Civic Engagement Requirement

Students must submit a Statement of Purpose no later than the first week of classes in the spring of their second year in the Program. The Statement should discuss in some depth the area of service (e.g. poverty, housing, children's issues, the environment, etc.) the student will pursue and the reasoning behind the choice. The Statement should also include a plan with specifics as to how the service goal will be reached.

Each semester thereafter until graduation from the Program the student must complete no fewer than 10-15 hours of approved community service.


Civic engagement expresses a core value of the Honors Program. Examples of civic engagement include volunteering with a community service organization, registering to vote, donating blood, tutoring in an after school program, and many other things as well.

Students in the Honors Program are strongly encouraged to participate in public service in the Shoals area as well as in their home towns during the first year.

The Civic Engagement Requirement begins with successful completion of the Honors 201 Forum. Students then must submit a Statement of Purpose no later than the first week of classes in the spring of their second year in the Program. The Statement should discuss in some depth the area of service (e.g. poverty, housing, children's issues, the environment, etc.) the student will pursue and the reasoning behind their choice. The Statement should also include a plan with specifics as to how the service goal will be reached.

Each semester thereafter until graduation from the Program the student must complete no fewer than 10-15 hours of approved community service. The majority of these hours should be in their chosen service area.

While the desire to serve must come from within, we believe service is an essential part of the college experience.  Below you will find contact information concerning a number of service organizations and opportunities in the Shoals.  Please consider what kind of difference you can make.


Click for Community Service Form


Shoals Area Volunteer Organizations

Alabama Kidney Foundation

The Shoals Chapter of the Alabama Kidney Foundation is a nonprofit organization that serves the Shoals in providing financial and emotional support and assistance to dialysis patients, transplant recipients and their families.  For more information visit the website, or contact Marty Rich (256) 766-7577 or Linda Newkirk (256) 767-1391.

American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is seeking cosmetologists, skin-care and make-up specialists to volunteer their services in helping women undergoing cancer treatments through a program called "Look Good … Feel Better." The program is offered as a partnership of the American Cancer Society, The Cosmetic, Toiletry and Fragrance Association Foundation and the National Cosmetology Association. The program teaches women hands-on techniques to help restore their appearance and self-image during treatment.  For more information visit or call the local office (256)767-0823.

The American Cancer Society's Road to Recovery program needs volunteer drivers who can provide essential service to their neighbors in Shoals communities. Volunteers must own a car and possess safe driving skills. For more information visit  or call the local office (256) 767-0823.

The American Red Cross of Northwest Alabama

The American Red Cross of Northwest Alabama has volunteer opportunities available at the Florence office at 318 S. Court St. Volunteers are needed to help with answering the phone, filing and data entry. There is a need for volunteers to do disaster services and community education. For more information contact Tammy Burks at (256)764-2911 or

Arc of the Shoals

Arc of the Shoals provides services for adults age 21 and older with mental retardation They need volunteers to visit with residents, take them shopping and to community events. For more information contact Donna Akins, 256-383-1472 ext 16, or

Big Brothers/Big Sisters

Big Brothers/Big Sisters provides an adult role model for children, ages 6-13. A professional case manager interviews each child and parent. The parent shares information about the child's personality, needs and interests and a suitable volunteer is matched with the child. The volunteer and the child decide the activities. For more information contact Gina Mashburn at (256) 248-1931 or email to You can also access information on the website


CASA volunteers are Court-Appointed Special Advocates. They investigate cases involving abused and neglected children in court. CASA volunteers require no special background; interested individuals attend 30 hours of training and spend an average of 5-10 hours per month working on the child's behalf. After talking with everyone who touches the life of the child, the volunteer reports to the judge the acquired information and makes recommendations.  For more information please contact CASA at (256)765-0041, or P.O. Box 1313, Florence, AL 35631. You can find additional information on their website

Cherokee Rescue Squad

Cherokee Rescue Squad needs volunteers to assist in the community by providing ambulance transportation and search/rescue services. Training will be provided. Volunteers are needed as first-responders, emergency medical technicians, search personnel, drivers, and boat operators. Meetings are at 7 p.m., on first Monday of each month at the rescue squad building, onDaniel Street, Cherokee.  For more information you may email the squad at or call Matt Moore (256) 702-6221.

Children's Museum of the Shoals

The Children's Museum of the Shoals in Florence is seeking volunteers to help as birthday party room volunteers, field trips volunteers, and book fairs volunteers. The museum is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., For more information visit their website or call  (256) 765-0500.

Colbert Caring Center

Colbert Caring Center in Tuscumbia provides partial payment of utilities, as well as vouchers for emergency food and prescriptions. The Caring Center is supported by churches, individuals and organizations.  Office hours are 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. For more information call (256) 381-8464.

The Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama

The Community Action Agency of Northwest Alabama needs individuals or groups to deliver meals to homebound individuals in the Shoals area. For more information visit their website or call (256) 766-4330.

Cramer Children's Center

The Cramer Children's Center is a nonprofit organization that needs volunteers to help monitor court-ordered visitations, answering phones, do light filing, greet clients when they have appointments, and playing with children while their parents speak to a therapist. The center is a nonprofit 5013c agency. For more information contact Ashley Whitehead at (256)760-1140, or visit the website

ECM Hospital

Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital (256) 768-8491 is seeking volunteers for the following:  Transporter - This person will help transport patients to their vehicle after their stay in the hospital. It requires a lot of walking and some interaction with patients; Cath lab, ICU and CCU waiting areas - This person greets families to the waiting area and is available for questions from family members; Patient information - This person serves as a greeter to those who enter the hospital, searches for patient information on the computer and relays it to the visitor on the telephone or in the hospital.  For more information visit the website

Florence-Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency's Search and Rescue Team

Florence-Lauderdale County Emergency Management Agency's Search and Rescue Team is looking for volunteers to assist with water safety, storm spotting, community activities, searching for missing people, and response and recovery during times of disaster. Applications are available 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday at the EMA office located in the basement of Florence City Hall. For more information call (256)760-6300.

Florence Main Street

Florence Main Street is a non-profit organization dedicated to the economic and cultural revitalization of downtown Florence. They need volunteers for many different things. For more information contact Executive Director Teryl Shields at (256) 760-9648,or visit the website for more information.

Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama

Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama is a nonprofit organization dedicated solely to girls. It helps cultivate values, social conscience, and self-esteem in young girls, while teaching critical life skills that will enable them to succeed as adults. Girl Scouts of North Alabama is looking for adult volunteers. For more information contact Nicole Fults, Kim Knight or Jeanene Welch, (256) 764-0331 or (800) 410-8338.

Habitat for Humanity

The Local Habitat for Humanity, like all affiliates, is a non profit, ecumenical based, christian organization. It was founded on the belief that all men, women, and children regardless of race or religon should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live. They welcome volunteers from all backgrounds. Volunteers need nothing more than their bodies and willingness to learn various skills.  People with no experience are usually paired with experienced volunteers on Habitat builds. For more information please visit their website or call (256)760-9515.   

The Healing Place

The Healing Place provides ongoing grief support for children (ages 3-19) and adults who have suffered the loss of a loved one by death because of an accident, illness, suicide, or homicide. Support also is available for children whose loved one is seriously ill. There is no charge for the service. Volunteers are needed to assist with the children's groups. The minimum commitment is two hours quarterly and training is available. For more information call (256) 383-7133 or visit the website

Helen Keller Hospital’s Department of Volunteer Service

Helen Keller Hospital's Department of Volunteer Services in Sheffield is seeking volunteers in several areas including:  Outpatient Desk - answer and direct phone calls, assist with admitting personnel, direct visitors and patients, etc. Computers and phones are used and training available; Dial-A-Volunteer - run errands, transport patients, etc. Must be able to push wheelchairs and carts; Greeters - greet visitors at the main entrance; ER waiting area - greet and assist patients in the emergency room waiting area, help admitting, run errands, etc.; Day-patient waiting area - liaison between the families and staff of the Day Patient Center. For more information, please call volunteer coordinator Christa Martin at (256) 386-4107.

The Help Center

The Help Center needs volunteers to organize donated materials in receiving, work in the food area, sort clothes, assist clients, and staff the office.  They are open on MWF from 8:30 a.m. - noon. For more information, please contact George Megar (Mon), Kay Elder (Wed), or Ray Curry (Fri) at (256)766-7663. 

Helping Hands Animal Rescue

Volunteers needed at The Shoals first no-kill shelter. For more information call  (256) 360-2953,or email

Heritage Preservation Inc.

A non-profit organization devoted to historical preservation in the Florence and Lauderdale County Alabama area. For more information contact Board President Billy Warren at

Hospice of the Shoals

Hospice of the Shoals is a nonprofit organization caring for terminally ill patients in their homes in Colbert, Franklin and Lauderdale counties. Volunteers are needed to do errands, light housework and provide companionship to patients and their families.For more information visit the website, or call (256) 767-6699.

Mama’s Educational Turtle Haven and Rescue

Mama's Educational Turtle Haven and Rescue, a chartered and not-for-profit program. Vplunteers are needed to bathe and oil large 200-pound tortoises, clean stalls in tortoise house, put down new bedding, weedeat, and clean water and food dishes. The Haven accepts all turtles, well or sick. There is a drop bucket at the Haven at 157 E. Lee Ave., Florence. For more information, please contact Debbie Marsh at (256) 764-5369, on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.

Montreat Apartments

Montreat is a nonprofit organization and affordable housing community for people ages 62 or older who need an handicapped-accessible unit. Montreat needs volunteers to drive their handicapped-accessible van to recreational outings with the residents. They are willing to work around the volunteers' schedule.  For more information, please contact Mary Alice Brackin at (256) 767-2211, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.

Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG)

The Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments offices located in Muscle Shoals seeks volunteers for the State Health Insurance Program. The SHIP program utilizes volunteer counselors to provide senior citizens with information regarding health-insurance options. Volunteers are trained to provide materials and policy comparisons for individuals needing supplemental insurance, provide one-on-one counseling with individuals via phone or site visits and help promote this free service. For more information, please call (256) 389-0530.

The NACOLG SeniorRx Prescription Program assists low-income elderly complete necessary paperwork to qualify for free or low-cost life-sustaining medication. Volunteers are needed to copy, file, do data entry, and answer phones in the Florence, Phil-Campbell, and Haleyville offices. For more information please call (800) 243-5463 or (256) 389-0532.

Neighborhood Christian Center (Decatur)

The Neighborhood Christian Center is similar to the Help Center in Florence. They provide food and other forms of assistance along with classes and training for clients. For more information contact Tim & Pamela Bolding at or (256) 351-7633.

Northwest Alabama Reading Aides

Northwest Alabama Reading Aides is a nonprofit United Way agency in need of volunteers to teach adults how to read. After completing a three-day training workshop to become familiar with the teaching material, volunteers are matched with an individual student at a convenient time to them both. They will meet twice a week for about 1.5 hours each session. For more information contact Jim Green at (256) 766-5709.

Pets Are Worth Saving (PAWS)

PAWS (Pets are Worth Saving) is dedicated to providing assistance to abandoned and abused pets in Northwest Alabama. Through collaboration with other animal welfare organizations and shelters, PAWS seeks to implement innovative programs that will provide foster homes and promote adoptions. The organization also supports spay/neuter and other educational programs designed to teach citizens how to humanely care for their pets. PAWS' foster-care network needs volunteers to provide short-term, in-home care for friendly dogs and cats until they are adopted. All veterinary care is paid. For more information please visit the website  or call (256) 383-0690.

Rape Response

Rape Response is a nonprofit agency dedicated to helping victims of sexual assault in Colbert, Lauderdale, Franklin, Marion and Lawrence counties. Volunteers 19 years and older are needed to answer 24 hour crisis line, assist with prevention programs, and general office duties. Volunteer nurses are needed for examinations. Volunteers receive extensive training. For more information contact (256) 765-0025 or visit the website

Room in the Inn 

Room in the Inn is an alliance of local churches, volunteers, and community partners for the purpose of providing food and shelter to the homeless population of the Shoals. and on Facebook

Safeplace Inc.

Safeplace Inc. provides services for victims of domestic violence in Colbert, Franklin, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Marion, and Winston counties. Volunteers are needed to answer the crisis line, to provide child care and activities,  tutoring, yard work, maintenance, office work,bulk mailing, language interpretation, prevention programs, pick up and delivery of donations, court advocacy, speaking engagements, special event coordination, and other activities. For information visit their website

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army needs volunteers to sort and size clothing, refinish and refurbish furniture and appliances, stock items, and collect donations, work in the office, to prepare food and grocery baskets, and do maintenance work. For information please call (256) 764-4432.

Shoals Area Tri-County Adult Program

Shoals Area Tri-County Adult Program trains volunteers to teach adults to read and assist with other skills, including letter-writing, job application, resume-writing and parenting skills. Please contact Donnie Sweeney or Sandy Mitchell, (256) 331-5438 or (256) 331-5440.

Shoals Sav-A-Life

Shoals Sav-A-Life provides services for pregnancy testing, parenting classes, abstinence education, and abortion recovery/counseling.  Please contact Ruth Wallace at (256) 740-0640.

St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store

St. Vincent DePaul Thrift Store is a non-profit organization that sells donated items at a reasonable price. Surplus funds from the store are used to subsidize the utility and rent program administered by the St. Vincent DePaul Society. The society helps anyone in need regardless of race or religion. The store is at 659 S. Poplar St., Florence off Veterans Drive behind Jenkins Brick. Volunteers are needed for pick up and deliveries. Please call (256)718-0901 for information on volunteering.

United Way Success by 6 of Northwest Alabama

Success by 6 is an early childhood development initiative whose goal is make sure every child in the community is prepared for first grade. Success by 6 hosts fundraisers to fund book giveaways, readiness screenings, and other early childhood interventions. Volunteers are needed to read to children in day cares, participate in fundraising, help with web and social media, and other projects. For information contact Crystal MacGruder at

The Underwood Petersville Community Center

The Underwood Petersville Community Center needs volunteers to help with maintenance and upkeep of the building; help organize and serve at banquets catered at the center; assist with the center's monthly fundraising project, an all-you-can-eat breakfast the first Saturday of each month, and serve on the board of directors. For more information please call (256) 764-1388.

United Way

The United Way needs volunteers for activities throughout the year for agency community partners.  For more information please visit their website or call (256) 764-5892.

Victims of Crime and Leniency (VOCAL)

VOCAL (Victims of Crime and Leniency) is a non-profit organization established for the purpose of improving the quality of justice for victims of crime. Volunteers are needed for victims' assistance, victims' advocacy and education and public awareness programs. Anyone who is a victim, a family member of a victim, or an interested party of a victim is invited to attend VOCAL meetings. For more information please call (256) 757-6149, evenings.

Wayne County 4-H

The Wayne County, Tenn., 4-H program is seeking volunteers who want to make a difference in the lives of children. Volunteers are needed to meet with fourth- and fifth-grade 4-H clubs in Collinwood, Clifton, and Waynesboro. Applicants will be screened and training is provided. For information contact Shaun Jackson at (931) 722-3229.