Volunteering & Community Participation

The Achieve Foundation’s 4th Annual Maker Madness is Saturday, April 28th at Columbia High School (17 Parker Avenue in Maplewood). 

Maker Madness is a free, hands-on event for students and their families offering activity stations such as animation, 3-D printing, electronics demolition, kinetic sculpture, catapults, coding, Popsicle stick bridges, pop-up books, origami, sewing and more! Over 1,400 students and adults participate every year.Volunteers are needed and appreciated and will receive t-shirts and free refreshments!  Please click here for more information and to sign up to help http://www.signupgenius.com/go/30e054aaaa82aa7ff2-maker



Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
Volunteering for the Towns
Both South Orange and Maplewood rely on volunteer citizens to serve on boards, committees and programs that act in an advisory capacity to the governing bodies in both communities. Positions are continually opening, and it is important that the views, concerns and needs of older residents be represented.  If you are interested in learning more about volunteering for your town, please contact the following:  

South Orange Village Clerk’s office 
or call (973) 378-7715 ext. 1

Maplewood Community Volunteer Resource Program 
or call the Township Clerk, Elizabeth J. Fritzen, at (973) 762-8120 

Other Volunteer Opportunities
Additionally, there are local non-governmental organizations that rely heavily on volunteer efforts to provide services and support in our two towns.  To find out how to participate, contact information is provided below.


Achieve Foundation
The Achieve Foundation of South Orange & Maplewood supports educational excellence and innovation with grants to teachers and tutoring for students, among many other things.  Achieve’s hallmark tutoring program improves the academic performance of children who are struggling with their schoolwork by pairing them with trained volunteer tutors. To learn more about tutoring, visit: www.achievefoundation.org  or contact Program Coordinator Amy Forman: 973-762-5600, ext. 1847,  aforman@somsd.k12.nj.us.

The Community Coalition on Race
The South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is a nationally recognized non-profit organization committed to building a unique, suburban community that is free of racial segregation in housing patterns and community involvement.  As a volunteer for the Coalition, your support is integral in helping them to work together toward a community that is truly inclusive and racially integrated. To sign up, visit their website at: http://www.twotowns.org

Cougar Soccer Club of Maplewood and South Orange
The Cougar Soccer Club is always in need of volunteers for various activities like Saturday morning game days, uniform handouts, picture day, Memorial Day Tournament, and more.  If you are interested in helping out, please contact Donna Mills at DonnaMillsCougarSoccerClub@gmail.com,

English as a Second Language (ESL) Tutors
Tutors are also needed for students in all grades who speak English as their second language.  Help is needed during the school days to help ESL students review and keep up in all subjects as they master English.  To learn more, contact Katie Simpson at Columbia High School,  (973) 762-5600 or email ksimpson@somsd.k12.nj.us.

Essex County Public Health Reserve Corps
The Essex County region of the Medical Reserve Corps is seeking volunteers to respond and assist in the event of an emergency. When volunteering for the Medical Reserve Corps, your individual skills will be utilized at a level you feel comfortable with. You will only be doing tasks that you have been trained to perform before hand. What kind of volunteers are needed? Physicians, physician assistants and nurse; non-medical people; social workers/mental health; communication specialists, administrative and support staff; retired people.

If you are interested please visit the Essex County Public Health Reserve website at: www.essexregional.org or call (973) 251-2059..

The OLS Food Pantry
The OLS food pantry serves people in need on Saturday mornings and needs volunteers each week to prepare. The weekly process starts on Wednesdays with a pick up of fresh produce in Millburn and a packing session (first week of month reserved for seniors) or Thursday (rest of weeks in the month are for any age). On Friday, we need someone to pick up bagels at Goldbergs, Millburn, and on Saturday at Sonny's in SO. Saturday mornings are distributions to the patrons. Many of the tasks involve some lifting and carrying. Volunteers can sign up: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/10c084ca9ac2ea5fb6-sign

The Rent Party
Founded in October 2009, the Rent Party is a live music series based in Maplewood & South Orange. Proceeds from these shows help fight hunger in our community by supporting the local food pantries and the BackPack Pals Program.  BackPack Pals provides  supplemental nutritious, kid-friendly food to children who are food insecure over the weekend.

The Rent Party Garden flourishes in the full sun of the front lawn at the Elks Lodge in South Orange and provides produce for local food pantries - more than 2,000 pounds of fresh produce last season! Regular volunteer hours are: Wednesdays 6:30pm: Weed, Wine, Water; Saturdays 8am: Harvest. If you'd like to volunteer, or donate any extra produce from your own garden, please contact Karen at klrutberg@aol.com.

For more information on ways to help,  email garden@rentpartylive.com or go to http://rentpartylive.com/wp/

St. Hubert’s Animal Shelter
St. Hubert’s is always looking for volunteers to help with animals, in the shop, at the front desk, and give tours of the facility.  Volunteers are asked to do a regular 1-2 hour shift each week, for 6 months. There are also opportunities to foster a pet or become part of the pet therapy program.  For more information, call (973) 377-2295 or visit their website at: www.sthuberts.org 

People for Animals
People for Animals is a low cost dog and cat spay/neuter clinic that provides other low cost services such as rabies and distemper vaccinations and ID chips.  People for Animals works with the both South Orange and Maplewood  to provide feral cat TNR assistance.   Volunteers are needed help at the clinic in Hillside.  Contact Valerie Wilson at 973-282-0890   ext. 222.

The RSVP Center of Essex and Hudson Counties, a program of Jewish Family Service of MetroWest, mobilizes individuals age 55 and over to give back to their communities through volunteer service. RSVP provides a single location where volunteers can review a range of local opportunities, including reading or mentoring children, visiting homebound seniors, assisting at soup kitchens, and more. (973) 765-9050, sgrove@jfsmetrowest.org.  Website: www.jfsmetrowest.org/Volunteer