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/
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
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)