Help us end family homelessness.
“I volunteer at the Friends Association because the bond of family is sacred and merits celebration when times are good and nourishment during difficult times.”
—Maurice Ward, Allstate Corporation
In recent years, Friends Association volunteers have donated countless hours of their time, energy, and skills in order to improve the lives of the families we serve. With the support of our volunteers, Friends Association has assisted hundreds of families on the road to self-sufficiency and housing stability.
If you’re seeking an opportunity to support families experiencing homelessness in your community, an opportunity with Friends might be the right fit for you.
Some of the ways that you can serve with Friends Association include:
Individual Volunteer Opportunities
Whether you’d like to join us on a regular or rotating basis, we’d love to have you. We have opportunities to fit your interests and skill-set on a schedule that works for you.
- Administrative support
- Program support
- Maintenance support
- Seasonal programs
- Family and children support
Group Volunteer Event Opportunities
Our group of volunteers are the backbone of keeping our shelter and office building up and running in addition to providing support to our families within the community.
- Shelter maintenance, inside and out
- Office maintenance
- Donation sorting
- Donation drives
- Event staffing
Family Volunteering Opportunities
We serve families and we love to host as well. Find out more about the ways in which your family can volunteer with us.
- Craft projects for children and families
- Donation drives
- Meal preparation
- Seasonal parties for families
As we welcome new families into our programs our needs change throughout the year. Please visit our listings page on VolunteerMatch to see some of our most pressing volunteer needs.
We have opportunities for you or your group to volunteer with us and make a difference in the life of a family in need.
“Home” is often just a dream in an impoverished family’s life, but Friends Association is making that dream a reality. Through the kindness of our volunteers, we are fulfilling the needs of homeless families by turning a temporary shelter into a safe and secure home. Our volunteers continue to amaze us by living up to the philosophy of kindness every day.
Although we may only know them for a short time, volunteers touch our hearts forever. Samantha (Sam) Jacobs found Friends Association during her last year at Cabrini College. The Communications major was looking for a volunteer opportunity that would offer her an opportunity to explore career options. During her 2016 internship with Friends Association, she found much more than that. Sam discovered, “… what it is like to work in a place where everyone is working together to make a positive difference rather than in a place where the only concern is to make money.” That change in philosophy is now driving Sam’s career decisions.
During her internship, this college senior created a video series highlighting landlords that give people a second chance by accepting families with less-than-perfect tenant histories. The video series portray landlords as everyday heroes that combine their business interests with helping distressed families in the community. The video series has been widely viewed on social media and is still creating awareness in the community about Friends Association’s Homeless Prevention Program and its collaboration with the everyday heroes among us – landlords. In addition, Sam also created a short video that was shown at the 2016 West Chester Charity Ball, entitled “Count on Me,” that expressed gratitude to our community for providing ongoing, reliable support of our programs.
When asked about her time volunteering at Friends Association, Sam states, “When you volunteer at Friends, you are investing in the children of families who have gotten stuck in situations that are out of their control. It is the children who suffer the most when a family becomes homeless. I think that allowing those children to see that people do care, and giving them hope for a better future is crucial.”Samantha Jacobs
In an impersonal and tech-driven era, Candice Swick has made it her mission to bring a caring, personal touch back into the lives of our client families.
Candice as a child loved to get anything in the mail. The feeling of excitement she got from receiving something personally addressed to her was immeasurable. She has been volunteering at Friends for the past three years to bring that feeling of excitement to client families. Candice writes the monthly Client Newsletter, which is filled with relevant, family-friendly information, games, and recipes. The newsletter is a highly anticipated staple in the lives of our client families. One mother writes, “My boys are so excited every time we get the newsletter. We make the recipes together, play the games, and learn something new every month.” It is through Candice’s creativity that our families receive a personal and fun reminder of the caring they deserve.
Although Candice provides a valued service to our clients, what she receives back through volunteering also holds great value for her. She describes her volunteer service as “heartwarming” and emotionally rewarding and enjoys being an integral part of a loving and friendly organization that makes a difference in the lives of children.Candice Swick
The impact of homelessness extends far beyond the lack of a physical address. The highly mobile lifestyle of a homeless child has severe educational consequences. The frequent changes in living arrangements can often be traumatic. Volunteers who provide academic support through tutoring programs are often the key to a homeless student’s success.
Heidi Schwartz is one of the volunteer tutors at Friends Association who recognizes the challenges students face in homeless families. She dedicates her volunteer time to supporting the educational needs of client families. Recently, she worked with an eight year old girl who had fallen behind in both reading comprehension and math. Heidi’s first challenge was getting the little girl to want to do her work and then sustaining her interest through the 45 minute, semiweekly tutoring sessions. A walk to the library and obtaining her very first library card were enough to ignite the child’s passion for learning – she was thrilled to have something of her own. Slowly, the girl’s reading comprehension improved until one day she came home from school with a huge smile. She had earned a “B” on a reading assignment, something she had never done before.
Matt Zencey has volunteered as a summer tutor at Friends Association for the past two years. A summer free from academic activities can cause a student at any grade level to lose two to three months of academic skills. Volunteers like Matt believe that children who take time to learn during the summer months are more successful during the school year. Matt fondly recalls a five year old girl who grasped the concept of multiplication for the first time. Using colorful dice, she squealed, “Two times five is ten!” He has also been gifted with the memory of a three year old boy on the autism spectrum who would stop rocking to sort a small collection of small, rubber, toy vehicles by color and type. Matt finds working with the younger children rewarding and gets great satisfaction when they succeed in grasping a concept during tutoring sessions.Matt Zencey & Heidi Schwartz