Know of a great place to volunteer?

hand reaching upward

People want to lend a hand.

We got an email from Chelsea this afternoon:

Could you list places that need volunteers in the Albany area? I'm sure there are many Capital Region folks like myself who would like to give back -- and I have had a hell of a time finding out where. Google has failed me ... and it just shouldn't be this hard to help others!

Got any ideas? Post it in the comments -- and if you can add why it's good/rewarding/interesting to volunteer there, even better.

We're hoping to put together a list and a highlight a few places.

(Thanks, Chelsea!)

photo: Flickr user HAMED MASOUMI


Almost any non-profit in the Capital Region could use volunteers. Figure out what you like to do and what community issues matter to you. You can work with kids, the food bank, animal shelters, hospice, Literacy Volunteers, museums...the list is endless. Here are some websites to get people started:

Through you can search for volunteer opportunities within a certain radius of your city or town, and search by your skills and interests.

Channel 6 has a website listing volunteer opportunities in the area. It's called "World at Home" and there is a link to it on [However today it wasn't working.]

See also

many of the emergency services agencies in the albany area are in desperate need of volunteers.

a few years back i volunteered at the ronald mcdonald house in albany. im pretty sure they are always looking for volunteers (unless something's changed), and it was actually pretty fun. you can do things like bake cookies for the families staying there.

become a volunteer firefighter, or an EMS worker. We need you and it is VERY rewarding.

The Damien Center over on Lake Street ( because who WOULDN'T want to volunteer for an organization with a fundraising event called the Santa Speedo Sprint?

The Damien Center also has a program called PAWS, which provides people with HIV/AIDS assistance in taking care of their pets when they are physically or financially unable to do it all alone. How incredibly rewarding!

Please, please, PLEASE become a volunteer for your local Red Cross chapter! We need help all year long with disaster relief, blood drives, senior advocacy, class instruction, fundraising, and all the rest.

I'm an employee, and I can tell you our volunteers are incredibly dedicated, and care more about their neighbors than I'd ever have thought possible. They inspire me every day.

Just call (518) 458-8111 and talk to our office of volunteers--they'll help you figure out an opportunity that fits your schedule and interests. If you click on my name below, you can also check out our website to learn more.

Big brothers/big sisters are always looking for bigs. Being a mentor to an at-risk youth sure beats sitting around complaining about the downfall of society (which many of us like to do). 1 hour a week or less, and you will make a PROFOUND difference. Not trying to sound cheesy, but, it's true.

troy bike rescue! details at

Thanks everyone these are great suggestions!

Depending on the type of work you would like to do: Food pantry, work with children, arts, animals, homeless, hospitals, social justice and activism, environmental, education, literacy, etc.

There are tons of places to volunteer in the capital district but you need to know what type of volunteerism you would like to do:

All of the local community theaters always need volunteers, for everything from acting to backstage work to ushering and hospitality. You'll meet amazing people and have a great time as well, and they're mostly all not-for-profit so you're also doing a good deed!

The Northeastern Association of the Blind at Albany (NABA) needs volunteers to work one-on-one with blind adults reading and/or taping their correspondence. The fundraising staff has two events coming up in 2009: the Tulip Ball in May and a golf outing in September. Volunteers are needed to gather items for the silent auction component of each of these events. For more information about volunteering, call 463-1211.

Try Literacy Volunteers. They provide about 16 hrs of tutor training, a tutor guide book and picture dictionary. You can choose to tutor a nonreader or a non-English reader. Afterwards, you are assigned a student, then work out a schedule. I work with a Korean student and it has been a lot of fun.

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