5 Volunteer Opportunities at the ASYMCA
Written by Valerie McCarley
Want to make an immediate and impactful difference for active-duty service member families? A great place to volunteer is at the Armed Services YMCA (ASYMCA)! Founded in 1861, the ASYMCA is the oldest military support organization in the United States. Now serving 87 installations and facilities nationwide with 12 branches and 23 affiliate partners, the ASYMCA helps to meet the unique challenges of military family life.
April is National Volunteer Month. There’s no better time to get involved! Here are 5 rewarding volunteer opportunities where you can donate your time and talents to support military families through the ASYMCA:
1. Day Camps
Day camps are a great way to do volunteer work for a day (or a few!) at a time! Generally offered during school breaks with preset days and times, you can plan ahead to find a day camp that works best for your schedule. Camps continue to be one of ASYMCA’s most popular and dynamic programs. Bring your knowledge of the outdoors to Operation Camp! Plus, who doesn’t love bonfires and s’mores?
2. Toddler Development Programs
Did you know? The most significant gains in learning occur between ages 2-5. Make your volunteerism even more meaningful when you assist with ASYMCA’s toddler development programs, such as Operation Little Learners. These programs are designed to foster a supportive, educational relationship between the little learner and their parents. Make an impact that will last a lifetime by donating your time, energy, and expertise to our youngest learners! It’s an enriching experience and a wonderful place to volunteer.
3. After-School Programs
After-school programs such as Operation Hero create a safe and fun environment for military children in grades 2-8 to engage in activities that cultivate resilience and help to build a strong social network. These 10-week sessions rely on trained facilitators to explore topics that build on character development to promote community and adaptability. Find volunteer opportunities with ASYMCA after school programs by contacting your local branch.
4. Neighborhood Food Exchanges
With costs of goods continuing to rise, military families are struggling more than ever to put dinner on the table. Coupled with high unemployment and/or underemployment rates among military spouses, these challenges become even greater. To combat military food insecurity, the ASYMCA organizes Neighborhood Food Exchange programs in various cities. Volunteer work includes helping distribute food to military families as well as providing information on local resources and services. The smiles you get from the participants, big and small, will be totally worth it!
5. Seasonal Volunteer Opportunities
For military volunteer opportunities near you, check with your local ASYMCA branch. Many seasonal volunteer opportunities or branch-specific programming could utilize your unique skill set. Programs such as Operation Holiday Joy, which supplies food and gifts for junior enlisted families over the holidays, and Operation Ride Home, providing financial assistance to help offset the cost of travel for active-duty service members and families, can help to make the holidays brighter for all.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
– Dr. Seuss
Each year, the ASYMCA relies on more than 10,000 volunteers to donate over 112,000 volunteer work hours to deliver meaningful programs and services to active-duty military families. Thanks to volunteers like you, these programs are offered at low or no cost to the families participating. Make this the year that you positively impact both your life and the lives of service families. Volunteer today!
Note: Volunteers may be subject to a background check and/or additional qualifying requirements. Please contact your local branch or click the link above to learn more.