If you are an SMU student searching for a place to volunteer around the Dallas area, here’s a list of philanthropies that could use your time and talents.
1. New Horizons of North Texas
New Horizons is a nonprofit dedicated to helping at-risk teenagers and children. These children are considered at-risk by Dallas County because they and their families are living below the poverty line and are typically a couple of school grades behind in their reading ability and scores. Volunteers spend two hours a week mentoring a small group of students by assisting them with homework, reading and playing games. Volunteers serve two to four times a month during after school hours from 3 to 5 p.m. To get involved, visit their website and fill out an interest form online.
2. The Legacy Senior Communities
This is a Jewish-sponsored charitable organization committed to providing excellent care to seniors and their families, offering assisted living and memory care. They have numerous volunteer opportunities available from coordinating arts and crafts, to friendly one-on-one visits, to help with administrative positions. You can volunteer by filling out the application on their website.
3. The Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center
The Center is a one-of-a-kind organization that assists public and private agencies in providing care for children who have been abused in Dallas County and helping to prosecute offenders. Some volunteer services needed are organizing and cleaning the waiting and therapy spaces, setting up and serving dinner to clients, and helping host movie nights for the children. The Center’s volunteer hours are flexible, but some level of verification is required before you can help out. Prospective volunteers must fill out an application online, attend an orientation session and complete a background check. For more information check out the DCAC website.
4. The Ronald McDonald House of Dallas
This is a facility that houses, supports and cares for families who have children receiving extensive medical care. Ronald McDonald is always looking for dedicated volunteers to assist in its mission. The main volunteer spots that are needed are van drivers and positions at the front desk, kitchen and family room. Each position is worked in weekly three-hour shifts, but volunteers must commit to serve at the House for at least three months. To apply, fill out an online application, visit the House for a tour, and interview and pass a background check. After your application is reviewed and accepted, you attend a training session at the House. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Ronald McDonald, email their Volunteer Coordinator, Juliet Siddons.
5. North Texas Reading Partners
Reading Partners is committed to placing volunteers in low-income schools to help children master basic reading skills. Volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring to help kids achieve and succeed. Reading Partners is looking for volunteers to read with children who are in kindergarten through the third grade. It is only a one hour per week commitment. Once you’re paired with a child, you remain as that same child’s reading mentor throughout your sessions. The only requirement to volunteer is to fill out an online form and pass a background check. To learn more at the North Texas Reading Partners website.
All of these organizations offer wonderful and meaningful opportunities for SMU students to help the Dallas community that means so much to us. Time to give back and Pony Up!