Volunteer Opportunities for Counseling Psychology Professionals
We all like to give back. It’s a great feeling, but sometimes it’s hard to find the time! Here are 10 volunteer resources to fit any schedule, interest or skill set:
- American Red Cross: The Red Cross not only provides disaster relief, but supports military families, collects blood donations, and runs health and safety programs. Its mission says it all: “The American Red Cross prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.”
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: There are multiple programs that facilitate mentor relationships, but Big Brothers Big Sisters is one of the largest. The nonprofit has also been around for more than a century. Currently, there’s a need to match 21,000 boys age 6 through 18 with a Big Brother and around 10,000 girls with a Big Sister.
- Give An Hour: This group asks mental health professionals to give an hour of their time every week to help military individuals and their families. Give An Hour is focused on those impacted by current U.S. conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. (The Soldiers Project also supports post 9-11 veterans and their families.)
- National Social Justice Project Initiative (NSJI): Organized by Counselors Without Borders and the National Institute of Multicultural Competence, this project advocates for the oppressed and marginalized. NSJI is open to any professional or student in the mental health field.
- Project Hope: Another global nonprofit, Project Hope facilitates volunteers, medicine, supplies and training to aid disaster victims, promote wellness and prevent disease. The group has been around since 1958.
- Psychology Beyond Borders: A diverse organization, Psychology Beyond Borders works with government agencies and others to provide support after disasters, terrorism and armed conflicts. Its mission is focused on preparedness, response, prevention and resilience.
- gov: This is the online portal for United We Serve, a government initiative that caters to a broad range of volunteer interests. The site is powered by the Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency that promotes and fosters U.S. volunteerism.
- Universities: Your local college or university can offer the perfect opportunity to help the next generation of counseling psychology professionals. Even if you’re new to a mental health field or considering one as a career, experience in a university counseling center could help you connect with peers and build your resume or portfolio.
- org: One of the most prominent websites to search volunteer opportunities, VolunteerMatch.org sorts each one by cause. The site’s 29 causes range from “Health & Medicine” and “Emergency & Safety” to “Board Development” and “Politics,” offering multiple ways to give across the counseling psychology spectrum. (Idealist is also helpful to search multiple volunteer categories.)
- Volunteers of America (VOA): A nonprofit powerhouse, VOA helps more than 2 million every year through hundreds of human service programs. There’s an opportunity for anyone!
John Chambers has a passion for psychology. After graduating with an undergraduate degree in journalism and psychology from Eastern Illinois University, he covered human-interest topics, business, education and other stories as a newspaper reporter in the Midwest. John moved to Colorado in 2005 and transitioned into marketing before dedicating his career to the nonprofit sector. He is the director of marketing and communications at a homeless shelter in the Denver area, where he is involved in counseling and direct services. He is also a freelance writer and has a Master’s degree in marketing from the University of Colorado Denver.