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40+ ways to give back through volunteering

Downtown Asheville. Photo: @zacharyneildolan

Downtown Asheville. Photo: @zacharyneildolan

Table of Contents

In February, we asked you what you wanted to know about Asheville, and we received over 100 questions, which we answer right here in AVLtoday (check out the check marks + links next to the ones we’ve already tackled). Here’s another instillation of #Asked+Answered –

Asked: What volunteer opportunities exist in Asheville?

Answered: Looking to make a difference in Asheville + the region, but unsure of where to start? We’ve broken down some of the ways to give back by volunteering by category, from animals to the arts.

Although there are tons of opportunities to volunteer with single events like LEAF Festival, All Go West, Xpand Fest, local charity races + other events (and we’d like to give a long, slow clap to all of the volunteers that make these incredible events happen), we’ve concentrated here on sustained opportunities with organizations around town for people who might be looking for a more regular commitment.

We know this isn’t an exhaustive list, so let us know what we missed.

FYI: Volunteering may require applications, special training + hour requirements. See each individual listing for more details and to check availability of volunteer positions.

Stay in the know.

Before we jump in, be sure you bookmark this list + Hands On Asheville-Buncombe, which is an extensive database updated by the United Way of Asheville & Buncombe County.

Plus, Junior League hosts a Volunteer Expo + Volunteer-A-Thon each spring.

Poverty + economic mobility 🥫

Asheville Area Habitat for Humanity | Construction + support of low-income families in need of long-term housing | Positions: Construction, ReStore support, administrative duties + more

Green Opportunities | 133 Livingston St. | Education, job training + community center | Positions: Administrative support, kitchen prep, training + tutoring, events, fundraising, communications

MANNA Food Bank | 627 Swannanoa River Rd. | Food security + delivery services | Positions: Warehouse support, distribution, produce + bread sorting, tabling, events + more

Bountiful Cities | Supports sustainable agriculture in urban environments | Positions: Community garden volunteering, including charity gardens, educational gardens, production gardens + more

ABCCM | Christian service organization | Positions: Crisis services, veterans’ services, food preparation + serving, administrative tasks + more

Community Kitchen | Canton | Christian food ministry | Positions: Serving + preparing food, loading food boxes

Food Not Bombs | Food redistribution + social justice issues | Positions: Food sourcing, meal preparation + serving, producing materials for events, organizing benefits + more

Domestic + sexual violence prevention + intervention✌

Our VOICE | 35 Woodfin St. | Crisis intervention + prevention agency for victims of sexual violence | Positions: Advocacy, community education, bar outreach, workshop facilitation + more

My Sister’s Place | Based in Marshall, advocacy organization for victims of domestic + sexual violence | Positions: Thrift store, sponsorship of children + clients, fundraising, outdoor chores

Education (all ages)✏

Literacy Council of Buncombe County | Tutoring in literacy + English language skills | Positions: Tutoring in adult education, ESOL, Augustine Program for low-income families, event help

A-B Tech | Tutoring, administrative support, academic note-takers and testing scribes, museum docents, academic coaches, life skills for developmentally-disabled adults, dog therapy assistance + more

Children + youth🚸

Asheville City Schools Foundation | Education + afterschool support | Positions: Tutoring, mentoring, IRL afterschool program (which provides activities like biking and theatre), classroom support

Eliada | 2 Compton Dr. | Services for 700 children + youth from care to career education | Positions: Committee membership, teaching (arts + crafts, fitness, guest speakers, etc), therapeutic animal stewardship care opportunities, foster care, classroom support + more

Big Brothers Big Sisters of WNC | 50 S French Broad Ave. | Positions: Mentorship + education for under-resourced youth | Volunteers are matched with one child for in school, after school, and community based activities

Guardian Ad Litem of Buncombe County | Supports children in the district who are in court for cases related to abuse + neglect | Positions: Research, communication, writing child-focused reports, monitoring the situation, advocacy for children + more. Requires 30 standardized training hours.

Creative Peacemakers | 1 School Rd. | After school art enrichment for children in grades K-3 | Positions: Arts instruction + participation, organizing art shows + exhibitions, developing arts curriculum. Meets Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:30–5:30 p.m. at the Center for Art and Spirit at St. George’s Episcopal Church in West Asheville during the school year.

OpenDoors of Asheville | Connecting local children living in multi-generational poverty with an active, individualized network of support and Opportunities for education and enrichment

Community building🏘

YMCA | Community + youth outreach and services | Positions: Youth development programs, gardening, cooking classes, coaching + more

YWCA | 185 S. French Broad Ave. | Support of women + children | Positions: Childcare, academic coaching + tutoring, food distribution, storytelling, administrative support

Community Roots | Focus on sustainable community | Positions: Nonviolent direct actions, outreach, art + music, supporting the Community Bill of Rights

YMI Cultural Center | 20–44 Eagle St. | Promotion of interculturalism + community | Positions: Work with visitors + staff to support the center and its mission

American Red Cross | Humanitarian work + community support | Positions: Disaster response, emergency prevention + care, supporting blood drives, teaching first aid + CPR

Meals on Wheels | 146 Victoria Rd. | Positions: Meal delivery for homebound + elderly residents, office + reception, kitchen help, pet food program, Santa for seniors + more

Health + wellness⚕

Light A Path | Offers yoga + wellness practices for under-resourced communities | Positions: Teach yoga, meditation, pilates + more to the incarcerated, the unhoused, at-risk youth, and people in recovery, support board of director.

T.H.E. Center for Disordered Eating | 50 S. French Broad Ave. | Support + education for individuals + their families with eating disorders | Positions: Creation of a volunteer program is underway; contact the Center for more details.

WNC AIDS Project | 554 Fairview Rd. | Support of people diagnosed with HIV/AIDS + prevention | Positions: Support, education, advocacy, outreach, fundraising, transportation, handyman work + more

Alzheimer’s Association of Western North Carolina | 31 College Pl. # 103 | Advocacy for Alzheimer’s research + support of people with Alzheimer’s and dementia | Positions: Event hosting, outreach, organizing teams for Walk to End Alzheimer’s

Council on Aging of Buncombe County | Service provider for adults ages 60 and over | Positions: Transportation, food delivery, health insurance education + sign-up, administrative support

Environmental issues🌳

Asheville GreenWorks | Positions: Stream + river cleanup, urban forestry, roadside cleanup, special events + more

RiverLink | 170 Lyman St. | Care for the French Broad River watershed | Positions: Weekly public service events like river + creek cleanup, self-directed cleanup (supplies provided), Adopt-A-Stream, log + branch removal + more

MountainTrue | 29 N. Market St. | Supporting clean water + air, healthy forests, green energy + community | Positions: Water quality + riverkeepers, forestkeepers, public lands restoration + maintenance, invasive species control + more.

Dogwood Alliance | Positions: research, campaigning, outreach + media, fundraising, organization, management, special events + more

Wenoca: The Sierra Club of WNC | Long-running environmental protection group | Positions: General volunteers needed, plus members for committees that focus on topics like green building + coal ash regulation. Meetings the first Thursday of each month at the Unitarian Church (1 Edwin St.) at 7 p.m.

NC Arboretum | 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way | Positions: Trail + garden guide shadowing, running informational meetings, exhibition + event setup

Conserving Carolina | Land + natural resource conservation based out of Hendersonville | Positions: Administrative, invasive species control, trail maintenance, special events + more

Furever friends🐱 | Shelters + animals

Friends of the WNC Nature Center | 75 Gashes Creek Rd. | Supports the WNC Nature Center’s mission to connect people with the animals + plants of our region | Positions: Front desk assistance, event promotion, membership assistance, animal care, article writing + more

Brother Wolf Animal Rescue | 31 Glendale Ave. | No-kill animal shelter + adoption service | Positions: Adoption center, Second Chances Thrift Store, outreach + events, Outward Hounds Hiking Club, Community Cats feral cat care + more

Asheville Humane Society | 14 Forever Friend Ln. | Positions: Adoption center + animal shelter | In-facility volunteer + foster opportunities, community outreach, cleaning + maintenance, socialization + more

Charlie’s Angels Animal Rescue | 5526 Hendersonville Rd., Fletcher | Animal rescue group + shelters | Positions: Help out in the Safe Haven no-kill shelter, fostering, fundraising + marketing, outreach, adoption events, transportation of animals + more

Hope for Horses | Equine rescue + rehabilitation in Leicester | Positions: Basic horse care, office support, outdoor maintenance, riding + handling for experienced riders

Heart of Horse Sense | 6919 Meadows Town Rd, Marshall | Equine therapy for veterans, at-risk youth + their families | Positions: Barn + farm support, horse care, fundraising, outreach + more

Media + the arts🎨

Asheville FM | 867 Haywood Rd. | Community radio station | Positions: Station support, fundraising, events, outreach, hosting radio shows after a minimum number of volunteer hours

Asheville Community Theatre | 35 E. Walnut St. | Positions: Theatre support, outreach + more

Asheville Art Museum | 175 Biltmore Ave. | Positions: Docenting, visitor services, education, events outreach + more

History + preservation🏛

South Asheville Cemetery Association | 20 Dalton St. | Positions: Maintenance of the historic South Asheville Cemetery in Kenilworth. Read our intro to find out more about the history of the site.

Giving back to this community has always been important to me, which is why I started teaching a weekly yoga session at a recovery center through Light A Path last year.

It’s amazing to see what shifts are possible when you start giving back, and I can’t think of a better place to do it than the city I love most.

Do you volunteer somewhere? How has it shifted your own life? Let us know by replying to this email, or tell us over on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

Here’s to all the volunteer heroes in the 828.

– Ali

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