How to Get Started as a Volunteer in Portland

In honor of National Volunteer Week (April 7-13), here are a few ways you can give back around Portland this spring and summer.

🎸 Rock on at a music camp. The Rock ‘N’ Roll Camp for Girls is hosting four week-long camp sessions this summer, and they’re looking for volunteers to help with everything from photography to instrument lessons.

🚲 Help keep Portland naked. The World Naked Bike Ride is celebrating 16 years of volunteer-led eco-activism this summer, and there’s still time to volunteer to be a body painter, ride marshal, medic, mechanic, or more.

🏠 Host an exchange student. The Rotary Club of Portland is holding an information night for families interested in hosting exchange students, as well as PPS high school students interested in becoming exchange students. Email Kurt Martig if you have questions.

♟️ Put your chess skills to use. Even if your friends aren’t impressed by your wicked chess skills, odds are some local students will be. Chess for Success needs volunteers to help lead its chess clubs and work at weekend chess tournaments.

📈 Share your business IQ. Young Entrepreneurs Business Week is coming to Portland in July, and anyone with experience in the business world can volunteer to advise student teams, judge presentations, lead mock interviews, or network with participants.  

🐱 Help cats find homes. The Cat Adoption Team relies on volunteers to manage its food bank program, manage the kitten playhouse, represent CAT at community events, and more. The next volunteer orientation is on Saturday, April 27.

🐶 Or take dogs on walks. The Oregon Humane Society always needs dog walkers, as well as volunteers to teach behavior skills, support youth education programs, and join an animal rescue team.  

✌️ Turn kids into scouts. Boy Scouts of America volunteers work with young people (both boys and girls) to teach them outdoor skills and leadership. Here are details on how to become a pack leader in the Portland area. —Dennis Foster

🕊️ Become a gun-sense activist. The Soul Box Project has collected over 47,000 origami Soul Boxes for gunfire victims, and now its team needs help with administering the project as it goes national. Volunteers will help with everything from cataloging Soul Boxes to putting together display panels for exhibitions. You can sign up here. —Nanci Tangeman

🏘️ Support your neighborhood association. Portland has dozens of neighborhood associations that organize local events and community improvement projects, and they can always use more members and volunteers. —Lynn Della

Looking for other ideas? Hands On Greater Portland’s calendar of upcoming opportunities and Willamette Week’s annual Volunteer Guide are great places to start.