Summer presents volunteer opportunities

Haley Otman

For those who never found a summer job or those with some extra free time for the next few months, volunteering is a constructive way to fill the lazy summer days. Countless opportunities are available in the Allendale and Grand Rapids area with a variety of causes in need of assistance. These are a few organizations in need of extra volunteers during the summer months:

GVSU Community Service Learning Center

1110B Kirkhof Center, GVSU Allendale Campus


GVSU’s Community Service Learning Center provides students the chance to find volunteer opportunities and get involved both on and off campus. They organize Helping Hands, which is a group of volunteers that helps students move in to on-campus housing in the fall. The center also puts the word out about local places that need volunteers, such as the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park with their exhibits, data recorders for the Great Start research project, the Green Up! Clean Up! event and more. Local groups and companies can fill out an online form to be included on the center’s Web site and board postings.

D.A. Blodgett for Children

805 Leonard St. NE, Grand Rapids


There are many opportunities to help the local community with D.A. Blodgett, including the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring program. Other activities and events include a backpack and school supply drive so students will be ready to begin school in the fall, foster parenting, mentoring a pregnant or parenting teen and more. The Big Brothers Big Sisters program is nationally known, and this Grand Rapids chapter began in 1965. It places volunteers with a mentee between ages 5 and 15 who may have been through a lot and often just need someone to count on.

The Humane Society of Kent County

3077 Wilson NW, Grand Rapids


The Humane Society is eager to have volunteers both for office tasks and working with the animals. They look for dog walkers and runners, puppy petters to give puppies under five months old individual training and socializing time, phone operators, foster parents and much more. More information is available at their Web site,

Heart of West Michigan United Way

118 Commerce Ave. SW, Grand Rapids


The local chapter of the United Way wants to help our community in its focus on the “three critical areas:” education, income and health. It thrives on volunteers to carry out its missions, and events to volunteer at can be found online, at There is a specific section for college student volunteers, with information on finding a good place or event to volunteer. There is also a Facebook fan page, called “Volunteer Center GR.”

Child and Family Resource Council

678 Front Ave. Suite 210, Grand Rapids


The Child and Family Resource Council is a prevention-based group, which offers community education, resources to first-time parents, parenting skills classes to unmarried new parents, education for teenagers and more. The council needs volunteers in many different areas, from public relations and community events, to receptionists, to child care, to data entry. Prospective volunteers need to fill out a volunteer profile form to begin their involvement.

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