The Metro Atlanta area is a prime location to serve people in need whether it be financially, mentally or just a helping hand to get back on track. Georgia State offers programs for students to support citizens in distress.
Why participate in community service?
Giving back to the community not only benefits others but can also earn students community service hours that will improve their resume. Perhaps participating in a community service event could improve your social skills or fill an empty void in your life.
As busy students, we often lose sight of issues occurring right in our backyard because we are too focused on our own struggles. Our first world problems become so minute when we realize there are people around us who cannot afford to eat each day. You could impact someone’s life just by using the time you would have spent on social media or worrying about small issues to give back to your community.
What are my options for my location?
Civic Engagement, the Georgia State hub for community service and leadership opportunities, offers over 400 nonprofits, groups and programs to choose from. Although the Office of Civic Engagement is located at Student Center East at the Atlanta campus, students at every campus are encouraged to participate in the opportunities offered.
“We welcome Perimeter students involvement in community service projects,” Lovell Lemons, director of civic engagement at Georgia State, said. “[However] it can be more difficult without transportation. We will, however, begin developing outreach opportunities with nonprofits located near the Perimeter campuses,” Lemons added.
The civic engagement office also hosts a Nonprofit Organization Volunteer and Internship Fair each semester so students can find an organization they could potentially work for.
Here is a list of organizations affiliated with the Georgia State Civic Engagement team:
For each of the following, students can sign up and complete forms, if required, through OrgSync.
Volunteer with Animals
Best Friends Atlanta is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of animals and making an effort to fulfill their goal of creating a world where homelessness among pets is obsolete. Depending on what position the team decides best suits you, students will be at adoption events helping future animal owners, fostering animals or simply giving love to the pets at the shelter by playing with them. This organization expects volunteers to agree to a minimum of six hours a month for at least six months.
4874 S Atlanta Rd SE, Smyrna, GA 30080
Happy Tails Pet Therapy supports people with motor skill inability, mental health issues, cognitive skills, speech, memory, balance and relaxation. The animals are trained by volunteers for specific therapy practices to care for and bring happiness to people struggling. Students can lend their time to adoption center clean-up days where volunteers are needed weekly or organize files and perform typical office duties. They only require at least one hour a week so becoming a part of this organization is not time consuming if you are a busy college student. If you are interested, Happy Tails Pet Therapy has an orientation day on Nov. 4 from 10:30 A.M. to 11:30 A.M.
Volunteer with the Youth:
This foundation focuses on the overall wellness of communities through safety, cleanliness and the importance of support systems. Students can expect to set up and assist in events such as father-daughter dances, teen driver safety and community garden clean ups. The hours are flexible for this organization, so when students fill out the application online, they are asked to explain their availability. However, the foundation explicitly states on the volunteer tab on their website that they are specifically searching for volunteers who will work diligently without income.
Volunteer with the Elderly:
Volunteering for Serenity Hospice Care is an experience that will change your life. Extending a feeling of compassion and being a shoulder to cry on during the last stretch of life is incredibly rewarding. Students are expected to visit the elderly in this facility as often as possible depending upon their needs. Some patients need more attention than others, so if you are a busy student but still want to volunteer, jobs like yard work and donating baked goods is an option. Some volunteers will sing songs around Christmas time to make their last holiday season enjoyable. This is an emotional volunteer opportunity for students with a strong desire to better the final moments of other’s lives and create a relationship between themselves and the patients.
8326 Office Park Dr, Douglasville, GA 30134
The AARP Foundation, or the American Association of Retired Persons, is an organization to help the elderly decide how they want to live life after retirement. Your main purpose will act as an ice-breaker to help the elderly in the program interact comfortably and build friendships among each other, giving their life purpose and involving them in social activities during their retirement. This is an enjoyable volunteer opportunity with additional office jobs, so students can easily incorporate the foundation into their college schedule depending upon their availability.
1718 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30309
Volunteer with the Needy:
The Nicholas House is a nonprofit organization that targets class system issues like homelessness happening daily in Atlanta. You would volunteer during fundraisers and family fun days showing the children and parents affected by poverty that there is still a chance for them to prosper in life. Additionally, every night from 6:30 – 7:30 P.M. at the Nicholas House, volunteers cook meals for the homeless. Georgia State students can use the commercial kitchen the establishment has to prepare food or bring their dish in pre-made.
250 Georgia Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30312
Volunteer opportunities for the Environment:
EarthShare is a nature lover’s dream. This organization is dedicated to bettering the air, water and overall atmosphere in Georgia. The nonprofit has an event on Nov. 4 called “Plaid Palooza” where volunteers will wear all plaid in honor of the fall season and work together to improve the overall appearance of the Historic Fourth Ward Park. Volunteers will be weeding, cleaning up trash and laying mulch. Keep in mind, volunteering for this organization is more strenuous than others due to the physical work.
100 Peachtree St NW, Atlanta, GA 30303
The decision to volunteer
“Students also gain a better awareness of their social responsibility and citizenship skills as well as interpersonal development, particularly the ability to work in teams and communication skills,” Lemons said. No matter which organization you decide to volunteer for, making a difference in someone’s life while learning new skills is a selfless act that could impact someone else’s life forever.