Helping Families and Parents

• Arlington Boys & Girls Club has many volunteer opportunities for people willing to commit only a few hours per month. Call 781-648-1617 for more information.

• Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Needham is seeking volunteers of all ages for positions in the hospital’s coffee shop and gift shop. For information, please call Kim Hinden, Director of Volunteers, at 781-453-5499 or email her at

• Birthday Wishes is a nonprofit group that provides birthday parties for children in homeless shelters. Volunteers needed for everything from baking cakes to providing help at events. 866.388.WISH (9474);

• Boston Cares is an umbrella group for numerous volunteer programs in the Boston area. The BOOYAH! Youth and Family program offers volunteer opportunities for students and families to engage in community service projects that fit their schedules and interests. 617-422-0910;

• Boston Partners in Education is looking for volunteers to support students and teachers in the Boston Public Schools by working one-on-one with students on a weekly basis. Opportunities are available in all grades, K-12, in the areas of math and literacy. To apply for this opportunity, please visit: For more information about opportunities to make a difference in the lives of students in the Boston Public Schools, please contact Boston Partners in Education at or617-451-6145.

• Cambridge Family and Children’s Service needs one-to-one volunteer mentors for families living at a homeless shelter in Cambridge. Time commitment is 3-4 hours per week for at least a year. 617-876-4210, x14.

• Cambridge School Volunteers needs elementary school literacy and math tutors, homework helpers and classroom assistants. A one-hour per week time commitment is needed. Training and support provided. Contact Martha Osler at 617-349-6794, or

Cape Ann Families, the support and education program of Wellspring House, needs volunteers for its Parent Aide program, which matches families with volunteers for one year, and teen volunteers to serve as mentors to younger youth. 978-281-7856.

• Community Servings is looking for kitchen, van, Saturday delivery, special event and seasonal volunteers to help serve 1,300 meals a week to individuals and families who are homebound with an acute life-threatening illness. 617-522-7777, ext. 228;

COMPASS for Homeless Families helps 70 families in shelter in Waltham. Looking for volunteer childcare providers to spend time, play, and do homework with young homeless children on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings. Donate new toys. 781-862-4446;  

• Families for Depression Awareness is seeking outreach volunteers and family profile volunteers willing to be interviewed to help people understand and reduce the stigma associated with depression. 781-890-0220;

Healing Abuse Working for Change (HAWC) in Salem seeks volunteers to assist in all aspects of the organization. 978-744-6841;

• Horizons for Homeless Children seeks volunteers to interact and play with 500 children living in shelters in the Boston area. A commitment of two hours per week for six months is required, in day or evening shifts. Training is available. Call Cattreya at 617-445-1480 for more information or visit

• Literacy Volunteers of MA, a private, nonprofit organization, promotes literacy skills that empower adults to realize their goals by providing free, private, flexibly scheduled, confidential and individualized tutoring in basic literacy and ESOL. For more information, visit or call 617-367-1313. 

• Parents Helping Parents needs group facilitators for parent support groups and to occasionally offer support on the phone. Training is provided. Time commitment is 3-4 hours per week. Openings statewide; Spanish speakers also needed, 617-926-5008.

• Room to Grow, a Boston-based nonprofit organization supporting babies in poverty throughout their first three years of life, seeks volunteers to organize our inventory of infant and toddler clothing, toys, books and equipment. Three hours per week required. 617-859-4545.

The Food Project is a launching pad for new ideas about youth and adults partnering to create social change through sustainable agriculture. Volunteers needed. Call Roger Wong at 617-422-0910, ext. 206.

• The Home for Little Wanderers is in need of mentors to work with adolescent boys between the ages of 10 and 17. Mentors typically commit to spending 2-4 hours of quality time per week with the children over the course of a year or more. They are also seeking foster parents. 617-264-5323;

• The Parent Connection at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center seeks experienced mothers to provide weekly phone support to new mothers for the first three months after birth. Training and support are provided. 617-667-2229.

• The Visiting Moms Program of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service seeks experienced mothers to provide support to new mothers. Training and supervision are provided. Time commitment is 2-3 hours per week. 781-647-5327.

• The VNA Care Hospice needs volunteers to provide practical and emotional support to terminally ill patients and their families. Training and support provided. 888-663-3688.

Welcome Baby Program of the Family Nurturing Center and Dorchester CARES needs volunteers and community service/social action groups for newborn gift basket assembly events held monthly. 617-474-1143, ext. 227. 

Helping Elders

• Combined Jewish Philanthropies is looking for parents and children to share an hour or two each week with a lonely or isolated elder. 617-558-6585.

Jewish Family Service of Metrowest is receiving numerous calls from elders who would enjoy visitors. Do you have a couple hours a week to visit someone who feels isolated? Parents and kids can volunteer together, making new friends across the generations. People of all backgrounds are welcome to apply. 508-875-3100.

• MATCH-UP Interfaith Volunteers seeks volunteers to offer help and companionship to isolated, homebound elders and disabled adults. 617-536-3557.

• Springwell Inc. (formerly West Suburban Elder Services) is a nonprofit home care agency that helps keep elders in their homes independently and safely with a variety of home care services. Volunteers are needed in Belmont, Brookline, Needham, Newton, Waltham, Watertown, Wellesley and Weston. Training and support are provided. 617-926-4100. 

Literacy and Learning

• Cambridge School Volunteers needs elementary school literacy and math tutors, as well as one-on-one tutors at the high school in any subject. A one-hour-per-week commitment is required. Training and support provided. 617-349-6794.

• Eastern Massachusetts Literacy Council needs volunteer literacy tutors. Free training and materials are provided to tutors who commit to two hours per week for nine months. 781-395-2374.

• Literacy Volunteers of Massachusetts, which promotes literacy skills that empower adults, is looking for basic literacy ESOL (English as a Second Language) tutors. 617-367-1313;

• The Adult Learning Program of Jamaica Plain needs volunteer tutors to work two hours per week helping adults learn basic skills, math, and English as a second language. 617-635-5201.

The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s Special Education Surrogate Parent Program needs volunteers interested in helping assist a student in the custody of the Department of Children and Families with a special education program. 508-792-7679.

• The Merrimack Valley YMCA seeks volunteers to mentor teens and provide support in areas such as academics, career and peer pressure. The time commitment is 12 months. Contact the YMCA’s Mentor Director Renee McGuire at 978-686-6191. 

Other Volunteer Opportunities

• American Cancer Society seeks cosmetologists to volunteer their time and talent to help women living with cancer learn hands-on techniques for coping with the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment. American Cancer Society also seeks volunteer drivers for its Road to Recovery program, which provides patients with transportation to and from their chemotherapy appointments. 1-800-227-2345;

• Bet Tzedek, a program of Jewish Family Services, needs volunteer attorneys to provide free legal advice to low-income populations. 617-558-1278.

• Bring Light helps people make donations to a wide range of worthy causes and it shows how your donations are helping real people, from families in need to emergency shelters, school scholarships and animal rescues. Bring Light enables donors to interact with one another and collaborate to fund a specific project.

• Buttonwood Park Zoo is seeking Zoo Ambassadors. Volunteers needed for our education-based volunteer program and perform tasks ranging from answering visitor questions to teaching people about an animal’s adaptations. Training is provided. 508-991-4556.

• Citywide Dialogues on Boston’s Ethnic and Racial Diversity gives Bostonians a chance to break down barriers. Commit to attending four sessions and volunteer to participate in discussions meant to bridge gaps between people and groups in the city. 617-442-4519, ext. 263.

• Cultural Academic Student Exchange, Inc., needs host families for international students from around the world. Students are between ages 15 and 18 and stay for one semester. 800-458-8336.

• Danforth Museum of Art is seeking volunteer tour guides. No art background is necessary. Volunteers must be interested in art and make a commitment to attend Wednesday morning meetings. Training provided. 508-620-0500;

• Family Table, Greater Boston’s Jewish Food Pantry needs drivers to bring food to families in need. 617-566-0333.

• Harvard Museum of Natural History needs museum volunteers once a week for a morning or afternoon. The only requirement is enthusiasm! 617-384-7180.

• Joppa Flats Wildlife Refuge needs volunteers at their Massachusetts Audubon learning center in Newburyport. Training provided. All volunteers receive full membership benefits. 978- 462-9998, x6804;

• Olmstead Park Volunteer Project, a collaboration of Friends of Leverett Pond, Brookline GreenSpace Alliance and the Brookline Parks & Open Space Division, seeks volunteers to perform cleanup duties, including pruning, weeding and raking. 617-730-2076.

• Substance Abuse HELPLINE seeks volunteers for hotline service for people affected by alcoholism and substance abuse. 617-536-0501.

• Susan G. Komen For The Cure is seeking volunteers for year-round commitments and one-time events. Help fight breast cancer by fundraising, education, public relations, office help and more. 617-737-5111, ext. 14;

The Children’s Museum in Easton has community service and volunteer opportunities available for interested adults, college and high school students. Volunteers are needed for a variety of projects ranging from programs for children, family special events, and adult fundraising evenings. For more information, call 508-230-3789.

The Conservation Department of New England Wild Flower Society seeks volunteers for invasive plant mapping and other critical field projects throughout New England. No previous experience is necessary. Free training provided. For more information, visit or call 508-877-7630 x 3203.

The Esplanade Association seeks people with model boat experience to help run the model sailing club. 617-227-0365;

The Forbes House Museum in Milton is seeking new tour guides who want to learn more about the museum, the American China Trade, President Abraham Lincoln and the Forbes family history. Engage in small group discussions, instruction by museum staff and organized field trips to other museums and historic destinations. 617-696-1815;

• The Hull Lifesaving Museum is seeking volunteers to give tours of the museum. Training is provided. Interest in local history, arts & crafts, or teaching experience are all helpful. For more information, contact Victoria Stevens at 781-925-5433 or

• The New England Wild Flower Society seeks field volunteers, as well as administrative and horticulture volunteers. Free training provided. 507-877-7630.

• The Trustees of Reservations seeks a few good service-learning volunteers, ages 15-17, to assist with farm-based education programs and operations. Gain valuable experience at Appleton Farms in Ipswich/Hamilton as a farm steward. Call 978-921-1944 for program details and application.

• The Waterworks Museum, 2450 Beacon St., Boston, is seeking motivated volunteers for its Grand Opening and inaugural season. Volunteer jobs include hands-on interpreters for visitors, program development, support for program staff, conducting research and development and daily operations. 617-277-0065;

• The Wenham Museum seeks volunteer docents for two to four hours a month. Training provided. 978-468-2377.

Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary, a nonprofit animal reserve in Norton, is seeking volunteers to assist in barn cleaning on weekday mornings. Contact Debra White at 508-285-6451.