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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. 


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 opportunities
  • World Food & Music Festival, Sept. 16-18, Western Gateway Park. 

    The event offers international cuisine, live music and performing arts, cooking demonstrations, interactive programs, naturalization ceremony and much more. Volunteers needed for setup, teardown, and helping at various booths. Volunteers receive T-shirt and food tickets! Sign up here.

Ongoing Opportunities

  • Science Center of Iowa Daily Discovery Assistant, 8:30am-12pm and/or 12:45-4pm, Thursdays-Sundays in the summer. Help deliver effective and positive customer service, clean exhibits, be a general information source, remind visitors of social distancing and help staff with operational needs. Training provided. Contact
  • First Tee - Central Iowa is recruiting for volunteers for their summer programming June-August. Volunteers serve as positive mentors and role models to kids and teens of various backgrounds. Contact Mikayla Olson at Visit their website for more information on the organization. 
  • Children and Family Urban Movement Volunteer Opportunities - Volunteer to help prepare and serve breakfast at the breakfast club 6-8am. Help with the after-school reading program and mentoring M-F, 3-5pm. Be a weekly mentor with the 5th grade leadership program Mondays from 3-4:30pm. Prepare and distribute meals with the supper club, 2:30-5:30pm. Contact Aaron Sewell at
  • Drake Neighborhood Finance Corporation - Pass out flyers to homes in the Cheatom Park and King Irving Neighborhoods to promote the "Front Porch Loan" Program. Homeowners can receive matching funds to help make repairs to the exterior of their home. Times are flexible and many are within walking distance. Volunteers are also needed to fold flyers and stuff envelopes for the Invest DSM Block Challenge grant. Contact Diane Warner to volunteer, or 515-273-1361. 
  • Willkie House - build relationships with local youth at the Willkie House by assisting teachers in the classroom and helping youth with activities; and/or help with administrative tasks at the non-profit. Contact Jeremy at to discuss opportunities.  
  • Catholic Charities - Many opportunities exist to help new refugees in the Des Moines area get settled into their new community. Help set up apartments including carrying furniture, cleaning, making beds; pick up and deliver donations; organize furniture in the warehouse; help transport clients to appointments, grocery stores, etc. Reach out to Catholic Charities also accepts donations of household and personal items at their location of 3 College Ave in Des Moines, every Monday from 9am-4pm. Contact for a list of accepted items. 
  • Community Youth Concepts (CYC) volunteer or intern - Individuals will gain experience with direct facilitation, program planning, and the review and improvement process by assisting with event planning, creating marketing campaigns, developing programming, leading youth workshops, and writing grants. Find the application here.
  • Neighborhood Finance Corporation - there are 2 opportunities. One opportunity is to place NFC signs at designated houses. The second opportunity is more in-depth and time-consuming and would be great for an ongoing opportunity. It involves completing web searches, doing outreach to explain the lending program, and placing signs. Contact Diane Warner to volunteer, or 515-273-1361. 
  • Ronald McDonald House "House Helper." House helpers help with basic upkeep of the house (making beds, vacuuming, sanitizing, assisting families, stocking the kitchen, etc.) so it can be a relaxing home away from home for guests who have critically ill children in the hospital. Individuals can come on a weekly or bi-weekly basis and shifts are available for mornings, afternoons, or evenings 7 days a week. Volunteers are asked to have their Covid vaccine and wear a mask while in the house. Sign up here. 
  • NextCourse Food Recovery - collect leftover food from Hubbell and deliver to one of 5 local non-profits. Food recoveries take place M,W,F between 2-4pm, but typically only take about 30 minutes. Contact to sign up or learn more. 
  • Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa - help with homework, games, art, STEM, etc. Fill out a volunteer application. 
  • U.S. Committee For Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) Volunteer Opportunities - help refugee families get acclimated to their new community; help refugees with resumes or job paperwork; be an English as a Second Language classroom aid, help refugees navigate the bus system; set up apartments, and more! Complete a volunteer application form. 
  • 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 or sign up as a volunteer. Genesis is now located near campus in Hope + Elim Church. 
  • Free Meals - Hope + Elim Church across the street from campus, 2500 University, serves hot meals Wednesdays from 5-6:30pm and the Food Bank of Iowa provides non-perishables items. No ID needed - drive through for a hot meal and non-perishable goods. Volunteers are needed - contact
  • Food Bank of Iowa - Help sort food and bag produce on site. To see the calendar of openings and sign up, click here
  • 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 - Volunteers are needed to water, weed, and harvest, and lead activities for youth. Contact 
  • 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. 
Do-It-Yourself Projects
  • Food Bank of Iowa - Create backpack cards or T-shirt tote bags. To get the instructions for the backpack cards or T-shirt tote bags, please email These would also be opportunities you could do with a roommate or friend. Contact Michaela at for more information.
Remote/Virtual Projects
  • Everybody Wins! Iowa Volunteer Opportunity - 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. 

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.  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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