Becoming a volunteer can make an incredible impact on someone else’s life, but have you ever considered all the ways that volunteering can impact your own wellness? According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, volunteers typically report greater life satisfaction and better physical health than nonvolunteers. From lowering stress to adding more movement to your day, volunteering is literally good for your health. Volunteering our time to help others gives our lives meaning and purpose, which has positive effects on psyche as well.
If you’re just as convinced as we are and ready to start reaping the benefits as you give back to the Pittsburgh community, check out the local organizations and programs below.
Downtown Beautification Saturdays/Sundays
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership’s Clean Street Team is inviting you to be a contributing team member. Volunteer with during one (or more) of the Saturday volunteer projects and be a bigger part of Downtown. Join in on the fun from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for Saturday Beautification Projects. The volunteer event takes place every Saturday. You can learn more and sign up through Pittsburgh Cares.
With a focus on advocacy, education, and community, Bike Pittsburgh is transforming our streets and communities into vibrant, healthy places by making them safe and accessible for people to bike and walk. There are plenty of active ways to get involved from joining volunteer nights, bike valets, Operation Illumination, and much more. Visit BikePGH to learn more.
Community Human Services
Whether it’s spending an afternoon in our food pantry, doing outreach with people experiencing homelessness, or using your skills and talents on a special project, you can help change someone’s life as a volunteer at Community Human Services. For more information, call Mel Cronin at 412-246-1686 or mcronin [at] chscorp.org (subject: Volunteer) to get involved today.
Pittsburgh Park Conversancy
Volunteers are critical to healthy, beautiful parks. The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy offers volunteer opportunities for all ages, interests, and abilities. The easiest way to get involved is to register for upcoming volunteer events. They bring the tools, gloves, and expertise — you bring the energy! To get involved, visit the Pittsburgh Park Conversancy website for more information.
Animal Friends is a non-profit companion animal resource center serving the needs of pets and people for more than 70 years. Their progressive programs have been nationally recognized and include humane rescue, shelter and adoption services for homeless pets, humane education, pet behavior classes, pet therapy, wellness programs and more. Volunteer opportunities include socializing with shelter animals, social events, pet-assisted therapy visits to nursing homes, building and ground maintenance, and much more. Visit Animal Friends for more information.
First Trinity Homeless Ministry – Sunday Rounds
Looking for an opportunity to impact the homeless in Pittsburgh? On Sunday Rounds, volunteers are led in a small group to provide lunches and conversation to those who are homeless and marginally housed. This is done by walking a regular route around Oakland in order to meet people where they are. Number of people served varies due to outreach nature of event. More information available on Pittsburgh Cares.
Take a Break in the Dirt
This seasonal, volunteer-run, respite and adaptive gardening program engages children with disabilities, ages 5-17, in gardening and nature-related activities while their family (caregiver) takes a well-earned break. Children are matched with a volunteer who guides and supports them, whether they have a physical, intellectual, or developmental disability. As a Green Thumb volunteer, you will work side by side with a child and creatively adapt the gardening activities to fit their needs. Typically, programs meet once per week for six weeks in the spring, summer, fall, and winter. For more information, visit Hope Grows or Pittsburgh Cares.
This member-supported local non-profit organization works to make it easy for Pittsburghers to get outside. They offer over 500 public programs a year including kayaking, hiking, biking, snowshoeing, fishing, cross-country skiing, and geocaching trips. Venture Outdoors has activities for all ages and skill levels, and they travel to local, city, county, and state parks around the region. Plenty of active volunteer opportunities are available including trip assistants, outreach, event help, and more. Visit Venture Outdoors for more information and to get started.
PUMPed to Run
Do you like to run? Want to donate some time to help others learn the sport? PUMPed to Run is a downtown Pittsburgh-based morning running group comprised of residents of local homeless shelters and PSL volunteer mentor runners. Through the leadership of PUMP staff, Allegheny Department of Human Services, and an Advisory Committee, the PUMPed to Run program seeks to encourage sportsmanship and a team mentality to help set physical running goals, promote confidence, and encourage self-sufficiency. To learn more email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit PUMPed to Run.
The CREW Missions
Volunteer your time, efforts, and abilities to serve within a local community. The CREW Missions help homeowners with small projects such as painting, yard clean up, weed whacking, trimming hedges, planting flowers, creating flower beds, or other requested projects such as painting foundations or digging trenches. For more information and schedule visit The CREW Missions.
Department of Public Works Litter Clean-up
Help keep Pittsburgh beautiful by volunteering to clean-up a local neighborhood. Not only is it a great way to be active but also connect with others in the region. Visit the City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works for more information and necessary forms.
Meals on Wheels
Meals on Wheels specializes in addressing the unique needs of America’s most vulnerable and high-risk senior and disabled populations. Fueled by a commitment to address senior hunger and isolation, Meals on Wheels provides the basic support seniors need to maintain their health and independence in virtually every community in America. To get started volunteering with a local site in your community, visit Meals on Wheels for information.
Girls on the Run
This national nonprofit program changes lives for girls in third through eighth grades. Its mission: to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum that creatively integrates running. Whether you want to volunteer at an event, sign up to be a coach, or support in another way, visit Girls on the Run at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC for more information.
The opportunities to give back and get moving are endless. If you have current volunteer opportunities in the greater Pittsburgh area, comment below to share.
Corporation for National & Community Service: www.nationalservice.gov/serve-your-community/benefits-volunteering