10 Places to Volunteer in Spokane, WA
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It’s very true that in times of uncertainty, it’s easy to fear for our future. However, did you know that the simple act of volunteering in support of someone else, or “the greater good,” has actually been proven to bring more happiness and contentment in one’s own life?
Volunteering allows you to help others in our Spokane neighborhoods, get involved, build your resume, and strengthen your sense of community all while aiding in your overall self-esteem. Try volunteering for the good of yourself, your city and your planet!
Volunteer in Spokane: Volunteering Opportunities Around Spokane County
1) Free Rein Therapeutic Riding
Contact info: 509-979-1468, [email protected]
Free Rein Therapeutic Riding offers riding and horsemanship programs to adults and children with disabilities. Horses are a big part of the therapy process, as they are excellent teachers.
Therapeutic riding strengthens muscles, improves balance, allows for problem solving, and requires participants to focus and build on their communication skills. The horses they work with improve physical and emotional health within clients.
Controlling a large animal like a horse almost always increases confidence levels in all riders. New skills, strength and self-esteem carry over into participants’ lives.
Horse therapy teaches emotional regulation, self-awareness, and requires participants to pay attention to how their body language effects the animal.
Free Rein has volunteer opportunities for horse trainers, wranglers, preppers, horse-leaders that work with horses during lessons, and side-walkers who work directly with the students in areas of emotional and physical support during the ride.
Volunteers should be 14 years old and up.
2) The Lands Council
Contact info: 509-838-4912, [email protected]
The Lands Council works toward preserving and revitalizing the forests, water and wildlife of the Inland Northwest. They advocate, educate, take action, and get the community involved in special projects throughout the year. They seek out respectful solutions to issues regarding the environment and health. They work hard to preserve the environment for the benefit of future generations.
Volunteers are mostly involved in tree-planting, watering, digging and cleaning up the river. The tree planting that takes place in urban areas around Spokane utilize bigger trees.
The Lands Council works with the City of Spokane to place these trees in easements between the sidewalk and the street, prioritizing low-income neighborhoods first. Smaller saplings are planted in rural areas, offering volunteer opportunities in the Spring and Fall.
Around October, there will be a once-a-week-opportunity to plant and learn about ecosystems.
Volunteers can also help people rip up sod lawns and xeriscape properties with drought-tolerant plants. This allows people to lessen their water-use impact and receive a monetary credit from local electric companies.
In September, join The Lands Council for their annual “River Cleanup,” an event that’s been happening for the last 18 years. Six hundred people usually attend this event, but they would love to boost that number.
Typically, multi-generational families come out to volunteer as all ages are welcome with adult supervision.
3) Second Harvest
Contact info: 509-534-6678, [email protected]
Second Harvest believes that all people should have the basic right of having access to healthy and nutritious food. They are working to fight hunger and feed people’s hope. Bringing resources together within the community, they empower, educate and create partnerships around a healthy Spokane.
With their “Mobile Market,” they deliver nutritious food directly where people need it. A truck that carries 8,000-10,000 pounds of delicious food travels to community centers, churches, and partnering businesses.
Their converted bus travels to families with children and seniors living within retirement communities. The Mobile Market also often serves people in rural areas who don’t have much access to fresh produce or perishables.
In just a two-hour timeframe, volunteers help to distribute food to around 300 families.
4) Journey Through Grief
Contact info: 509-436-9700, [email protected]
Journey Thru Grief is a business located in Spokane Valley and is owned by Tracy Oeser who is passionate about advocating for suicide loss survivors.
In 2006, Tracy lost her own daughter to suicide and has since been on her own grief journey. It is estimated that for every person lost to suicide, 135 people are affected to some degree. Stigma causes loss survivors keep to themselves and grieve alone.
Tracy wanted to support fellow loss survivors in the Spokane community as well as nationally. Journey Thru Grief connects survivors with resources, peer support groups, and wellness workshops. For more information, see their website, or listen to the podcast, “Journey Through Your Suicide Loss.”
In terms of volunteering opportunities, they are currently collecting handmade greeting cards throughout the year. These will be disbursed through mental health facilities in support of patients. Eventually, they will be looking for peer support-group facilitators and workshop speakers.
Anyone 17 years old and up is invited to create “you matter” care-cards.
5) Art Salvage Spokane
Contact info: 509-598-8983, [email protected]
Art Salvage Spokane is the first center for reusing art materials around Spokane. They’re all about using discarded items to create art—creative reuse, though some may refer to what they do as upcycling or repurposing.
The idea behind creative reuse comes from the marriage of sustainability with creativity. Here, shoppers can purchase scrap art-making-materials at a great price while keeping usable supplies out of the landfill.
Volunteers are brought on to support the mission at Art Salvage, “keep materials out of the waste-stream and make them accessible to makers in the Spokane area.” The tasks at this creative-reuse center include sorting, organizing, accepting donated materials, and fashioning examples and displays of reuse art.
The organization also needs volunteers to assist with art projects at community events such as the market and teachers for classes and workshops at Art Salvage.
Volunteers eighteen years and up are accepted.
6) Peace & Justice Action League of Spokane (PJALS)
Contact info: 509-838-7870, [email protected]
The Peace and Justice Action League of Spokane encourages citizens of Spokane to move toward a more just and nonviolent world. They do this through organizing the community, leadership development, human rights education, peace and economic fairness.
By law, staff and resources cannot be used to support or oppose political candidates. Their mission is to create a nonviolent world where people work together to advance peace, promote economic justice, and stand up for the basic human rights of all.
They work to achieve these goals by engaging the next generation, cultivating leadership amongst youth and getting young people involved in the long-run. They build and nurture relationships with the LGBT+ community, communities of color, faith groups, and progressive organizations.
They have a system of volunteers who get involved in leadership, share organizational messages, set up debates, and engage local Spokanites.
7) Odyssey Youth Movement
Contact info: 509-325-3637
The mission of Odyssey Youth Movement is to promote equity for LGBTQ+ youth in the Inland Northwest through youth-driven programs and community education.
- Vision – Thriving LGBTQ+ youth in the Inland Northwest.
- Values – Dignity: All people have inherent worth.
- Community: Human connectedness fosters a greater understanding of self, others, and the world around us.
- Social Justice: Inland Northwest youth deserve equitable access to resources and opportunities.
Odyssey depends on their amazing volunteers and mentors to help with everything from drop-in programming to youth center upkeep. If you’re interested in joining their team as a volunteer in Spokane, make sure to contact Odyssey!
8) Booktraders Spokane
Contact info: 509-326-7653, [email protected]
Booktraders is an independent Spokane business that’s been around for the last 35 years. They sell used books, audio, and DVDs. They have a unique system established where customers can trade in books for store-credit toward their purchase.
Booktraders loves connecting people in Spokane by the books they have read and the books they need.
While they are not a non-profit, they do have a volunteer in Spokane program in which people can get paid in books! This is a wonderful volunteer opportunity for avid readers who love books.
Volunteers can come in whenever is convenient for them and the bookstore pays them a certain number of books per shift.
After a good life-cycle on their shelves, books are donated to reading programs, nursing homes, and free libraries.
9) Our Place Community Outreach
Contact info: 509-326-7267, [email protected]
Our Place Community Outreach offers a food bank to anyone who is hungry, as often as they are in need. They have a clothing bank where donated clothing and household items are available whenever families are in need.
Once per year, Our Place can provide people with assistance for up to $300 on utility payments. Personal care, feminine hygiene, makeup and diapers are also sponsored to all people in need. A laundry center is made available through reservations. Is there anything wonderful that they don’t do for their community?
A note to their volunteers:
10) Spokane Humane Society
Contact info: 509-467-5235 ext. 229, [email protected]
The Spokane Humane Society provides a safe shelter for animals until they are able to find them a forever home, and is not just an opportunity to volunteer in Spokane, but the surrounding area as well!
Not everyone who owns a pet can afford to pay for all its needs. Because of this, they offer low-income families with donated pet food and reduced-rate visits to the veterinarian. Each year, their pet food bank distributes over 35,000 pounds of pet food to the Spokane community.
Interested in ways you can volunteer in Spokane and the surrounding areas?
- Foster an animal! This program provides temporary care for cats and dogs. In this volunteer position, you can provide love, care, and commitment all from the comfort of your own home.
- Feline Friends and Canine Crew volunteers help cats and dogs get accustomed to socialization, exercise, and training in order to ready the animals that are waiting to be adopted.
- Volunteers who work in the clinic maintain cleanliness, sterilize instruments, assist with patient preparation and aid animals in recovery.
- Outreach volunteers participate in over 100 community outreach events each year to increase visibility for the Spokane Humane Society and to get animals adopted at public venues.
- Volunteers who work at the front desk support visitors and potential pet-parents through customer service.
More Volunteer Opportunities in Spokane
Obviously, this is not an exhaustive list of all the volunteer opportunities around Spokane! There are many more organizations and nonprofits that are always searching for volunteers, both for year round and seasonal service.
If you want to volunteer in Spokane and learn more about opportunities, make sure to visit the United Way’s Volunteer Spokane page here, and head over to our Facebook group to share which organizations you volunteer with!