How You (Pittsburghers) Can Volunteer This Summer

Volunteering Is An Experience

Why do we love volunteerism? It’s a wonderful way to gain new skills and experiences that can help you grow within and learn more about your micro- and macro-community. There are always new and creative ways for people just like you (yes, you!) to donate your time. By doing so, you can positively impact others, amp-up your resume, and recharge your overall outlook on life. What’s even more exciting about volunteerism? You can spend time volunteering with your friends, co-workers, and/or family, so you are not only building new relationships with organizations in need, you are potentially sharing quality time with familiar individuals in your life.

If you’re looking to volunteer this summer, here are a few ideas that you can consider,

7 Ways YOU Can Volunteer

1. Summer Camp

Make a difference and make some memories. With this type of volunteering, whether you are a camp counselor or managing art activities, you will probably end up with a story or two. There are camps all around the U.S., and if you have wanderlust, you can check out camps outside of the States.

2. Get Your Guide On (zoo, museum, art galleries)

Being a tour guide gives you the opportunity to show what you know, share stories, give mini-lessons, and/or learn a bit yourself. When you are a guide you meet people enthusiastic about what you’re sharing, and you get to inspire strangers to want to learn more about the topics you are teaching. Think about all of the “dad jokes” you can practice on strangers!

3. Animal Shelter

When you volunteer at an animal shelter, petting bunnies and playing with puppies may not be the only thing you get to do! You’re also alleviating some of the pressure off of the often over-stretched shelter workers, giving them more time to focus on helping to promote all the animals that are up for adoption. Pittsburgh has plenty of animal shelters. If you’re interested, you can start with Humane Animal Rescue or Animal Friends.

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4. Community Gardening

If you have a green thumb, or would like to learn how to grow tomatoes, volunteering at your local community garden might be just right for you. These are wonderful spaces shared by community members who are working to make gardening more sustainable, while learning new strategies for growing plants. Once you figure out the rhythm of gardening (thank you, Alyssa) you get to experience a true feeling of accomplishment and triumph. Plus, you can gaze upon the beautiful plants that you helped to grow and say, “we did that.” All this while impacting your community in a positive, environmental way. Interested in Pittsburgh’s community gardens? Check out Grow Pittsburgh or The Pittsburgh Project.

5. Lifeguard Duty

Being a lifeguard isn’t for everyone. This type of volunteering involves plenty of training on CPR, signs to watch out for heat exhaustion, and more. As a lifeguard you carry a huge responsibility for protecting others. That being said, if that is something you know would play to your personal strengths, it’s a fantastic way to spend your summer. One necessary trait for any lifeguard is the ability to communicate clearly and react fast. Allegheny County hires lifeguards, if this sounds like a good fit for you.

6. Fire Station

Being a volunteer firefighter includes safety training, hours of hands-on learning, and emergency response scenarios. Along with learning how to prevent fires, you’re taught how to provide first aid and respond to other emergencies. Pittsburghers can reach out to Edgewood Volunteer Fire Department for opportunities.

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7. Thrift Store Volunteer

Volunteering at a thrift store can give you retail experience, which has its own benefits. Learning how to manage an array of eccentric customers will help you learn how to interact and communicate effectively with people from all walks of life. Not only will you be learning useful skills, you can also get first dibs on unique-thrift finds. Thriftique is a hip new thrift store in Lawrenceville that looks for volunteers throughout the year!

 

Additional Volunteerism IDEAS

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In case none of the above volunteer ideas interest you, here are a few more to consider:

  • Senior Centers
  • Hospital
  • Adopt a Block

Think Carefully Before Volunteering

Although you may want to support a cause you’re passionate about, be sure to consider your skills as well as you weaknesses. Putting yourself in an environment that maybe too stressful for you may cause more harm than good for yourself and others. Before dedicating yourself to a volunteer position, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I have prior obligations that require more time and attention?
  • Does this volunteer opportunity provide challenges that I will be able to handle?
  • What do I want to gain from this experience?

Remember, your time is always worth something.

Benefits of Volunteering

Volunteering your time as a family creates an early habit to help others in need. More than that, it can boost social skills and keeps you moving and active. Doing something that you already have some interest in also increases the chance that you make new friends or strengthen the friendships you already have. Even if its as simple as tutoring at a local community center, every act of volunteering you do can make an impact.


Volunteering your time is a way that you can connect with and better your community. At Conscious Collaborative, we believe that if everyone volunteered a little of their time to organizations in need or causes worth pursuing, the world would be a much happier and healthier place. If you’d like to learn more about how we implement our core values into our work, please check out our website.