Volunteering on the Hill

Opportunities for the New Year

If one of your new year’s resolutions is to give back to the community through volunteering, now is the time for action! Many Capitol Hill nonprofits post opportunities for volunteering on the website of the Capitol Hill Community Foundation (https://www.capitolhillcommunityfoundation.com/volunteer/). While these volunteer opportunities change from time to time, the following have been listed in recent months: 

  • Animal Welfare:Rural Dog Rescue’s mission is to save the lives of dogs, including stray dogs. They have volunteer opportunities for dog handlers, fosters (to keep the dogs before they go to their forever homes), event volunteers, and many other roles.
  • Capitol Hill Group Ministry:Several volunteer opportunities are available with this group of congregations and individuals of all faiths serving the spiritual and social needs of the community. Their Homeless Assistance Response Team (HART) is looking for volunteers to hand out food, drinks, and other items to those who are homeless. Another opportunity to volunteer is by preparing meals at Shirley's Place Hospitality Center, a drop-in center for families with children at 1338 G Street, SE.
  • Hill Center: The Hill Center is looking for volunteers to serve as docents (conducting tours of the building and grounds), assist with the distribution of postcards and posters to promote events, reception and light administrative duties, and gardening, among others.
  • Hunger and cooking:Several programs help those confronted with hunger – this is the case for Thrive DC and Capitol Hill Group Ministry. DC Central Kitchen offers plenty of opportunities to prepare meals for disadvantaged groups and Cooking for Life runs an after-school program to teach students and parents how to cook healthy food.
  • Mentoring: Several programs in Capitol Hill provide mentoring opportunities for youth.Programs that have been listed on the CHCF website include Community of Hope and Serve Your City, as well as Te Guio Mentoring Program which supports Latino youth in their quest go to college.
  • Photography:The Capitol Hill Community Foundation is seeking a volunteer photographer to help take pictures of grantee programs at various locations.
  • Poverty:A Wider Circle provides furniture for low income families. Various types of volunteer opportunities are available.
  • Rotary Club of Capitol Hill:Members often volunteer for a few hours with various groups, including recently the Salvation Army, DASH, The Moss Foundation, and Gift for the Homeless. They also volunteer their skills through pro bono work with nonprofits to address the challenges they face. Volunteers don’t need to be Rotarians to help. As a lawyer, marketer, social media expert, evaluation specialist, or professional in another field, you can help local nonprofits.
  • Seniors:The Capitol Hill Village, a membership organization that supports seniors in the Capitol Hill area, has a need for volunteers in many capacities. Capitolhillvillage.org. Seabury Resources for Aging offers opportunities to bring your talents and enthusiasm to help seniors at residential facilities in Ward 6.
  • Thrive DC:Thrive DC offers opportunities to help its homeless clients learn computer skills and find jobs. Another opportunity is to serve dinner for the shelter residents. Providing administrative support is another way to volunteer.
  • Tutoring:One in three students in DC does not graduate from high school. Tutoring can help students who are falling behind. Three opportunities to serve as a tutor for students are featured on the website: BEST Kids, Reading partners, Horton’s Kids, and Serve Your City (the later also offers volunteering opportunities under its athletic programs).

Additional opportunities for volunteering are available on other websites, including Serve DC (http://serve.dc.gov/). According to statistics from a survey by the Bureau of labor Statistics, in the US 63 million people volunteered in 2015 through or for an organization at least once. You can be one of them and make a real difference.  And make a note in your calendar to attend the annual Volunteer Fair for nonprofits active in Capitol Hill, held at the Hill Center each year in April. This past year, some 40 nonprofits participated in the fair.

Quentin Wodon is President of the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill which meets every second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 7:30 AM at the Dubliner on F Street. To contact Quentin, or to learn more about the Rotary Club of Capitol Hill Pro Bono Initiative, please send him an email through the Contact Me page of his blog at www.rotarianeconomist.com

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