Volunteering (Unpaid Employment) Activities

Unpaid employment (volunteering) is a great place to start evaluating an individual’s work skills.  In addition to the important benefits experienced by all people who volunteer, individuals with disabilities are able to learn soft work skills and practice social skills in a work environment.  Soft works skills include such things as showing up on-time, wearing appropriate clothing, work hygiene, etc.  Challenges with social skills are a core deficit in autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities and often present a barrier to paid employment.  Developing appropriate work social skills allows individuals to move on to paid employment.  Because we want these benefits in addition to the self-worth built through volunteering, our volunteer opportunities include non-profits where individuals can work alongside non-disabled peers.  While many worthwhile at-home volunteer opportunities exist, these do not offer the same benefits of the in-person opportunities for those we serve. The resources below have helped us in matching the individuals we serve with enjoyable volunteer, unpaid work.

Websites that help find local volunteer opportunities:

Just Serve https://www.justserve.org/

Besa https://impact.besa.org/

Look for opportunities like these in your neighborhood:

Central Ohio Ronald McDonald House https://rmhc-centralohio.org/

Lifecare Alliance and Meals on Wheels https://www.lifecarealliance.org/volunteer/

Growlers Dog Bones https://growlersdogbones.org/

Habitat for Humanity Mid-Ohio https://www.habitatmidohio.org/get-involved/volunteer/overview.html

MagLiteracy https://magliteracy.org/

Jewish Family Services https://jfscolumbus.org/get-involved/ (or other local churches or synagogues of all denominations)

Pets without Parents http://www.petswithoutparents.net/ (or other local animal shelters)

Mid-Ohio Foodbank https://mofc.org/volunteer/ (or other local foodbanks)

Miracle League of Columbus Ohio https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdVGyBB5wQxe-vyXev-wFBhuICvaRZY-VPblK4KpPxAUIV6nQ/viewform

Friendship Village of Dublin https://www.fvdublin.org/ (or other local nursing homes)