By Rachel Jones


As the ease of summer sets in, you may find yourself with some extra time on your hands. Put it to good use by volunteering at a local nonprofit! Some of these organizations have highly anticipated, annual events in the upcoming months, while others are in need of dedicated, year-round volunteers to be able to uphold their missions. But they all need your support. Read on to find a project that speaks to you, and learn how you can make an impact in Pittsburgh, too.

Animal Friends

Photograph from Animal Friends

Photograph from Animal Friends

THE MISSION
To promote the animal-human bond and nurturing relationships with companion animals, which are guided by compassion; reduce the number of unwanted animals through aggressive spay/neuter programs; provide for the well-being of companion animals in need, while adhering to the no-kill tradition and finding loving, lifelong homes; offer affordable wellness services and resources to pets and owners in need, especially in underserved communities; and advocate on behalf of animals in crisis as an enforcer of their rights and protection

THE PROJECT
Year-round volunteers are needed to help Animal Friends continue to provide critical, lifesaving programs and services to the pets and people in our area. These dedicated individuals have banked over 2 million hours of volunteer service since the opening of The Caryl Gates Gluck Resource Center!

WHAT IT DOES
Volunteers can lend a hand by socializing with shelter cats, dogs, and rabbits; working special events; being a lobby greeter; completing administrative and data entry support; maintaining the building and grounds; fostering a homeless pet; participating in classroom presentations; joining Reading with Rover teams; bringing pet therapy visits to local hospitals and nursing homes; and aiding satellite adoption centers and community adoption events.

WHO IT HELPS
The animals in need of loving homes; pets and pet owners in need of spay/neuter and wellness services; ill patients whose pain can be eased by therapy animals; and pets who need rescued from abuse and neglect all benefit from Animal Friends’ volunteer support.

HOW TO HELP
 
Visit thinkingoutsidethecage.com/volunteer to sign up for an orientation.

Animal Friends, 562 Camp Horne Road, North Hills. 412.847.7000. thinkingoutsidethecage.org.

The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh

Photograph from The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh

Photograph from The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh

THE MISSION
To improve the quality of life for children, young people, and their families by providing a specialized continuum of services that enables them to reach their potential

THE PROJECT
Volunteers are always welcome at The Children’s Institute, contributing to the success of various programs for children and their families.

WHAT IT DOES
Opportunities to volunteer with the nonprofit’s programs include assisting with instructional and recreational programs; spending time with young patients; acting as a classroom aid at The Day School; contributing to the pediatric physical, occupational, or speech therapy departments; and taking on essential clerical services. The staff takes the extra time to match each volunteer with a department or task that best suits his or her abilities.

WHO IT HELPS
More than 8,300 children who face major health challenges come to The Children’s Institute every year from across the country. These children are not as medically dependent or fragile as those in acute care settings, so they greatly benefit from direct interaction with volunteers.

HOW TO HELP
Complete a volunteer application at amazingkids.org/Volunteers/volunteer-home, and mail it to The Children’s Institute. A volunteer interview will be scheduled from there.

The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, 1405 Shady Ave., Squirrel Hill. 412.420.2400. amazingkids.org.

Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central Pennsylvania

Photograph from Mary Jane Bent and Bill Schmitt

Photograph from Mary Jane Bent and Bill Schmitt

THE MISSION
To lead the fight to stop seizures, find a cure, and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy

THE PROJECT
28th Annual Pittsburgh Family Fun Run/Walk for Epilepsy, held July 30 at PNC Park

WHAT IT DOES
The event raises awareness of epilepsy, works to dispel myths and misconceptions associated with epilepsy, and raises funds for the Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central Pennsylvania (EFWCP)’s programs and services that support everyone affected by epilepsy/seizure disorders.

WHO IT HELPS
Anyone with a brain can have a seizure, and 1 in 26 people develop epilepsy. The EFWCP makes life better for children and adults who live with seizures, as well as their families, through education and support services, emergency medication assistance, and much more.

HOW IT HELPS
With over 2,000 attendees anticipated to join the event, volunteers are needed to help it run smoothly! To help with registration, prize distribution, cheering on runners and walkers along the course, or the tailgate party on the Roberto Clemente Bridge, call 412.322.5880.

Epilepsy Foundation Western/Central Pennsylvania, 1501 Reedsdale St., Suite 3002, North Shore. 412.322.5880. efwp.org.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh

Photograph from Ken Eber Photography

Photograph from Ken Eber Photography

THE MISSION
To bring people together to build homes, communities, and hope by providing much-needed homes and repairs to local limited-income families in need

THE PROJECT
Kids Triathlon Series, held July 23 at South Park and August 6 at North Park

WHAT IT DOES
This event is Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh’s longest-standing fundraiser, inviting children to swim, bike, and run in support of the nonprofit’s affordable housing programs in Allegheny County.

WHO IT HELPS
In the last 16 years, these races have raised over $700,000 to support local Habitat for Humanity projects and increased awareness of the need for affordable housing in the Greater Pittsburgh area.

HOW IT HELPS
Over 150 volunteers are needed at each race, lining the course to ensure the participants have a fun and safe race experience. Plus, children ages 7-15 can do their part by competing in the race themselves! Sign up today at kidstriathlon.org.

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh, 212 Yost Blvd., Suite A, Braddock Hills. 412.351.0512. pittsburghhabitat.org.

Jewish Family & Children’s Services

Photographs from Jewish Family & Children’s Services

Photographs from Jewish Family & Children’s Services

THE MISSION
To support people through all of life’s changes and challenges by providing comprehensive psychological, employment, and social services for children and adults of all ages throughout the Greater Pittsburgh region

THE PROJECT
Career Development Center

WHAT IT DOES
The Center helps individuals of all abilities and backgrounds find employment, while also connecting employers to a skilled workforce. For over 30 years, it’s helped people manage their career transitions, reach their goals, and find success.

WHO IT HELPS
Anyone who is unemployed, underemployed, or experiencing career transitions can benefit from the Center’s services.

HOW TO HELP
Volunteers can sign up to help job seekers during their career transitions by calling Robin Farabee-Siers at 412.586.3773.

Jewish Family & Children’s Services, 5743 Bartlett St., Squirrel Hill. 412.422.7200. jfcspgh.org.

Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania

Photograph from Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania

Photograph from Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania

THE MISSION
To provide services, support, and education for those living with Parkinson’s disease and their families and support medical research to discover the cause and cure

THE PROJECT
The U.S. Open concession stand on June 13-19 and the Step Forward Walk on September 24

WHAT IT DOES
Both projects benefit the educational, exercise, and support programs for people in 12 Pennsylvania counties who are impacted by Parkinson’s disease and seek encouragement and practical advice on how to live their lives to the fullest.

WHO IT HELPS
The nonprofit works with newly diagnosed patrons, those who have been diagnosed and need help finding activities to get involved in, and those who are caring for others with Parkinson’s disease.

HOW TO HELP
To help run a concession stand shift at the U.S. Open, call 412.837.2542. To lead a team or join the planning crew for the Step Forward Walk, email info@pfwpa.org. Both provide the opportunity to serve as an ambassador for the nonprofit’s mission and meet great people!

Parkinson Foundation Western Pennsylvania, 575 Lincoln Ave., Bellevue. 412.837.2542. pfwpa.org.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh

Photograph from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh

Photograph from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh

THE MISSION
To provide families with seriously ill children receiving medical treatment a home away from home, and to help children and their families lead happier, healthier, and more productive lives

THE PROJECT
MommyMile, held August 21 at the Ross Park Mall

WHAT IT DOES
This race/walk event celebrates the gift of motherhood and honors all moms across the Pittsburgh area. It also raises awareness and funds for the families served by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh.

WHO IT HELPS
Proceeds from the MommyMile will benefit the 1,300 families who stay at the Ronald McDonald House each year.

HOW TO HELP
Volunteer to help with day-of preparations, registration, and swag bag distribution by contacting Morgan Barnes at 412.246.1103.

The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Pittsburgh, 451 44th St., Downtown. 412.362.3400. rmhcpgh.org.

Western PA Humane Society

Photographs from Amy Crawford

Photograph from Amy Crawford

THE MISSION
To provide the most comprehensive, compassionate, and humane services; to enhance the lives of companion animals for families and the community; to educate; and to prevent the cruelty of all animals in the region

THE PROJECT
Volunteers are needed at the Western PA Humane Society’s upcoming events, including: Panera Pup Walk on June 12 at the Waterfront; CAT-a-palooza on August 14; Best Friends Ball on September 16 at Senator John Heinz History Center; and Pittsburgh Pup Crawl on September 17 at Roberto Clemente Bridge.

WHAT IT DOES
Each event plays a role in educating the public on the Western PA Humane Society’s programs and services, raises funds for the animals it cares for, and brings the community together to support the nonprofit’s mission.

WHO IT HELPS
Over 7,500 animals find their forever homes through the Western PA Humane Society every year.

HOW TO HELP
Sign up to volunteer at an upcoming event, doing anything from working registration to actual animal handling, at wpahumane.org/events.

Western PA Humane Society, 1100 Western Ave., North Side. 412.321.4625. wpahumane.org.

Zachary’s Mission

Photograph from Zachary’s Mission

Photograph from Zachary’s Mission

THE MISSION
To support families of medically fragile children by providing basic necessities, financial assistance, and programs that nurture emotional well-being

THE PROJECT
Zachary’s Mission is collecting shower kits, which include shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash in a one-gallon Ziploc bag.

WHAT IT DOES
These shower kits will be included in Zack Packs, embroidered backpacks that are filled with toiletries, snacks, a leather-bound journal, and other creature comforts. The goal is to collect 225 kits!

WHO IT HELPS
Over 900 Zack Packs are distributed every year to families staying with their sick child at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, The Children’s Home and Lemieux Family Center, The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh, and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of West Penn Hospital. They serve as durable totes throughout treatment, as well as a reminder of the family’s journey and the community’s support.

HOW TO HELP
For more details on how to assemble shower kits for the Zack Packs, call 724.832.2207.

Zachary’s Mission, P.O. Box 841, Greensburg. 724.832.2207. zacharysmission.org.


 

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