Where to Volunteer and How to Cultivate Community in Hampton Roads

Where to Volunteer and How to Cultivate Community in Hampton Roads

Photo courtesy of Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore

By Aila Boyd

November 24, 2023

Social offerings, openness, aesthetics, education, and basic services are the five characteristics of a community that most make residents feel attached to it, according to a 2010 study from the Knight Foundation and Gallup.

Being part of a community means being involved, and a good way to do that is to volunteer for a worthy cause. Those looking to get involved in the Hampton Roads area are in luck because there are countless volunteer opportunities. We’ve highlighted some of the top nonprofits you should consider donating your time to.

Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

Location: Virginia Beach

Animal lovers should consider volunteering with the Virginia Beach Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA).

“Volunteers play a central role in the delivery of the Virginia Beach SPCA’s mission of compassion, and we strive to create a rewarding experience for those who dedicate their time and energy to our cause,” the organization’s website reads. “Through collaboration and communication, staff and volunteers work together to create a positive and productive shelter environment, providing quality care to our animals and humane education to our community.”

The SPCA has volunteer opportunities for adults, who can carry out a range of tasks including walking and feeding dogs, providing home-based foster care, and doing clerical work; or junior volunteers ages 14-17, who help with day-to-day operations like cleaning. Those who are interested must apply through the Volunteer Portal.

The Norfolk SPCA is a good alternative for those who live farther west.

Hampton Roads Pride

Location: Norfolk

Hampton Roads Pride is a volunteer-led nonprofit focused on holding community events and offering educational programming that prioritizes building inclusive spaces.

“Join the Hampton Roads Pride community and stand with us in our mission to promote acceptance, diversity, and unity,” the nonprofit’s site states. “Through advocacy, education, and community service, our volunteers demonstrate the capacity of the creative, social, economic, and influential force of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies to effect positive change.”

The org is happy to accept volunteers who want to contribute year-round as well as those who are only available to help with a specific event. A good way to stay up to date on opportunities is to sign up for the volunteer committee newsletter.

United Way of South Hampton Roads

Location: Norfolk

The United Way of South Hampton Roads is dedicated to solving the 757’s biggest problems.

“Whether it’s relief during a short-term crisis or long-term support to rebuild someone’s life, our programs, and those of our partners, create a network of solutions,” the website reads.

The easiest way to get involved is to join the volunteer database, where you’ll find a list of upcoming events. “No organization is better equipped than United Way to connect volunteers to the needs in South Hampton Roads,” the organization claims.

Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore

Location: Norfolk

Where to Volunteer and How to Cultivate Community in Hampton Roads

Photo courtesy of Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore

The Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore is dedicated to doing away with hunger in the surrounding communities.

“You can help eliminate hunger in our community with just a few hours of your time,” the website states. “Every time you volunteer with the Foodbank of Southeastern Virginia and the Eastern Shore, you know that you have helped to provide healthy, nutritious food to our community.”

Those interested in volunteering can complete a short registration process, which will give them access to a list of upcoming openings. Opportunities include the mobile pantry program, quality assurance, special events, and warehouse customer service.

Lynnhaven River NOW

Location: Virginia Beach

Lynnhaven River NOW is the perfect organization to volunteer for if you’re environmentally conscious. It’s a grassroots environmental organization dedicated to restoring and protecting Virginia Beach.

“It takes a community to bring about change and reverse decades of abuse and neglect of our waterways,” the organization’s site reads. “From getting your boots muddy at a monthly trash cleanup, to encouraging residents to incorporate sustainable practices at home, or assisting with an oyster castle build along a living shoreline…there are opportunities for everyone.”

While various volunteer events come up throughout the year, the water quality monitoring and spat catcher programs offer ongoing opportunities. Filling out the general volunteer sign-up will connect you with the volunteer coordinator.

VersAbility Resources

Location: Hampton

VersAbility Resources serves more than 1,800 people with disabilities and their families each year through various programs that serve young children, students, and adults through day support, residential, and diverse employment programs, among other offerings.

“Volunteering and getting involved with VersAbility Resources makes a difference in the lives of the people with disabilities we serve,” the organization said.

Potential ways to volunteer include spending the day at one of the community living homes to help with projects like painting and landscaping, teaching classes or mentoring an individual with disabilities, or becoming a member of the organization and advocating for people with disabilities. Those who are interested in getting involved can fill out this form.

Bonus: Volunteer Hampton Roads

Those who aren’t sure where to volunteer should consider reaching out to Volunteer Hampton Roads, the region’s comprehensive volunteer center.

“We work with our nonprofit members to build their capacity and achieve their missions by providing training, facilitating volunteerism, coordinating large-scale projects, or by complimenting their work through our programs and outreach,” the organization’s website states.

The way it works is you create a volunteer account, in which you express an interest in one of the volunteer opportunities that the member nonprofits post, then you’ll fill out a skills profile so the organization can connect you with volunteer opportunities best suited to your interests and skill set.

  • Aila Boyd

    Aila Boyd is a Virginia-based educator and journalist. She received her MFA in writing from Lindenwood University.



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