As summer winds down, kids head back to school, and schedules get busy again, time to spend together as a family seems harder to find.
And while volunteering may not always come to mind first as a family activity, we think it’s one of the better options. What better way to spend quality time as a family than by showing your children how simple acts of kindness can go a long way? Check out these family-friendly volunteer opportunities in Indianapolis!
Location: 2605 East 25th Street, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-602-7222 or [email protected]
Art With A Heart offers a variety of art programs for at-risk children. Kids 14+ can assist the organization by prepping art materials, setting up classrooms, photographing art, setting up student exhibits, working with children and serving on the Junior Board of Directors.
Location: 8604 Allisonville Road Suite 165, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-436-8440 or [email protected]buddies.org
Best Buddies pairs students with intellectual or developmental disabilities with middle and high school peers to form on-to-one friendships. Many opportunities are available from starting a Best Buddies chapter at a school, interning in the Indianapolis office, donating products or helping at special events.
Location: 8935 N Meridian St Suite 200, Indianapolis
At Brooke’s Place, children learn to honor and cherish loved ones they’ve lost and now carry in their heart. Brooke’s Place provides peer support groups and therapy services to support grieving children and their families in a safe and confidential atmosphere. Kids aged 12+ can spend two evenings a month on a set schedule serving as Brooke’ Place Buddies. Buddies are the hosts of support group nights that serve grieving kids and their families.
Location: 2605 E 62nd St #2005, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-202-9100 or [email protected]
School on Wheels’ mission is to provide one-on-one tutoring and educational advocacy for school-aged children impacted by homelessness. The vision is to equip these children with the educational tools necessary to achieve success in life and break the cycle of homelessness. Volunteer tutors make this happen. Kids aged 11-14 are invited to apply to volunteer alongside their parent or guardian, tutoring as a team.
Food Pantries and Meal Services
Location: 3333 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
Contact: [email protected]
CHEER is for children ages 3-12 and their parents. Families work to sort and stock shelves at the Mid-North food pantry on select weekend mornings throughout the year. The Mid-North food pantry services one of the poorest neighborhoods in Indianapolis. The organization also helps children to organize food drives at their schools, scout troops, neighborhoods, and churches.
Location: 3737 Waldemere Avenue, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-925-0191 or [email protected]
Families with children aged 9+ are needed to combat hunger in Central Indiana. Volunteers are put to work inspecting and assembling food baskets, performing clerical duties and/or helping with stocking and organizing items.
Location: 1605 North 10th Street, Noblesville
Contact: [email protected]
Hamilton County Harvest Food Bank staff will help families organize neighborhood food drives by delivering barrels and materials, and will pick up all donated items. Other opportunities available as outlined on their website.
Location: 1121 Southeastern Avenue, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-632-2664 or [email protected]
Second Helpings has multiple volunteer opportunities available to families such as collection drives, landscaping, van washing or cleaning and more. For teenagers ages 16+, onsite volunteer tasks are available. Families can also sign up for the “on call” list which alerts families to ways they can volunteer together throughout the year.
Location: 708 E. Michigan Street, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-252-5558 or [email protected]
Families can spend as little as one lunch hour a month to delivering two weekday meals to Hoosier seniors who are homebound and in need of good nutrition. For some seniors, this interaction is the only interaction they receive that day.
Museums and Cultural Organizations
Location: 3000 North Meridian Street, Indianapolis
Did you know that The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis is in fact a non-profit organization? Volunteers are crucial to their set up and families are welcome to work together in a team. They function as a single volunteer unit and will not be separated. Each opportunity is carefully crafted to allow families time spent together while giving back. Youth must be 8+ to volunteer.
Location: 13400 Allisonville Road, Fishers
Youth volunteer opportunities are open for students ages 10-18 including costume character portrayal, working with behind-the-scenes operations, assisting in the museum shop or helping with special events.
Location: 8103 E. US Hwy 36 #104, Avon
Contact: 317-439-5343 or [email protected]
Hendricks Symphonic Society welcomes children to usher and serve refreshments. Volunteers receive free admission and one ticket for a guest. All concerts are held in Hendricks County.
Animals, Earth, and the Environment
Location: 7929 Michigan Road, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-872-5650 or [email protected]
The Humane Society offers a number of different ways for families to get involved! Parents and kids ages 8+ can work onsite directly with the animals in the Parent & Me program, the Paws & Claws Club gives students ages 10-15 the opportunity to meet animals and learn more about the care they need, and much more!
Location: 1200 West Washington Street, Indianapolis
Zoo Teen volunteer opportunities, open to kids 14+, include learning about animals, assisting with special events, gardening and groundskeeping, animal care and serving as a naturalist.
Location: 7700 East 21st Street, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-654-4217 or [email protected]
This 8-acre, organic farm donates 100% of the fresh fruits and vegetables harvested to local food pantries. Volunteers of all ages are needed for weeding, planting, harvesting and cleaning produce. Families can set a time to work or participate in the open volunteering events held on the first Saturday of each month from 9:00am -12:00pm.
Location: 1029 Fletcher Avenue, Indianapolis
Keep Indianapolis Beautiful opens up their volunteer opportunities to every age for activities like tree planting, picking up litter, park clean up, transforming vacant lots into pocket parks, Adopt-A-Block and various other community activities.
Family and Individual Services
Location: 4107 East Washington Street, Indianapolis
Shepherd Community Center relies heavily on volunteers and encourages family volunteer participation all throughout the year and during special events and holiday programs. To volunteer at the center, the age requirement for an individual volunteer is 16 years of age. For group volunteers, the minimum age requirement is 12 years. The minimum age requirements may be waived during special events and holiday programs.
Location: 205 East New York Street, Indianapolis
Contact: 317-635-3575 or [email protected]
One-time housekeeping, meal service or pantry inventory tasks are available, as well as more regular assistance at the Children’s Ministry or Recreation Nights. Youth under the age of 18 are required to have a parent or guardian present during volunteer hours.
Location: 12933 Parkside Drive, Fishers
Contact: 317-842-2603 or [email protected]
Good Samaritan Network works to serve the needs of at-risk and underserved Hamilton County residents. Holiday Assistance is one of the signature services serving nearly 26,000 people annually for Thanksgiving and Christmas, including holiday meals, clothing and gifts. Year-round volunteers are also needed to help sort food and other goods. Kids 16+ are welcome to volunteer without a chaperone; 16 and under must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
Around the Holidays
Location: 6060 Castleway West Drive, Indianapolis
Contact: 1-800-SAL-ARMY or [email protected]
Angel Tree is a unique holiday assistance program that connects a generous individual or group with a deserving child (or “Angel”) in need. Families “adopt” a child and provide them with items from their personalized needs and wish list. Other ways to serve include assisting families as they shop for toys for their children, helping a child receive a warm winter coat, sorting bags and helping families on distribution day, ringing a bell or serving a meal.
Contact: [email protected]
Operation Christmas Child delivers boxes to children in need who live in over 100 countries around the world. Grab a box and decide as a family what goodies you’d like to fill it with to send to a little boy or girl. Or you can always do a box for each! The 2019 National Collection Week will be November 18 – 25, so find your drop-off location here.
There are so many volunteer opportunities in our great city and we know we didn’t get all of them here. Tell us about any organizations that are important to you in the comments and we’ll add them to the list!
Other ways families can volunteer from home
(Perfect for families with younger children)
- Have young ones draw pictures and transform them into valentines for your local senior community center.
- Using materials from home, create no-sew dog toys for shelter animals. (See Pinterest for plenty of easy ideas!)
- Pick up litter in your neighborhood or at your favorite park.
- Write letters to service members who are deployed. Send homemade pictures or cards to brighten their day.
- Take healthy treats to your local fire station along with some family artwork thanking them for their service to the community.
- Call your local library – many offer junior volunteer programs for kids to stack and organize books and perform other tasks.
- Pick a local fundraising walk or run with a mission close to your family’s heart. Work together to fundraise through a lemonade stand, bake sale or other method, and then participate in the walk together.
- Keep connected to websites like VolunteerMatch or DoSomething to search for other family–oriented opportunities in your area.