Community engagement and service outside the school are components of Connecticut’s implementation of a Student Success Plan, which values a broadened awareness of self within a global context. To qualify for either the Promise Scholarship or Passport to Promise Scholarship, a student must complete 40 hours of community service during high school. Many New Haven public high schools require community service as a graduation requirement and service performed in the community can be counted toward a student’s Promise requirement and graduation requirement. Hours must be reported directly to servo.city.
High school counselors and Promise staff will determine those hours which will count toward the requirements. Generally, service must be performed with valid New Haven non-profit charitable organizations or community or school festivals within the city. Hours associated with religious practice, in-school staff assistance and personal service for family, friends and neighbors will not be authorized as Promise service hours. Among the key reasons of Promise’s service requirement is to get students to expand outside of their comfort zones and into the community to build networks and experience, not to have an insular experience at their school or church. To ensure successful completion of the Promise community requirement, below are dozens of opportunities.
The Diaper Bank
New Haven Promise
New Haven Promise has two major events each year where it seeks volunteers. One is the Internship & Fair Career in early January and the other is the Annual Scholar Celebration, which takes place in August. Students who demonstrate diligence and commitment are able to claim additional hours as the need arises throughout the year. To inquire about opportunities, please contact Jorgieliz Casanova (203-776-6473)
New Haven Free Public Library
The NHFPL Volunteer Services Program supports the library in a variety of ways. There are volunteer offerings for book repair, helping with programs, tutoring, teaching computer skills, homework help and much more. Special talents — from Lego enthusiasts to knitters and painter to chess player to florists to linguists – can find opportunities. NHFPL’s commitment is to match skills and interests to projects which suit schedules and availability. Contact: Kate Cosgrove (203-946-7001)
Urban Resources Initiative
One of the best ways to volunteer with the Urban Resources Intiative is to find a local Greenspace group on this map, and contact that group’s leader. If you have trouble finding the appropriate contact, or if you’re interested in other volunteer opportunities, please contact Anna at (203) 432-6189
Project Youth Court
Project Youth Court is the state’s first and only youth court and is like traditional courts in many ways, but differs in two key aspects: they are staffed by high school volunteers and they follow the principles of balanced and restorative justice. By participating in Youth Court, young people have the unique opportunity actively engage in the justice system and intentionally shape their shared community values. Teenagers who might otherwise face stiff penalties for youthful mistakes — or escape consequences altogether — are given a second chance and a way to repair the harm their actions may have caused. Click the link above for opportunities to participate
Volunteers provide a critical role for Columbus House to achieve its mission of serving people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless by providing shelter and more. Volunteers assist the staff throughout the year, with opportunities from serving meals to painting to general office assistance. Without that dedicated core of volunteers, Columbus House would be unable to provide the scope of services currently offered. Contact: Visit the link above for volunteering options or call (203) 401-4400.
Yale-New Haven Hospital
Established in 1933, Yale New Haven Hospital has one of the oldest organized hospital volunteer programs in the country. The hospital’s 2,400 volunteers contribute more than 200,000 hours of service annually. The Volunteer Services Department needs and welcomes energetic volunteers of all ages and skills on the York Street and Saint Raphael campuses. Volunteers generally give a minimum of four hours a week for at least six months. There are a variety of volunteer roles to fit individual time schedules, abilities and interests. Volunteers may work directly with patients or work behind the scenes. Click the link above for more about the opportunities.
Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services
Volunteers are an invaluable part of the IRIS team, helping welcome and walk alongside refugees as they begin new lives in Connecticut. Volunteer applicants must be 17 years or older and able to commit to a minimum of 6 months. Positions are filled on a rolling basis. Please note that all positions are unpaid, and occur primarily Monday through Friday in the morning, afternoon or evening. Visit the above link for more or email IRIS here.
New Haven Leon Sister City Project
New Haven Leon Sister City Project is supported by an array volunteers who are a key part of the team and the opportunities range from office work to event organization to public awareness raising and fundraising. Volunteering with us is an opportunity to develop new skills and make new friends while committing to end poverty and injustice. Those interested should visit the link above
Artspace — a non-profit organization championing emerging artists and building new audiences for contemporary art — offers service opportunities in a variety of ways, including the hanging and repairing of paintings and working with young people and office staff along with event assistance. The application is online at the link above. Contact: Sarah Fritchey
Yale Center for British Art
Volunteers are vital in shaping a positive visitor experience at the Yale Center for British Art as well as carrying out the mission of informing and educating the public about the Center. Volunteers must by 18 years old and more can be learned at the website link above or by contacting the volunteer coordinator (203-432-9491)
Yale Peabody Museum
Volunteers are vital to the success of the Peabody Museum from behind-the-scenes activities to working directly with the public as they provide support in all areas of the Museum. Some engage the public through the Museum’s educational programs, special events, or community outreach, while others are behind-the-scenes. Training is provided when necessary and volunteers must be 18 years old. Contact the Museum (203-432-3731) for more
New Haven Counts
New Haven Counts is focused on helping graduating students be prepared for the demands of college, career and life. Through mentorship, this non-profit is committed to meeting the demand. To register as a mentor, please visit the link above.
New Haven Reads
An hour a week makes a huge difference in the life of a child. New Haven Reads welcomes support from volunteers across the community, but volunteers must be 16 or older. Volunteers are the soul of New Haven Reads, which seeks volunteers to expand the organization’s impact. Contact: Keri Humphries (203-752-1923)
Literacy Volunteers of Greater New Haven
Literacy Volunteers is seeking volunteers to greet and sign-in visitors and students, answer the phone, transfer calls to staff, take messages and advise callers about the basics of their adult literacy programs. Volunteer may also assist staff on projects like copying documents, collating training materials and conducting mailings. Volunteers must have good phone etiquette and professional manner necessary, the ability to use business phone system, copier and computer, including Microsoft Office skills. Volunteers tutors must be 17 years of age. Contact Kathleen McKenna (203-285-2621)
Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen
The Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen (DESK) works with more than 1,000 volunteers across Greater New Haven each year. Their volunteer opportunities include meal service, dinner and lunch preparation, dining room set-up, inventory and stock-room work, and community outreach. For opportunities please visit the link above
Christian Community Action, Inc.
Christian Community Action, Inc. offers volunteer opportunities afterschool (3 pm-5 pm) Monday through Friday at a local shelters. This is a great opportunity for juniors and seniors. Contact CCA via email or by calling (203) 777-7848
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry & Clothing Closet
Volunteers are vital to the Loaves & Fishes operation. Each Saturday morning volunteers distribute bags of groceries to individuals and family (including a children’s bag for each child), assist guests in the clothing closet area, greet waiting guests with hot coffee, juice, and breakfast pastries, watch children in our children’s corner, and ensure the environment is kept clean and welcoming. Volunteers should arrive at the back door of the church — next to the parking lot — at 7:45 am and the staff will put them to work until about 11 am. Located at 57 Olive Street at the corner of Chapel Street
Connecticut Food Bank
American Red Cross South Central Connecticut
Volunteering for the Red Cross is a great way to do something for your community. What you may not expect is what it can do for you. Every day, the American Red Cross helps people in emergencies… whether it’s half a million disaster victims or one sick child who needs blood. You don’t need special skills to be a volunteer. The Red Cross will train you.
New Haven Pride Center
The purpose of New Haven Pride Center is to provide educational, cultural and social enrichment for the LGBTQ+ community, its allies, and members, to make a positive contribution to the entire community of Greater New Haven. The Center has no paid staff and relies on volunteers to get the work done. Click the above link to learn more about the opportunities and to connect with the Center or call (203) 387-2252.
The Friends of Edgewood Park
There are outdoor volunteer opportunities with the Friends of Edgewood Park (720 Edgewood Avenue). Tools and gloves are provided. Contact S. Fitzgerald to inquire.
Friends of the New Haven Animal Shelter, Inc.
The Robin I. Kroogman Animal Shelter trains volunteers three or four times a year to serve a variety of roles in socializing, exercising and bathing pets as well as participating in adoption events. Volunteers must by 18 years of age. Contact with the Shelter via email to by calling (203) 946-8110.
The mission of Fellowship Place is to serve adults living with mental illness by offering a full range of therapeutic support and rehabilitation services that promote independence, wellness, and a meaningful life. The volunteers must have the ability to connect with and enjoy interacting with people, and must exhibit a willingness to be flexible and accommodating, to programmatic needs. Contact Mary Guerrero (203-401-4227 x1201) about volunteer options.
United Way of Greater New Haven
From the United Way of Greater New Haven: Give an hour. Give a Saturday. Give your best. We all have special talents. Things we can do to help. And when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all. Whether it’s preparing a community garden for planting, leading financial literacy classes for hard-working families, or participating in a kindergarten canvass, there are hundreds of volunteer options available every day. Click the link above for opportunities.
The Heritage Chorale of New Haven
The Heritage Chorale of New Haven, Inc. is a non-profit choral organization that seeks to preserve music of the African American liturgical tradition through presentation with other musical forms from classical to contemporary. The group often provides guest appearances with other groups or organizations, as well as being host for the same. Meetings are on Mondays from 6 pm to 8 pm. Contact: Deborah Dozier (203-676-0749)
Music Haven empowers and connects young people through music education, mentoring and performance thus giving all kids a chance to play. Students can volunteer as a mentor, but it is limited to those over the age of 18. Contact: Kathleen Cei (203-745-9030)
Cherry Blossom Festival
The Cherry Blossom Festival — to be hosted in Wooster Square Park on Sunday, April 28 — welcomes volunteers to assist with the flow of the day. Among the opportunities will be set-up, greeting, children’s activities, replenishing products, program distribution and break down & clean up. There are three shifts (9 am-11:30 am; 11:30 am-4 pm; and 2 pm-5 pm). Contact Sarah Greenblatt with your availability and please mention that you are a New Haven Promise applicant.
Save The Sound
Each year Save the Sound coordinates coastal cleanup events in communities across Connecticut, including in New Haven. You can sign up to join an established shore or watercraft cleanup, or register as a Cleanup Captain to organize your own beach cleanup team! Click above to learn about all the volunteer options or contact Annalisa Paltauf for details
New Haven Land Trust
Through the New Haven Land Trust, volunteers can join the Long Wharf Nature Preserve on workdays coming up this year. The main projects include continuing invasive plant removal, watering plants, trash pick-up and trail maintenance. To learn more follow the above link or contact the Land Trust via email or by calling (203) 562-6655
The International Arts & Ideas Festival
The International Festival of Arts & Ideas is a year-round organization that culminates in an extravaganza of performing arts, lectures, and conversations that takes over theaters and open spaces in New Haven each June. Volunteers are the lifeblood of the International Festival of Arts & Ideas. As 85 percent of the events are free to the public, Arts & Ideas relies on the passion, commitment and support of community members for help. For opportunities, please visit the link above
Fair Haven Family Stroll
The Friends Center for Children and the Elm City Montessori School organize the Fair Haven Family Stroll, which starts with a 1.5-mile walk along the Quinnipiac River, is followed by live entertainment and an information fair with local organizations. The Stroll — scheduled for May 4 — is seeking volunteers to help with the event (setting up, guiding guests, breaking down and other event support roles). Please contact Susan Hardej to volunteer and be sure to mention your affiliation as a Promise applicant.
Love farmers? Markets? Like to meet your neighbors and local farmers? You can volunteer for CitySeed in New Haven. CitySeed — with its wide variety of ways to engage the community in growing an equitable, local food system — looks for volunteers to help with farmers market operations. A brief training, and commitment of hours is required. Must be at least 16 years of age. If interested, click the above link or email the organization
Yale Sustainable Food Program
Everyone is welcome to volunteer on the Yale Farm (345 Edwards Street). No gardening experience required. Just bring a water bottle and wear weather and work appropriate clothing. Upon arrival, find a student intern wearing a YSFP wheelbarrow t-shirt. These interns are in charge of the workday, will sign you in and explain the day’s work before assigning you a task. What you’ll do depends on the day and the season. You might be helping to harvest tomatoes, eggplant, broccoli and kale in the fall; planting garlic in the winter and tulips for spring. If you are a group of more than five people, you must give a week’s notice of your visit. To learn more you should contact the staff via email or by calling (203) 432-2084
New Haven Farms
New Haven Farms — which looks for volunteers for the spring — exists because of volunteers who want to be a part of something great. Whether it’s getting one’s hands in the dirt, assisting with the Farm-Based Wellness Program or sharing other skills such as graphic design or social media expertise, anyone can find a place to have fun and contribute to the New Haven Farms community. Contact the Volunteer Coordinator by email or phone (203-997-6152) or visit the website linked above for more information.
Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven
Every year volunteers contribute more than 2,500 hours of time — either individually or as part of a group — to assist Habitat for Humanity of Greater New Haven accomplish its goal of eliminating poverty housing in the New Haven area. Volunteers participate in a range of activities on behalf of Habitat, including volunteering on our construction sites or in the office, serving on one of our committees or working on special events. To volunteer, follow the link above or call the volunteer coordinator (203-785-0794 x110) with questions.
New Haven Youth Tennis & Education
As a young and dynamic organization, New HYTEs relies heavily on volunteers to leverage its impact on the youth it serve. New HYTEs currently has opportunities for tennis instructors, academic tutors and special projects volunteers. For position details visit the website link or contact Executive Director Mavi Sanchez-Skakle
Any inquiries, corrections or additions to this page should be directed to Jorgieliz Casanova of the New Haven Promise staff.