Lend a Helping Hand at These Local Health Organizations

From hospitals to hotlines, there are volunteer opportunities for everyone.

Many people want to volunteer, but don’t know where to start. Luckily, in a city overrun with hospitals, medical facilities, and public health initiatives, it only takes a bit of narrowing down to let out your inner philanthropist.

Below, a roundup of programs looking for help year-round:

Hospitals and Community Health Centers

  • Massachusetts General Hospital: Mass General has a robust volunteer department looking for help in more than 20 sectors, including radiation oncology, patient family learning, and pediatrics. 55 Fruit St., 617-726-2000.
  • Boston Medical Center Volunteers are placed throughout the hospital based on individual interest. The only listed requirement is a commitment to the hospital. One Boston Medical Center Place, 617-638-8000.
  • Tufts Medical Center: Visit inpatients, escort patients around the facility, or provide other non-medical support. 800 Washington Street, 617-636-5000.
  • Brigham and Women’s Hospital: Assist hospital staff or work in the facility’s research labs. Friends of BWH can also stay tuned for individual charity and fundraising events through its newsletter. 75 Francis St., 617-732-5500.
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center: Volunteers have a choice of short-term, administrative assignments or placements involving patient interaction, which require a six-month to year-long commitment. There are also positions in the Reiki program.  330 Brookline Ave.,617-667-7000
  • The Dana-Farber Cancer InstituteDCFI offers spots within the cancer treatment facility, and in its art studio, outpatient pharmacy, and food and book carts, to name a few. 450 Brookline Ave.617-632-3307.

Disease Prevention and Outreach

  • The AIDS Action Committee: Potential volunteers can check the group’s continuously updated list of open positions to find interesting picks, including help with special events and Youth On Fire, a homeless youth initiative. 75 Amory St., Roxbury, 800-235-2331.
  • The American Cancer Society: In addition to its usual opportunities and grass-root campaigns, the ACS requests help with government relations and advocacy. 125 South Huntington Ave., 800-227-2345.
  • The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America: The MS Association is known for its Swim For MS initiative, through which volunteers are encouraged to design a swimming-focused fundraiser. (856) 488-4500.

Disabilities and Special Needs

  • Partners For Youth With Disabilities: Partners offers a Mentor Match program that sets volunteers up with a long-term partner. 95 Berkeley Street, Suite 109, 617-556-4075.
  • The Charles River Center: This non-profit provides habilitation and recreational programs for citizens with developmental conditions including autism, Down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. 59 East Militia Heights Dr.,781-972-1000.
  • MAB Community Services: The Massachusetts Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired offers two positions: Volunteers for Vision, who help members of the blind community with day-to-day tasks, and Medical Transportation Drivers, who drive them to doctors’ appointments. 799 West Boylston Street, Worcester, 888-613-2777.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Prevention

  • Boston Health Care for the HomelessWork with homeless men, women, and children at the BHCH’s on-site care facility or administrative offices. 780 Albany St.,857-654-1000.
  • Samaritans IncThis hotline for compassionate suicide prevention seeks volunteers for crisis services and grief support, as well as one-time events. 654Beacon St., 617-536-2460.
  • Boston Area Rape Crisis CenterHelp promote healing after sexual violence and trauma by working in fundraising, as a medical advocate, or on the rape crisis hotline. Multiple locations throughout Cambridge and Boston. 
  • The National Alliance on Mental Illness of MassachusettsThere are dozens of positions with NAMI, whether in the community, at specific events, or on its helpline. 29 Main Street, Suite 1M17, 617-580-8541.
  • The Boston Living Center: The BLC supports communities with HIV/AIDS through peer groups, events, and celebrations. Volunteers can work in its office space, computer lab, or in coat check, in addition to other opportunities. 29 Stanhope St., 617-236-10125

Elderly Care

  • Minuteman Senior Services: Become a SHINE Health Benefits Counselor to work on an aging counsel in your area. 26 Cosby Dr., Bedford, 888-222-6171.
  • Hospice Services of MassachusettsAssist hospice patients and their families by providing quiet company and emotional and administrative support. Multiple locations throughout Massachusetts. 413-442-0045.
  • FriendshipWorksBecome a friend to an elderly or disabled adult. This volunteer program aims to foster real relationships, encouraging participants to speak on the telephone and walk and read together. 105 Chauncy Street Suite 801, 617-482-1510.


  • Boston Children’s HospitalPlay and learn with children and help them complete non-medical tasks. Volunteer commitment is four hours per week. 300 Longwood Ave., 617-355-6000
  • Franciscan Hospital For Children: Franciscan is a personalized, family-centric hospital for children with special healthcare needs. Work in behavioral health, child day care, or the Kennedy Day School for special and therapeutic education. 30 Warren St., Brighton, 617-254-3800.
  • StandUp For Kids: The Worcester location of this national youth organization provides support for homeless and at-risk youth. It regularly hosts volunteer orientations for anyone interested in helping out. 508-963-5576.

Want more ways to give back? There are plenty of local programs to become CPR certified, help out at a blood drive, or even become a volunteer EMT.