United States citizens are some of the most actively engaged people on the planet in terms of volunteering and giving something back to their communities. There are many reasons for this, but one of the most obvious is because it feels good to volunteer!

Volunteers help keep vital organizations alive and flourishing to support everything from battered women shelters to maintaining a thriving art scene. Senior citizens and CDPAP patients who are looking for a way to get involved in the community to do something truly meaningful can start by checking out this list of 15 life-changing volunteer opportunities below. There’s something for everyone, so it’s time to get started volunteering today!


  1. Shaker Heritage Society


The Shaker Heritage Society works to support the community through historic preservation activities and educational programs and events. Our organization promotes the Shaker ideals of pursuing a meaningful life through equality, cooperation, compassion, and sustainability. There are a variety of volunteer opportunities for seniors from giving guided tours to assisting with craft workshops. Volunteers are also often needed for annual craft fairs that take place in July, September, and December.


  1. USS Slater/Destroyer Escort Historical Museum


The USS SLATER is a National Historic Landmark that functions as an educational platform to teach visitors about how destroyer escorts contributed to World War II and the postwar Navy. Our organization works to collect, display, maintain, and interpret the artifacts and documents that define the role of destroyer escorts with an emphasis on authentic restoration and display of the USS SLATER DE766 according to her 1945 configuration. To accomplish our mission, we need about 120 local volunteers of all ages to actively assist with various activities from museum interpretation to ship and vintage equipment maintenance.


  1. Habitat for Humanity of Schenectady County


Habitat for Humanity is famous for its mission to get rid of substandard housing in the inner-city and help low-income families obtain simple, decent dwelling spaces. Habitat for Humanity is an ecumenical Christian organization that works internationally without regard to religious affiliation, race, or ethnicity. We are constantly in search of volunteers of any age who wish to serve the community and we welcome anyone who’s willing to go to work by swinging a hammer, preparing lunches for other volunteers, working on committees to raise funds, volunteering in our Restore, or organizing and helping with special events, or assisting with clerical or church relations.



  1. The Community Hospice


At the Community Hospice, our mission is to work with seriously ill individuals and their families during the challenging process of dying and grieving. Our goal is to enhance the quality of life and dignity of those we serve through compassionate services offered in part by volunteers. Hospice involves work with people who are in the advanced stages of illness and we serve individuals in Albany as well as the surrounding communities. All volunteers must go through a screening process and a short training program and they must be good listeners and have an excellent sense of humor. Reliability and dependability as well as the ability to work as part of a team are also crucial aspects of providing companionship as a volunteer hospice worker. Volunteer activities that seniors often enjoy include sitting and talking, making bereavement calls, doing office work, planning and organization of fundraising events, running errands, and preparing light meals.



  1. U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Albany (USCRI)


The volunteers who help us at USCRI in Albany play a crucial role in fulfilling our mission. We rely on volunteers to help refugee and immigrant families transition into their new home and communities by making them feel welcome. Senior volunteers can commit to ten hours per week of service or ten hours per year. Volunteer opportunities include administrative activities and office tasks, mentoring, providing transportation, teaching basic life skills, or English as a Second Language, providing legal assistance, functioning as a reading buddy or after-school tutor, technical assistance for the organization including pro bono website redesign services, advertising, and videography, home setup and more.


  1. Eyes Wide Open NENY


Eyes Wide Open NENY is an organization that focuses on raising awareness of human trafficking. We’re located in Schenectady County and we provide sanctuary, care, and easy access to resources for women who have survived sex trafficking. We maintain a creative arts thrift store with the guiding mission to provide healing and hope and our operations depend solely on volunteers of all ages. The store supplies all kinds of arts and crafts materials and every item in the store was donated while every purchase goes to fund a home for women who are struggling to rebuild their lives.



  1. Young Parents United, Inc.


Our mission is to invest in young families! We work to spur positive change among adolescent parents by providing empowerment opportunities, support, education, and practical tools. The goal is to help young parents end destructive cycles in their relationship, build parenting skills, become educated, and develop viable job skills to increase their self-sufficiency and hope for success. We work with both teenage mothers and fathers through case management and educational programming. Senior volunteers are called upon to help young parents access necessary social services, safe and stable housing, and arrange for subsidized child-care so that parents can complete high school. Additionally, volunteers may provide college planning or work with partners in the community such as local food banks and educational services to grow each parent’s self-esteem and self-understanding.


  1. SCORE Northeast NY


SCORE is a non-profit organization and designated 501(c)(3) that helps small businesses grow to accomplish their goals. Our mission is to provide free or low-cost confidential education and mentoring to help small businesses flourish in our communities. There are over 300 SCORE offices across the nation and approximately 10,000 volunteers help new small business owners by offering free business mentoring. We are always in need of senior volunteers with experience or education in business.


  1. Capital Region Sponsor a Scholar


Most students want to attend college but some promising scholars simply lack the academic, social, and financial resources to make it happen. Our organization pre-selects scholars based on academic promise and financial need and then we connect them to volunteers who provide various types of assistance from tutoring and mentoring to financial assistance that’s geared at changing lives. Volunteer mentors are the backbone of our organization. We require a background check and two references to be matched with a scholar and we ask that all mentors commit to meeting with their scholar from 4 to 6 hours per month.



  1.  The Free School


Located in Albany, NY, the Free School is the longest-running, independent inner-city alternative school in the entire U.S. our mission is to provide a unique alternative to traditional educational models by offering students a self-directed approach to learning. We are in need of senior volunteers and volunteers of all ages who are willing to give their skills and time across a broad range of interests and specialties. Anyone with a background in education or with a desire to teach is needed! And volunteers with special skills in art or music education or other unique areas of interest appropriate to school-aged children will be considered.


  1. Teach My Kid to Read, Inc.


Teach My Kid to Read is a non-profit organization that focuses on providing parents, teachers, and the community with the necessary tools to help kids with dyslexia (and without) to read. We offer advocacy and educational programming to build awareness of dyslexia  and general literacy in the community in order to spur broad educational changes. Senior volunteers and collaborators help with programming to build greater awareness in the community. Some volunteers also present and host community development events.


  1. Capital District Women’s Employment and Resource Center, Inc.


Our mission is to help women enter, re-enter, and engage meaningfully in the workforce. Volunteers are an essential part of achieving this mission! Every WERC committee has openings for volunteers and we would love to hear from you! Activities for senior volunteers include coordination of fundraising events, employer outreach, marketing, grant research, women’s fund assistance, social media networking, and more.


  1. Joan Nicole Prince Home/Schenectady Community Home


The mission of the Joan Nicole Prince Home is to provide a safe and caring residential location for terminally-ill patients who need a safe, comfortable, and caring home during the final days of their lives. Volunteers are a vital part of our program. We rely on volunteers to provide 24/7 bedside care to residents and help with cleaning, cooking, yard work, fundraising and more!


  1. Latitude Project, Inc.


The Latitude Project is a 501(c)(3) organization that works to empower poverty-stricken communities throughout Latin America. Our goal is provide these communities with the necessary tools, resources, and support to tackle challenges. Senior volunteers do not need to travel to Latin America to provide support for our organizations. Rather they can provide support from their own community! We are always in need of volunteers to organize events and fundraising campaigns at their workplace, in their neighborhood, or at another designated location. We provide assistance with these events, but encourage volunteers to have fun with fundraising!


  1.  Hamilton Hill Arts Center


At the Hamilton Hill Arts Center, our mission is to promote African American culture and art. We do this through propagation of knowledge, development, and preservation to enrich lives throughout the Capital region. Volunteers are needed to teach or assist with classes, function as hall monitors, clean up and maintain the center, assist with fundraising events, provide an internship opportunity or become a member of the interfaith community clean-up team organized by Temple 13.