Volunteer Opportunities in Metro Detroit

Sharing your time can make a difference in the community, and these 29 volunteer opportunities offer something for every interest.
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Photograph courtesy of Habitat for Humanity.

Looking for a way to help others and give back to your community? Volunteering your time with a charitable organization is a great way to make a difference.

Here, find 29 Metro Detroit organizations that offer volunteer opportunities in areas such as animal welfare, community development, mental health, and more, to help you work a little more philanthropy into your life this holiday season and beyond.


Animal Welfare

Bees in the D

Even volunteers with no beekeeping experience can sign up to be honey harvesting coordinators at the Detroit-based pollinator-promoting organization, Bees in the D. Duties include picking up equipment, organizing honey batches, and cleaning up after harvest. Other volunteer opportunities include newsletter writing, festival organization, and content creation. beesinthed.com/volunteer.

Friends for Animals of Metro Detroit

From its newly updated animal adoption and education center in Dearborn, this organization works to match cats and dogs in need with loving adoptive families. Volunteers work in the shelter feeding animals and keeping facilities clean or outside the shelter as temporary foster caretakers. metrodetroitanimals.org/get-involved/volunteer.

Michigan Humane

With adoption centers in Detroit, Westland, and Sterling Heights, Michigan Humane is always in need of animal-loving volunteers. Available opportunities include fundraising, event planning, fostering, and shelter maintenance. michiganhumane.org/get-involved.


Arts and Culture

Cranbrook Institute of Science

Educate visitors in the dinosaur-themed Explore Lab as a Paleo Guide, or bring new life to the institute’s rotating exhibits as a Gallery Guide. Volunteers can also sign up to help with special events and programs. science.cranbrook.edu/support/volunteer.

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit

Every year, this youth theater program offers hundreds of metro Detroit students the chance to take center stage as actors, singers, or set designers in a variety of creative programs. Volunteers are needed to mentor the theater’s aspiring young artists. mosaicdetroit.org/volunteer.


Civil Rights

ACLU of Michigan

Volunteers in communities across metro Detroit are eligible to join one of the American Civil Liberties Union’s local units, which work to address civil rights issues in individual neighborhoods via activism, public education, and engagement activities. action.aclu.org/mi-volunteer.

Fair Housing Center of Metropolitan Detroit

Volunteers at this Detroit-based housing equity organization help with community outreach events and workshops. They also act as testers, or people who pose as prospective homebuyers in order to detect discriminatory real estate practices. fairhousingdetroit.org/fair-housing-support.

Freedom House Detroit

Freedom House provides temporary shelter to asylum-seeking immigrants, along with support in finding permanent housing, jobs, and educational opportunities. Volunteer interpreters are needed to facilitate communication between staff and clients. freedomhousedetroit.org/careers-and-service


Community Development

Franklin Wright Settlements

Volunteers assist with food distribution, academic tutoring, senior outreach, child care, grounds maintenance, and more at Franklin Wright’s three Detroit locations. franklinwright.org/get-involved.

Habitat for Humanity

With outposts in Detroit, Mount Clemens, Canton, and Brighton, this nonprofit offers both short- and long-term volunteer opportunities on its home construction sites. Volunteers can apply individually or in groups. habitatdetroit.org/volunteer.

Services to Enhance Potential

This organization provides support to Dearborn-area residents with mental or physical disabilities. Volunteers are needed to help with employment training, transportation, community events, and more. stepcentral.org/volunteers.


Early Childhood Education

The Children’s Center

Volunteers provide tutoring and homework help at this Midtown center for children with mental and behavioral challenges. The center also seeks volunteers to sort donations and help with on-site beautification projects. thechildrenscenter.com/take-action/volunteering-opportunities.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan

Volunteers are needed to assemble DIY Learning at Home Kits for families without access to crucial early education resources. Volunteers then deliver assembled kits to local nonprofit organizations. unitedwaysem.org/get-involved/volunteer.


Environment

Clinton River Watershed Council

Volunteers collect garbage on land and in the river during weekly organized cleanups in Rochester Hills and Chesterfield Township. Opportunities in invasive species removal, water quality testing, and aquatic insect identification are also available. crwc.org/join-us/volunteer.

Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge

The visitor center at this Trenton wildlife refuge seeks volunteers to greet and guide guests, answer phones, stock brochures, and respond to questions and queries related to the National Wildlife Refuge System. fws.gov/refuge/detroit-river/get-involved.

Motor City Makeover 365

Volunteers with this citywide cleanup effort tidy parks, blighted neighborhoods, alleys, and playgrounds within the city. The city of Detroit provides cleanup supplies and trash removal. detroitmi.gov/departments/department-neighborhoods/motor-city-make-over.


Food

Focus: Hope — Food for Seniors

This program provides food delivery service to more than 40,000 seniors in and around Detroit. Two-hour food delivery shifts are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Volunteers must use their own vehicles and attend at least one orientation shift.
focushope.galaxydigital.com/need.

Forgotten Harvest and Alternatives for Girls

Volunteers are needed to load food boxes into distribution vehicles at Alternatives for Girls two Thursdays per month. Alternatives for Girls provides emergency shelter and crisis support for at-risk women and girls. liveunitedsem.galaxydigital.com/need.

Make Food Not Waste

Every Friday from 9 a.m. to noon, volunteers prep, pack, and distribute food to individuals and families in need at the organization’s Upcycling Kitchen, located inside Jefferson Avenue Presbyterian Church. makefoodnotwaste.org/donate/volunteer.


Individuals with Disabilities

Easterseals Michigan

Easterseals is in search of volunteers to support its Miracle League — an adaptive baseball field designed for children and adults with behavioral and physical disabilities. The program requires 20 daily volunteers. easterseals.com/michigan/ways-to-give/volunteer.

Friendship Circle

One of the many volunteer activities at this Best of Detroit-winning organization is for teens after school and on Sundays. Each volunteer is paired with an individual with a disability; together they participate in the center’s many weekly activities. Opportunities for college students and adult volunteers are also available. friendshipcircle.org/get-involved/volunteers.

Team GUTS

This Clawson-based nonprofit provides specialized fitness classes to people with disabilities. Volunteers are needed to lead the studio’s Cardio Dance Fusion class, which blends jazz and hip-hop styles of dance and Zumba. liveunitedsem.galaxydigital.com.


Mental Health

Judson Center

From its nine metro Detroit locations, this agency provides treatment and support for children and families impacted by mental and emotional illness. Volunteers should have prior experience working with children and must complete a background check. judsoncenter.org/volunteers.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving

Volunteers with counseling experience are wanted to lead weekly virtual emotional support groups for people who have been impacted by drunk driving. Groups meet every other week for 60- or 90-minute sessions. madd.org/volunteer.

The Trevor Project

This national organization provides mental health resources for LGBTQ youth. Volunteers commit to one three-hour shift per week, during which they provide counseling services via phone call, virtual chat, or text message. thetrevorproject.org/volunteer.


Mentoring

Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeastern Michigan

Volunteers provide academic support, art instruction, sports coaching, and general mentorship at this Highland Park facility for kids ages 6 through 18. bgcsm.org/ways-to-give.

Winning Futures

Career mentors are needed to guide local high school students through activities designed to develop job readiness skills and professional goals. Mentors receive training before every hourlong session. winningfutures.org/get-involved.

Women of Tomorrow

Mentors with Women of Tomorrow commit to one monthly hourlong session for one full school year, during which they pair with a co-mentor to work with up to 30 students at a time. Women of Tomorrow provides a curriculum centered on goal-setting, planning for the future, and developing academic and professional skills. womenoftomorrow.org/get-involved.


This story is from the November 2022 issue of Hour Detroit magazine. Read more in our digital edition.

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