The law is a service profession, and lawyers contribute to their communities in many ways beyond the practice of law through their leadership and volunteerism. While many law students participate in Citizen Lawyer Program's law-related Pro Bono Projects, we encourage students to explore non-legal related community service opportunities. CLP encourages student involvement in a broad range of community volunteerism, including the highlighted opportunities below:
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Johnson County (BBBS)
Big Brothers and Big Sisters change the lives of children facing adversity for the better, forever, by matching community-based mentors with youth to provide them with supportive and caring relationships. Adult volunteers are matched with children aged 5 to young adulthood, based on interests and personalities, and meet regularly with them for fun community activities.
To learn more about becoming a BBBS volunteer, please visit https://www.bbbsjc.org/.
Court Appointed Special Advocate Program (CASA)
The Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program is a state-funded program that recruits, trains, and supervises adult volunteers to represent children's best interests in abuse and neglect cases. Volunteers are assigned to serve as an influential voice in court for abused and neglected children, strengthening efforts to ensure that each child lives in a safe, permanent, and nurturing home.
CASAs are especially needed in Muscatine, Cedar, Jackson, Clinton, and Scott counties. To learn more about becoming a CASA, please visit https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp374015.jsp.
CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank
The CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank is a volunteer-driven organization based in Iowa City, IA, providing immediate and non-judgmental support for individuals facing emotional, food, or financial crises. CommUnity’s food bank distributed over 2 million pounds of food to Johnson County residents in 2020.
There are volunteer opportunities in the food bank (such as stocking shelves, assisting clients, helping with data entry, etc.) and as grocery delivery drivers delivering food boxes to clients in Iowa City and the surrounding areas.
To learn more about volunteering with CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank, please visit https://builtbycommunity.org/volunteer/.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is a nonprofit housing organization, which focuses on building and rehabilitating homes. Habitat for Humanity relies on volunteers to help build homes. Volunteers do not need experience and are provided with the tools and the instruction needed to complete assigned tasks. Habitat for Humanity also accepts volunteers at its ReStore, where volunteers help staff with small projects, unload donations, and help collect donations in the ReStore box truck.
To learn more about becoming a Habitat for Humanity volunteer, please visit http://www.iowavalleyhabitat.org/help-us-build.html.
Inside Out Reentry Mentor
Inside Out Reentry Community is currently seeking volunteer mentors (especially male mentors) to provide social, emotional, and practical support to citizens who are reentering society after being incarcerated. Mentors correspond, through letters, with an incarcerated individual who will be reentering the community to listen, provide non-judgmental support, and offer companionship. Mentors form meaningful friendships and help returning citizens overcome barriers, increase their confidence, and reach their goals.
Virtual training is provided, and because mentorship is done through letter correspondence, volunteers can mentor from home. To learn more about becoming a Reentry Mentor, please visit https://www.insideoutreentry.com/volunteer-with-inside-out-reentry/. To apply to become a Reentry volunteer, please visit this link.
Johnson Historical Society (JCHS)
JCHS is a private, non-profit group committed to serving the public by furthering an appreciation of the historical and cultural heritage of the Johnson County community. JCHS relies on skilled, motivated, and enthusiastic interns to assist with programs, collections, exhibits, and many other areas.
To learn more about becoming a JCHS volunteer, please visit https://johnsoncountyhistory.org/programs-and-events/volunteer/.
Oaknoll Retirement Residence
Oaknoll Retirement Residence is looking for friendly volunteers to visit with their residents. Volunteers would participate in one-to-one conversations and activities with Oaknoll residents, providing opportunities for engagement, interaction, and enjoyment for them. Activities may include having coffee, completing puzzles, reading, listening to music, and going for walks.
To learn more about becoming an Oaknoll Retirement Residence volunteer, please visit https://www.volunteermatch.org/search/opp3374329.jsp.
Ronald McDonald House
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois provide care and resources to families with sick children. Volunteers help keep the Ronald McDonald House clean, warm, and welcoming for families. The Ronald McDonald House is currently looking for volunteers to help with cleaning, doing laundry, running errands, preparing guest rooms, sorting donations, driving the shuttle van to/from the hospital, and helping with special events. Volunteers must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
To learn more about becoming a Ronald McDonald House volunteer, please visit https://rmhc-eiwi.org/get-involved/volunteer/.
Shelter House focuses on combating homelessness by providing safe shelters to individuals. Shelter House is looking for volunteers to help with several positions:
- Shelter Support: Duties include answering phones and directing calls, explaining programs and services to new clients and community members over the phone or in person, doing laundry, receiving, and sorting in-kind donations, and organizing storage areas.
- Job Lab: Duties include helping individuals search for employment opportunities online, apply for jobs, create resumes, and practice interview skills.
- Clerical: Duties include data entry, sorting paperwork, and organizing files in a quiet space.
- Specialized Volunteers: Volunteers donate their service skills to clients, such as offering free haircuts, massage therapy, counseling, healthcare, and personal self-care workshops.
- Translators: Serve as on-call translators to help translate conversations via phone and occasionally assist clients with in-person appointments.
To learn more about becoming a Shelter House volunteer, please visit https://shelterhouseiowa.org/volunteer/.
Table to Table
Table to Table is an organization that focuses on reducing food waste by collecting it from donors and distributing it to those in need. Table to Table is looking for volunteers to help with several positions:
- Food Rescue Route: Duties include interacting with donor and recipient organizations, boxing and unloading food donations into Table to Table vans with route partner, and transporting food to recipient agencies such as community pantries, shelters, and preschools.
- Shop Volunteer: Duties include preparing Table to Table vans for food rescue routes, cleaning and van maintenance, and conducting facility checklists.
- Data Volunteer: Duties include entering and analyzing data from food rescue routes.
To learn more about becoming a Table to Table volunteer, please visit https://table2table.org/volunteers/.
United Way of Johnson and Washington Counties (UWJWC)
UWJWC is a local, non-profit organization that brings people, health and human service agencies, government entities, and community groups together to people in need.
UWJWC's volunteer needs change with demand, so to learn more about available volunteer opportunities, please visit http://volunteer.unitedwayjwc.org/need/.
The University of Iowa has a plethora of volunteer opportunities listed on its Non-Profits webpage. If you are interested in learning more community service opportunities within the Iowa City area, please visit https://leadandserve.uiowa.edu/service/volunteer/list-of-non-profits/.