- Education and Science
Psychology Volunteer Work: Volunteer Job Ideas for Psychology Majors
Volunteer Job Opportunities for Undergrad and Master's Level Psychology Students
Are you a psychology major searching for volunteer opportunities? Would you like to volunteer to gain experience? Volunteering can be very rewarding. Not only will you make a difference in someone's life, you will gain resume experience, job references, and much more. Here are some volunteer job ideas for psychology majors.
Suicide / Crisis Hotline
One of the best places to gain employment experience is at a crisis hotline. You will offer a compassionate ear to someone experiencing a mental health crisis, or just a difficult situation. You might assist a caller who is having thoughts of suicide, or just overwhelmed with recent life circumstances. Some hotlines are run entirely by paid staff, however, many rely on volunteers to keep afloat.
Please check Contact USA to find if there is a local Contact Crisis Hotline. Click here to access their website. If there is not one in your area, there could be another one run by a different name. Google your city's name and "crisis hotline" to see if you can locate it.
Inspirational BBBSA Volunteer Story
Big Brothers / Big Sisters of America
Big Brothers / Big Sisters is a superb community program. You will encourage and mentor a child from a single parent family. You can spend just a few hours a week, or even a month, visiting with you little sister or brother.
Some activities include playing card games, watching or participating in sports, or even just going out to dinner or a Saturday afternoon matinee. It looks great on job applications, but more importantly you'll be making a tremendous impact in a child's life. Ideally it would be great for you to be a lifelong mentor for the child. Visit the website here for full details.
Dr. Phil Show - Become a CASA Volunteer
Another wonderful volunteer idea for psychology majors is to become a CASA. CASA stands for "Court Appointed Special Advocate."
You will serve as a voice for a child who has been abused or neglected and is in foster care. You might observe parent and child visits, meet with the child, attend meetings and more. You will also learn about paperwork and documentation. To learn how to become a CASA, visit the website here.
"I Am For the Child" CASA Promotional Video
Rape Crisis Center
Another suggestion is to volunteer at a Rape Crisis Center. You can answer the hotline, advocate for victims, testify at court hearings and much more. Volunteers are also needed for office work, fundraising, and publicity work. For example, you might be asked to attend a health fair, and hand our brochures about the Rape Crisis Center.
To find one in your area, visit the website for the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN) here. Click on "Get Help" and "Find a Local Counseling Center" to search by state or zip code.
Group Homes for Abused / Neglected Children
Children's Homes, (also known as "Group Homes") care for children in foster care, and often need volunteers. You could teach a craft, mentor a child, help with tutoring and much more. For example, if you know origami, you could teach a summer class.
Sometimes these homes will have a volunteer sponsor program. They would match you with in a child in residential care. You would meet with him/her at least once a month, though once a week is better. You could take your sponsored child to play games (bowling, putt-putt golf), watch sporting events, or just have dinner or dessert. This is similar to the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program.
Would you like to help someone who is terminally ill? Most non-profit hospices are in need of volunteers. Volunteers are matched with someone on Hospice care. You will help both the patient and his/her family.
As with most non-profit volunteer jobs, hospice volunteers must be mentally fit and able to comfort someone who is nearing death. This opportunity would probably be heart-breaking at times. It would provide you with valuable experience on how to counsel someone who is dealing with grief, facing a terminal illness, or in poor physical health.
Boys and Girls Clubs
Another option is to volunteer with the Boys and Girls Clubs. These centers provide a safe and enriching environment for children who are at risk. Volunteers are needed to tutor kids, teach computer classes, provide one-on-one mentoring and much more. They also need volunteers to assist with summer camps. This volunteer opportunity could possibly turn into a paid, part-time job while you finish your degree.
Most homeless shelters are always needing volunteers. As a psychology student, they would be happy for you to help with intake screening, answering the phones, case management, job skill classes, and youth programs. This volunteer opportunity would allow you to empathize with and show compassion for people in crisis.
Some homeless shelters only serve women, others require clients to have at least one child. Some will only allow for residents to stay for a few nights, other programs will provide transitional living housing for several months.
To find a shelter in your area, and learn of volunteer opportunities, search this directory here. Please note that the directory is not a complete list. You can also call your local United Way for suggestions.
These are just a handful of volunteer opportunities for psychology majors. In addition to helping someone in need, and gaining experience, these opportunities allow for job networking.
Good luck with your future endeavors!