student volunteer opportunities

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army weekly Tuesday night dinners (5–6:30 p.m.) are held for the Family Shelter parents and children in the Salvation Army gym. The children eat and play and it is a great opportunity to learn of family needs — such as encouragement to enroll in ESOL classes or obtain clothing, backpacks and school clothes household goods, carriages (for transportation of children and groceries) and personal care items etc. This would be an excellent UNE service learning project and much needed in the community.

There are also service learning childcare opportunities to serve homeless children while their parent(s) take the Tools for Life class on Tuesday, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. and the ESOL language classes on Monday and Wednesday, 9:30–11:30 a.m. This can also be a great opportunity to observe and strengthen cognitive and literacy development in young children 6 months–5 years old and just get to know the clients that the UNE students will one day serve as medical providers.

American Red Cross

Preble Street Soup Kitchen

Portland Fire Department

Volunteer to help the Portland Fire Department with necessary training exercises. Airports are required to perform such drills to evaluate their emergency response systems. UNE student volunteers are needed each year to make these possible.

Partners for World Health

UNE students volunteer at Partners for World Health (PWH), sorting medical supplies both as individuals and often as groups. In addition, twice per year, students and faculty rely on Partners for World Health to gather hundreds of pounds of supplies to support the clinic operations during UNE’s Cross Cultural Immersion in Ghana Program.

Hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and doctors’ offices normally discard — in compliance with institution and/or government policies — a constant stream of medical supplies. Discarded items include thousands of pounds of sterile syringes, needles, tongue depressors, tourniquets, wound dressing supplies, sterile and non-sterile gloves, hygiene products, surgical gowns and an endless supply of plastic tubs, water pitchers and bedpans. Durable equipment such as crutches, wheel chairs and hospital beds in good condition are also regularly sent to landfills.

Now PWH provides Maine medical facilities the opportunity to save landfill fees and recycle these valuable items, from the simple and inexpensive, to the highly sophisticated and costly. Volunteers pick up the unused medical supplies and bring them to the PWH warehouse for sorting, cataloging, cleaning (if needed) and packaging.

In some cases, the supplies are organized into boxes and prepared for container shipment to underserved countries throughout the world. In other cases, items are packed into duffel bags to be hand-delivered in foreign lands by individuals traveling on mission trips or privately. PWH identifies responsible, local hospital representatives in foreign countries who assure the supplies reach deserving urban and rural hospitals and clinics.

PWH is an all-volunteer organization made up of people committed to saving and improving lives in developing countries and preserving our environment. All you need is that commitment and a few hours. Anyone can volunteer, as an individual or as part of a group.

Typical tasks include, but are not limited to:

  • Opening incoming material in bags or boxes and macro-sorting the items into general category bins
  • Micro-sorting general category bins into bins of same or similar items 
  • Counting, bagging and labeling similar items 
  • Combining several dissimilar but related items into "kits" 
  • Packing counted and bagged items into boxes, sealing the boxes and labeling them for shipment 
  • Cleaning plastic basins, bottles, etc. 
  • Transferring like liquids to create full containers 
  • General organizational tasks 
  • Removing unsealed, damaged or expired items from the recovery stream

PWH also needs volunteers to collect and transport items on a regular basis from local medical facilities to the Scarborough, Maine, warehouse. To perform this task you will need the ability to lift bags weighing up to 30 pounds and to drive a mid-sized van/wagon or SUV.

You can participate in organized UNE volunteer outings, or on your own through the PWH's weekly open warehouse days.

Family Violence Prevention Service Opportunities

Family Crisis Services

Need for student leadership and initiative in the following areas:

Sexual Assault Response Services of Southern Maine:

  • Volunteer for committee work, administrative tasks, internships, etc. You can fill out a general application and indicate what interests you have.
  • Become an advocate, with training. Contact for more info and dates.
  • Awareness Campaigns: ie., VDAY production, Take Back the Night Rally, "Got Consent?" Day, or The Clothesline Project. 
  • Volunteer to serve on a committee to organize Portland's annual Take Back the Night Rally
  • Contact Amy Raina, education program manager, at or (207) 828-1035.


Interprofessional student groups often apply for grants or host events and/or various fundraisers either on campus or within the community for ongoing service activities to support and enhance the programs. 

Examples of past successful fundraisers

  • Yoga for Public Housing Grant
  • Shelter Donation Collection Event
  • GAPSA Funding for Riverton Children’s Halloween "Trunk or Treat" Program

School Programs

There are often opportunities to mentor, provide career panels, lead workshops, or organize other events within the local Portland schools.

Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital

Planning and development is underway for a monthly service opportunity to volunteer at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital. Activities, arts and crafts are planned for a wide range of ages to be carried out by groups of four to six students with the patients at the hospital.


For more information about any of the additional opportunities described below, please contact the Office of Service Learning.