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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 opportunities
  • Oktoberfest, Sept. 24 in Downtown Des Moines - Volunteer at Oktoberfest and support the Children's Cancer Connection. Volunteers must be 21 or older for this event. Each volunteer receives their own ticket to Oktoberfest, T-shirt, pint glass and one beer ticket. Sign up. 
  • Paul Morrison Spruce Up Event, Oct. 2, 10am-12pm. Meet in the parking lot of the Harkin Institute. All materials will be provided, Griff II will be in attendance, and each participant will get a snack. Register. 
  • Rock n Roll event to benefit individuals and families impacted by Spina Bifida, Oct. 3.  Event features a walk and adaptive sports festival. Shifts are from 9am-12pm and 11am-4pm. Lunch, T-shirt and mask will be provided! Help with setup, teardown, directing traffic, pushing people in wheelchairs, assisting vendors in sports and games, etc. text Missy Hughes at 712-251-5607 to sign up. 
  • Boys and Girls Club of Central Iowa Annual Talent Show, Oct. 7, 4-8pm at Jasper Winery. Help backstage, coordinate games, and work the registration table. Contact jlouis@bgcci.org
  • Witmer Park Playground Build, Oct. 28, 8am-5pm. Help build a playground for this great community space in the Drake Neighborhood. Sign up to volunteer here. When registering, use the password "Drake." Instructions and tools will be provided. Lunch will also be provided. 

Ongoing Opportunities

  • Book Buddy Program, United Way. Volunteers are urgently needed for this impactful opportunity. Volunteers will be paired 1-1 with a preschooler to read to. The volunteer will read aloud to the same student once or twice a week at a United Way-funded childcare center from 9:30-10am. Book Buddy runs from mid-October to mid-April with holiday breaks and Spring break. Sign up. 
  • 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 nextcoursefrn@gmail.com 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. 
  • Habitat for Humanity -  The Drake Habitat for Humanity chapter is recruiting volunteers for the semester. Following Drake guidelines, masks will be optional in outdoor spaces and required in indoor spaces. Learn more about volunteer opportunities. Contact megan.hartle@drake.edu or julie.lafranzo@drake.edu  
  • Everybody Wins! Iowa Reading Mentoring Program -  Mentors meet with elementary school students over the lunch hour 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. 
  • Evelyn K Davis Center Tutors - Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, 5-7pm, via Zoom or in person. Apply here. Please note that the application process includes a background check. If you have any questions, please contact Jason, jcvang1@dmacc.edu or 515-519-0302.
  • 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 t.gabriel@genesisyouthfoundation.org or sign up as a volunteer. Genesis is now located near campus in Hope + Elim Church. 
  • 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 lauren.mcdowell@unitypoint.org
  • 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 missions@hope-elim.org
  • 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 volunteer@sciowa.org.
  • Sprout Garden - Volunteers are needed to water, weed, and harvest, and lead activities for youth. Contact marlee.rutledge@drake.edu to volunteer with garden maintenance and minhanh.nguyen@drake.edu to volunteer doing educational programming for youth. 
  • 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 stacia.humphrey@drake.edu.  
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 amanda.martin@drake.edu. These would also be opportunities you could do with a roommate or friend. Contact Michaela at MDevaney@foodbankiowa.org for more information.
Remote/Virtual Projects
  • Tutors at Tawba Islamic Center - Tutor kids virtually in math and reading/writing on Sundays from 2-3:30pm via Zoom. Sign up. If you have any questions, concerns, or technical issues, please reach out to allie.shambaugh-miller@drake.edu
  • 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 on Drake's campus 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, Kiley Kahler, at kiley.kahler@drake.edu
  • 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 asunstrom@everybodywinsiowa.org. 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. 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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