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10 Great Ways to Get Involved

A group of Fannie Mae employees volunteered at The Haven last month, making over 400 sandwiches to give out at the Welcome Center & on Outreach.

Guest Blogger: Michael O’Neill, Community Engagement Coordinator

If you’re like me, you hear phrases like “think globally, act locally” or “be the change you wish to see in the world” all the time; so much in fact, that they start to lose their ability to ignite action. But there really is something to this sentiment.

Meaningful volunteerism is at the very core of what we do at Friendship Place. As it’s stated in our mission, Friendship Place “empowers men and women experiencing homelessness to rebuild their lives with the involvement of the community.” The community – that’s you – can dramatically effect change; something we’ve seen time and time again at Friendship Place. From mentoring job seekers and bringing healthy meals in to our drop-in center to opening transitional apartments and advocating for those experiencing homelessness on Capitol Hill, our volunteers completely rock our world, and their generosity inspires us every day.

So, you want to give some time to a worthy cause? Here are 10 great ways you can get involved:

  1. Mentor a participant – Getting back on your feet isn’t easy. We will match you with a recently housed participant who has asked for a mentor to guide them in their transition out of homelessness.
  2. Spend some time at the Welcome Center – From Monday-Friday, we provide drop-in services to anyone who needs them. Our volunteers man the front desk, directing calls and greeting participants & guests.
  3. Organize a fundraising/friend-raising event – Are you in a club or group? Work hand-in-hand with staff to organize a Help the Homeless event to raise funds, friends, and awareness.
  4. Help with donations – Friendship Place receives generous donations from local businesses and schools almost everyday. We urgently need volunteers who can pick up the donated items and bring them to our Welcome Center, as well as volunteers who can help us sort and organize these donations.
  5. Join our chauffeur team – Sometimes our housed participants need rides to the grocery store, doctor’s appointments or the laundromat. Our chauffeur team provides transportation during specified time slots.
  6. Coach job seekers on resume writing and interview skills – Our AimHire Job Placement Program is brimming with participants eager to secure employment. Volunteers play an essential role in helping participants to market their skills to employers – both on paper and in person.
  7. Move people “on up” – Our volunteers tell us how amazing it is to help participants move into their own apartments. This “moving crew” helps participants pack, move, and set up their new apartments.
  8. Keep things clean – Some elderly, disabled, or ill participants in our housing programs need help keeping their living spaces tidy. We invite small groups to spend a day (or sometimes two) cleaning and organizing.
  9. Conduct a drive – It’s a great way to make a difference while adding your own creative touch!  For example, one of our congregational partners, Temple Micah, does an underwear drive for us every year, while a daycare center down the street donated toiletries along with cheerful artwork done by the kids. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box.
  10. Put your own idea into action! Do you like to take pictures? Are you an amazing cook? Do you enjoy interior designing and organizing? Are you experienced in acupuncture? Incredible value has been added to our organization because of people who have taken their unique ideas and put them in action. Give me a call or send me an email about the ways you’d like to get involved!

Comment below, or contact me here to continue the conversation. Hope to hear from a lot of you!

— Michael

P.S. If you’re an undergrad/grad student, we are now accepting applications for Fall 2012 interns (apply here) in Communications, Advocacy, Community Engagement (with me!) and Job Placement. Don’t delay – apply today!

P.P.S. If you’d like to learn more about ending homelessness by acting locally, check out a great blog written for the Huffington Post by Friendship Place Executive Director, Jean-Michel Giraud: Ending US Homelessness Starts Locally.

Your Donation Helps End Homelessness!

Your support for Friendship Place has a lasting impact. In 2023, our programs ended or prevented homelessness for 4,993 people, including 1,507 children in families and 670 veterans. We empowered 167 people experiencing or at risk of homelessness to get jobs through innovative, state-of-the-art job placement services. Make a donation today in support of our work to end homelessness. Questions? Please feel free to call our fundraising office, 202.957.7834.

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