Local Service Organizations
Local Community Service Organizations
The following is a list of organizations in the State College and Centre County areas that provide service opportunities for students to get involved in the community in a meaningful way. If you are interested in working with one of these organizations, please reach out to them directly. If you are looking for other service opportunities, check out the Student Engagement App.
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- The Arboretum at Penn State
The Arboretum at Penn State strives to be a place of beauty and renewal, a venue for the arts, and a pathway to discovery and enrichment. Service at the Arboretum includes gardening and weeding; trail maintenance; invasive species removal; event volunteers, especially during Pumpkin Festival and Winter Celebration; and volunteers to lead groups through the Children's Garden. The Arboretum has regular volunteer days each Saturday. Can take large groups and are looking for more regular, on-going volunteers. Volunteer Info Sessions first Monday of every month. Summer Internships are available.
Volunteer Coordinator: Kelly Oleynik
Website: The Arboretum at Penn State
Requirements for Volunteers: If working in the Children's Garden, need background check clearances
- Bellefonte Borough
Seeking one-time/event volunteers to help with various projects within the Borough of Bellefonte, PA.
Contact: Donald L. Holderman
Website: Bellefonte Borough
Requirements for Volunteers: None
- Big Brothers Big Sisters
Big Brothers Big Sisters is a National Organization that establishes intergenerational mentorship within Centre County. The opportunity to serve as a mentor to a child in this area can create a lasting impact on children and families in the area. Volunteers will serve as "Bigs" to children in the Centre County area. This is a mentorship role, with the expectation that Volunteers commit to a minimum of one hour a week with their Little. Time spent with the Little varies according to the match. Examples include, time at the park, painting, playing a sport, board games, getting ice cream, crafting, or anything else that could be considered a fun activity for the child with which you are matched.
Contact: Vernel Smith
Phone Number: 814-237-5731
Website: Big Brothers Big Sisters
Requirements for Volunteers: Volunteers must have a valid Driver's License, go through the application/orientation process, and complete background checks as directed by the organization. Additionally, volunteers must be able to commit 1 hour a week for a minimum of 1 year.
- Bridge of Hope - Centre County
The mission of Bridge of Hope is to end and prevent homelessness for women and children with the help of trained neighboring volunteer groups from Christian faith communities. Volunteers are needed to help with fundraising events, to organize item donations/drives, provide child care at Bridge of Hope events, and serve on one of our committees.
Executive Director: Tirzah Gibboney
Phone: 814-237-HOPE (4673)
Website: Bridge of Hope - Centre County
Requirements for Volunteers: May need PA State Police and Child Abuse clearances
- CentrePeace, Inc.
CentrePeace exists to promote and model Restorative Justice. We will be happy to give student volunteers a tour of the facility and an introduction to how CentrePeace promotes Restorative Justice here at our facility and across the county and state.
Contact: MaryAnn Stringer
Website: CentrePeace, Inc.
Requirements for Volunteers: Volunteers must be 18 yrs or older, must wear clothes they can work in, and their outfits should be reasonably modest, since we have inmates here from the county jail.
- Centre County Historical Society
Centre County Historical Society is a community and volunteer based nonprofit educational organization that works collaboratively with local, regional, county, and state organizations in helping preserve and promote the area's historic, cultural, and natural resources. The historical society maintains multiple properties and needs help from volunteers to maintain the grounds and gardens. They also need volunteers for special events and special projects as needed. Ongoing volunteers (1 - 3 hour shift per month) are needed to be greeters and docents at the Centre Furnace Mansion.
Executive Director: Mary Sorensen
Website: Centre County Historical Society
Requirements for Volunteers: None
- Centre County PAWS
Centre County PAWS was established in 1980. For almost 40 years we have been committed to finding forever homes for cats and dogs, educating citizens on responsible pet ownership, providing spay / neuter assistance, and ending pet overpopulation. We are a non-euthanasia, member-supported, volunteer-enabled organization dedicated to the Promotion of Animal Welfare and Safety.
Contact: Megan Tomkiel
Website: Centre County PAWS
Requirements for Volunteers: Must be 18 years of age, must undergo training for their area of interest, must commit to a minimum of 30 hours of volunteering in a year
- Centre County Youth Service Bureau
Although YSB’s basic mission—helping children and youth—has remained the same for five decades, their services have evolved and grown. YSB staff members and volunteers continually assess needs among local youth and look for creative, evidence-based ways of meeting those needs. Over the years, thanks to community support, YSB has helped hundreds of thousands of local children and families turn the page to new chapters of safety, understanding, responsibility, and much more. Each year, dedicated staff members and volunteers touch the lives of more than 15,000 youth and family members through an array of prevention programs, family services, and residential homes. Big Brothers Big Sisters: YSB number one volunteer need. BBBS is a one-on-one mentoring program. There is always a need for volunteers who would like to meet for an hour or so each week with their Little. This volunteer opportunity is a one year minimum commitment. The first step in applying to become a Big is to attend a volunteer orientation. Orientation dates are on our website and you can sign up online or by calling 814-237-5731.
Bellefonte Youth Center: Drop-in youth center. Normal hours are 3:30pm-7:30pm Monday-Friday. There are also some later hours for teens on a couple of the days each week. Volunteers can help plan activities, cook meals, spend time mentoring the kids, etc. Penny Horner is a great contact at the center. She can be reached on her cell at 814-206-4722 (call or text).
Mountain Top Youth Center: Similar to the BYC, but in Snow Shoe. The center number is 814-387-4130.
Stormbreak Girls Group Home: Residential facility for girls ages 12-19. The staff are currently looking for positive role models to spend time at the home. Flexible hours based on your work and personal schedule. This program is located in downtown State College. Program Director Vanessa Szucs (firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-234-7929) schedules volunteer hours at the home.
Contact: Zach Barton
Website: Centre County Youth Service Bureau
Requirements for Volunteers: None
- Centre Helps
Centre Helps navigates the local safety net for our friends and neighbors in need. Whether in crisis or struggling to make ends meet, our community can always find help through the talented staff and volunteers at Centre Helps. We connect with our community through our 24/7 hotline, text, chat, and community collaboration. We all have friends that are suffering in silence. Our well-trained, compassionate team transitions those friends and neighbors from crisis to viability. The work of Centre Helps serves us all, whether directly or indirectly, by improving the quality of life in our community.We recruit volunteers at the beginning of every semester and start our training within the first month of each school semester.
Contact: Program Coordinator
Website: Centre Helps
Requirements for Volunteers: We seek long term volunteers - 3 semester minimum required. Child abuse and criminal background check
- Centre LifeLink EMS
Centre LifeLink EMS is a leader in the pre-hospital healthcare industry with the latest technology and equipment. We respond to 9-1-1 calls in the Centre region including the downtown State College area. Additionally, we provide special event coverage to major events in the area such as Penn State football games and events at the Bryce Jordan Center. Volunteering with our organization will give volunteers hands on experience with emergency services, healthcare, and contact with real patients. This is also a great opportunity to obtain patient contact hours for those who are looking to further their healthcare education. We respond to about 7,000 calls annually and frequently respond to other regions to assist crews with calls. We staff both EMTs and paramedics.
Contact: Alex Lieberman
Website: Centre LifeLink EMS
Requirements for Volunteers: Must be 18 years of age or older with a valid driver's license. Background checks will be conducted and paid for by the organization.
- Centre Wildlife Care
We are a wildlife rehabilitation facility that cares for compromised wild animals until they can be released back into the wild. We are looking for long term volunteers (min. of 2 hours/week) to help with animal care which includes feeding and cleaning cages. Work study and internships also available.
Contact: Robyn Graboski
Website: Centre Wildlife Care
Requirements for Volunteers: Volunteers must be at least 18, have reliable transportation, be willing to attend orientation, submit application and background check and be willing to be trained in area of interest.
- Clearwater Conservancy
Clearwater Conservancy is an accredited land trust, working in central Pennsylvania since 1980. We offer an excellent opportunity to think global, act local. Volunteers help us by working outdoors on streambank projects/planting, water cleanups, also helping with special events (set-up, logistics, promotion, etc.). We work year-round, and try to match interests of volunteers to our needs, and are open to working with individuals or groups.
Contact: Rhonda Rumbaugh
Website: Clearwater Conservancy
Requirements for Volunteers: Varies according to task; we provide details; training for most opportunities
- Discovery Space of Central Pennsylvania
We strive to provide a safe, and accessible space for everyone, and to provide equitable STEM education for all. Many children grow up not knowing that STEM careers are even an option for them. We hope that we will spark a lifelong curiosity, and interest in Science. Even if a child decides it is not for them, they will know any door is open to them. Volunteers will help to ensure safety, cleanliness, and a positive learning environment when volunteering with kids and families on the exhibit floor. May assist in birthday parties, field trips, camp, and in house educational programs. May assist educators in after school outreach programs. May assist "behind the scenes" with exhibit repair/design, marketing, graphic design. May assist with special events both on and off site. Almost all positions require helping with some clean up. We are a small staff, so everyone pitches in!
Contact: Madison Flaherty
Phone: 814-234 - 0200
Requirements for Volunteers: A Pennsylvania State Police Criminal Record Check, and a Pennsylvania Child Abuse History Clearance. We will provide instructions, and both are free to complete.
- Habitat for Humanity of Greater Centre County
We believe a decent home provides the strength, stability and independence that families need, and Habitat for Humanity’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live.
Habitat homeowners pay an affordable mortgage, receive financial education and help build their homes alongside volunteers. We need administrative, construction site, and ReStore volunteers on a ongoing and one time basis.
Contact: Stephanie Clevenger
Requirements for Volunteers: None
- Housing Transitions
Housing Transitions works to provide effective services that promote positive change for those willing to accept the challenges and opportunities necessary to achieve a more independent and self-sufficient lifestyle. Some of their services include an emergency shelter and food bank, case managers to work with families, transitional housing, and education and support surrounding these issues. Housing Transitions needs volunteers to help answer phones at their homeless shelter, to clean the transitional apartments, to help with large events such as their November 5k, and to hold drives to collect donated clothes, food, and funding for the organization.
Executive Director: Morgan Wasikonis
Website: Housing Transitions
Requirements for Volunteers: None
- Mid-State Literacy Council
The Mid-State Literacy Council is a nonprofit providing adult education instruction to the Centre and Clearfield Counties. The council offers basic literacy, English as a second language, computer literacy, financial literacy, mock interviewing, health literacy, and other family literacy services to adults who are in need of the most basic communication skills needed to navigate through their day-to-day activities. Volunteers are needed as tutors on a weekly basis for either groups or one-on-one teaching. Some short-term volunteer needs would be for their yearly children's book drive, the Crossword Puzzle Contest and Adult Spelling Bee Contest fundraisers, and to deliver boxes of books to local food banks. Mid-State Literacy Council has a lot of need for committed volunteers and provide a lot of valuable experience for those who give back.
Executive Director: Amy Wilson
Phone: 814-238 - 1809
Website: Mid-State Literacy Council
Requirements for Volunteers: Must be 18 years of age. To become a tutor, need 2 - 3 hour individual trainings and a commitment to tutor for at least an entire semester.
- Schlow Centre Region Library
We welcome one-time volunteers (usually groups), or long-term volunteers willing to commit to a position for at least six consecutive months.
Contact: DJ Lilly
Phone: 814-237-6236 *210
Website: Schlow Centre Region Library
Requirements for Volunteers: Schlow Library does not accept court-mandated community service requests. Long-term volunteers are required to secure background checks before beginning their service.
- Shaver's Creek Environmental Center-Penn State University
Shaver's Creek likes to connect people to people and people to the natural world. We encourage and teach nature exploration while striving to find the balance we should have with our fellow humans, animals and plants in this world! We are located off campus, 12 miles south of State College. We are located in the 7000+ acre Penn State Experimental Forest. Make sure that you have transportation to Shaver's Creek; public transportation does not come over the mountain and taxis are expensive. We can use volunteers anytime of the year, for a few months or continuously year-round. We have several weekend events throughout the year where a one-day commitment is all we need. Depending on which program the volunteer signs up for: Animal Care, Grounds & Facilities, Festivals, Programs. Check out the volunteer page at our website: https://www.shaverscreek.org/support-shavers-creek/volunteer/
Contact: Brian Sedgwick
Requirements for Volunteers: None
- St. Joan of Arc
St. Joan of Arc strives to make a presence in the community by empowering individuals and assisting those living in poverty, fighting hunger, and easing the transition of immigrants and refugees in Philadelphia. We are seeking volunteers for various programs hosted at St. Joan of Arc. Short-term volunteers are needed for our summer tutoring program for grades K-4. As a summer tutor, volunteers will: -Complete math and ELA activities with a small group of children, keep attendance and ensure your children are signed out by permitted adult, keep track of children’s daily objectives in the provided sheet, and have fun! We also need long-term volunteers willing to help in our food pantry every Tuesday and Thursday from 10AM-12PM. Volunteers assisting in this area will help prepare donation bags that will be given to members of the community, as well as help with the distribution of bags, and intake information (when necessary).
Contact: Jocelyne Rico
Website: St. Joan of Arc
Requirements for Volunteers: The required clearances for volunteers working with children are as follows: PA Child Abuse History Clearance PA Criminal Record Check FBI Criminal Background Check Safe Environment Training (given on site)
- State College Area Meals on Wheels
State College Area Meals on Wheels prepares and delivers over 55,000 meals each year to homebound persons in the Centre Region. Our biggest need is for help doing dishes, simple food prep, and putting away food orders. We need both short-term and ongoing volunteers who are available M-F between 8:30 am and 1 pm.
Specifically, we have the following opportunities this semester:
1) Assist with container gardening program for Meals on Wheels clients,
2) Assist with harvest and transport of fresh produce from local gardeners to food programs throughout the State College School District, including Meals on Wheels
3) Assist AmeriCorps Member with outreach to, and registration of, senior citizens in State College Area Meals on Wheels program.
4) Assist with, and attend, intergenerational programs that bring Penn State students together with Meals on Wheels clients to promote healthy lifestyles, community resources, and social experiences.
Volunteer Coordinator: Janet Baker
Website: State College Area Meals on Wheels
Requirements for Volunteers: Volunteers must be 18 or older. Work clothes, and closed toe shoes, plus a cap are needed. Long hair must be pulled back.
- State College Area School District
We have opportunities for volunteers to serve as ongoing tutors during the semester, on the same day/time each week.
Contact: Morgan Smith
Website: State College Area School District
Requirements for Volunteers: Background clearances are required
- State College Area School District CEEL Program
We have opportunities for volunteers to help with homework, free play, art, physical activities and more depending on need and interest. We are looking for ongoing commitment (at least 1 hour per week between the hours of 2:45-6pm).
Contact: Morgan Smith
Requirements for Volunteers: Background clearances required
- State College Borough Community Engagement Office
The Office of Community Engagement hopes to foster activity that promotes stable, vibrant, and safe neighborhoods and strengthens a sense of community for all residents. The office focuses on engaging students in community life to continue to better the neighborhoods of State College so that they are vibrant places for residents to enjoy and engage with. Volunteers are needed in a multitude of different ways including working events such as Lion Bash, participating in discussions with community members, liter sweeps during football weekends, as well as working on environmental and public works projects that the Borough does not have the capacity to complete. Can take large groups or individuals.
Contact: Autumn Busbee
Phone: 814-234 - 7191
Requirements for Volunteers: over 18 years of age
- State College Community Theatre
Overall, we pride ourselves on being an organization that offers educational recreation to all ages and identities. However, our events and shows have different themes to them as well! We are a fun group with many members from all walks of life! We are more than happy to have volunteers come work with us!
Contact: Kerry Clancy
Website: State College Community Theatre
Requirements for Volunteers: All volunteers sign Photo Release Forms, in case they are in photos or videos that are posted on our website or social media pages. (They are not required to sign this. If consent is not given, they will not be posted to our website or social media.) Some events (like set construction) require close-toed shoes and clothes that they do not mind getting dirty or stained.
- Student Farm at Penn State
The Student Farm at Penn State is part of the larger Sustainable Food Systems program at Penn State and is focused on bringing together people from diverse backgrounds and interests to learn about where food comes from and to apply their unique skills and experiences to a farm setting. The Student Farm is a living laboratory and community gathering place that provides hands on engagement opportunities for students and volunteers to gain skills and knowledge about food production, harvesting, and marketing. Volunteers at the farm typically help with the day-to-day maintenance of the farm including planting, weeding, and harvesting as well as helping with campus and community events. The Student Farm can take large groups or individuals and needs volunteers year round.
Associate Director, Sustainable Farm and Food Systems: Leslie Pillen
Website: Student Farm at Penn State
Requirements for Volunteers: None, wear work clothes and closed-toed shoes, don't forget your water bottle and sunscreen.
- The Mommy Shoppe
The Mommy Shoppe operates two ways: as a thrift store where anyone may shop, and as a charitable organization, where families may come and choose from a large variety of clothing for their children at no cost. The shoppe may be open when volunteers are working, so we are mindful of the customers and space constraints in our space. We have had quite a number of students volunteer with us from Penn State and it has always been a very positive experience.
Contact: Amy Ritter
Website: The Mommy Shoppe
Requirements for Volunteers: There is not handicap accessibility to the lower level where the shoppe is. Training is brief and can be done at the first visit. We will require a quick emergency contact form to be filled out at the first visit and updated if needed for subsequent visits.
- WPSU Penn State
WPSU Penn State is a PBS and NPR member station and an outreach service of Penn State, supporting the community as a trusted source for news, information, and education. We use both short-term and long-term volunteers for office work, fundraising (answering phones and on-air hosts) and event support.
Contact: Toni Irvin
Website: WPSU Penn State
Requirements for Volunteers: 18+ years old, casual/business casual dress, background checks required for ongoing volunteers or those working with children, training provided during onboarding.