite children's picture book that you think a student in grades K through 5 would enjoy. Start with an introduction stating the title and author, then read the book (either by acting the book or simply reading it). End with a note of encouragement for the students. OR, make a video telling about your favorite children's book - again start with an introduction that states the title and author, and then tell about the book and why you enjoy it. End with a note of encouragement. Send videos to Email Anna at that email address with any questions. 
  • Willkie House Tutoring Opportunity - The Willkie House will be opening for all day programming during their 'virtual learning' days. They are seeking volunteers that can work with youth either in person or virtually to assist with tutoring. Due to COVID, they will be doing temperature checks, require masks, and group social distancing. Volunteers are needed Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 12:45 to 3:00 pm. Contact for more information on how to get involved.

  • Genesis Youth Foundation - Looking for someone who is patient, open-minded, adaptable, and kind to tutor students in all subjects including ESL. The goal is to help students increase their grade level, advance their college readiness, and help them with everyday class assignments. There will be virtual and in-person options. If interested contact
  • Tutors at Tawba Islamic Center - Tutor kids VIRTUALLY in math and reading/writing on Sundays at 2pm. Sign up. If you have any questions, concerns, or technical issues, please reach out to
  • IRIS, a free radio reading service that reads print information aloud to visually impaired listeners throughout Iowa is looking for volunteers! Each morning Monday-Friday an IRIS volunteer records themselves reading the Council Bluffs newspaper that will later be aired on the radio for visually impaired listeners. Reading can be done in-person or remotely, takes about 2 hours, and must be done before noon each day. Volunteers must complete a 30-minute training before their scheduled reading. For more information or to sign up please contact IRIS Coordinator, Taylor Fisher at
AmeriCorps Opportunities
  • Drake Office of Community Engaged Learning is recruiting for an 11-month, full-time Food Security and Sustainability AmeriCorps member to begin in August. Applications accepted on a rolling basis. Contact renee.sedlacek@drake.eduLearn more. 
  • Volunteer Iowa is recruiting for a Service Learning Coordinator VISTA. Help break down barriers to service and increase youth volunteering rates in Iowa. The VISTA member will have the opportunity to make a lasting impact on youth service throughout the state of Iowa, providing youth the pro-social benefits of volunteering while developing tomorrow's civically engaged leaders. Contact
  • Grinnell Education Partnership. Now accepting applications for five full-time, 12 month AmeriCorps VISTA Taskforce Coordinator positions to begin August 2. Positions will coordinate community projects, organize volunteers, and build capacity around one of five focus areas: Equity and Inclusion, Family Engagement, Healthy Readers, School Readiness, or Skills Gap. Be a member of a new cohort of VISTA members convening stakeholder task force groups to BROADEN THE REACH of community-based interventions and INCREASE THE EFFECTIVENESS of community agencies to align their respective resources to better support community-education priorities and improve equity for sustained change in Grinnell, Iowa. Contact Liz Hansen at for more information.

  • AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate positions are available across the state of Iowa, with several opportunities located in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City. Projects focus on priority areas such as preventing summer learning loss, combating hunger and food insecurity, addressing racial inequities, and responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. The positions available in the VISTA project are 8, 9, or 10 weeks, beginning in May or June, and provide a living allowance of $256/week, along with a choice of either an end-of-service education award or cash stipend. To see a list of available positions, please visit: recovery-effort-recruitment.
  • Willkie House in Des Moines is recruiting for a Summer Ladders AmeriCorps member.  This person will build the capacity of summer programs by developing and facilitating new, high quality activities that promote academics, social skills, health, and recreation. Term is from June 2-Aug. 20. Member will receive $3,000 living stipend and $1,311 education award. Contact for more information. 
  • Mercy College of Health Sciences is recruiting for a year-long full-time AmeriCorps VISTA member starting this July that would help start a community garden and develop and strengthen partnerships between Mercy College of Health Sciences and non-profit partners working on racial disparities and social justice issues. Contact Madison for more information:
  • The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants is recruiting for an Education AmeriCorps VISTA member for the Iowa Welcome Corps.  Apply today. 



Commitment to Racial Justice

The Office of Community Engaged Learning & Service affirms our commitment to racial justice. The objectives of our office are for students to be able to know themselves, understand the complexities of the world, and take creative action. This newsletter shares ideas on how individuals can educate themselves on topics of racial justice and take action to create change. Visit the  for an Equity-Based Service Learning Toolkit and many other resources. 

Looking to participate in a demonstration or counter-demonstration while guarding your safety and health? A little planning can go a long way, visit the Office of Equity & Inclusion Website for tips on How to Stay Safe & Healthy at a Demonstration.

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