Civic Engagement



Civic engagement expresses a core value of the Cole Honors College. 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 College are strongly encouraged to participate in public service in the Shoals area as well as in their home towns during the first year. 

The desire to serve must come from within, and we believe service is an essential part of the college experience.  Please consider how you might make a difference to something that matters to you.

Shoals Area Volunteer Organizations
Alabama Kidney Foundation
The Shoals Chapter of the Alabama Kidney Foundation has closed. There is a Huntsville location that continues to serve kidney patients by providing financial assistance, education and support services. The Foundation provides public education to promote organ donation awareness and prevention of kidney disease. If you are interested in volunteering contact (256) 975-0000 or visit there website at

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. There are other volunteer opportunities available as well including the "Road to Recovery" program in which volunteers are needed to drive cancer patients to and from appointments. For more information about these opportunities and more visit or contact the Huntsville location at (256) 536-1863.

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 the Florence location at (256) 760-2098.

Arc of the Shoals
Arc of the Shoals provides services for adults age 21 and older with an intellectual or developmental disability. They need volunteers to visit with residents, take them shopping and to community events. For more information contact the Arc of the Shoals at (256) 383-1472. 

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 the local Big Brothers/Big Sisters at (256)248-1931. 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. You must be be 21 or older to actually work with a case after training, but anyone can participate in educational training sessions.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 go to their website or call (256)765–004.

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, on Daniel Street, Cherokee.  For more information you may contact the Cherokee Rescue Squad at (256) 412-5319 or

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 fair volunteers. The museum is open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday 10:00 a.m.- 4:30 p.m., For more information 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, but volunteers may be needed outside of those hours. For more information contact Colbert Caring Center at (256) 381-8464.

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 for the Lauderdale Co. office and (256) 383-3832 for the Colbert Co. Office.

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
CERT training is offered for free each fall through the UNA Public Safety Institute on the UNA East Campus.  The training includes at least 20 hours of classroom instruction and participation in mock emergency disaster drills.  Classes are taught by appropriate experts currently working in their respective relative fields, such as fire, police, and EMT, as well as emergency managers. Drills are also scheduled throughout the year to keep CERT members engaged and well-trained. People of all skill levels, abilities, and experience are encouraged to become CERT members.  Team members can contribute in a variety of ways, including record keeping, equipment inventory and distribution, triage, light search and rescue, and medical response, depending on individual interests and abilities. Members must be at least 18 years old to participate. For more information or to get involved:

Cramer Children's Center The Cramer Children's Center is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization that needs volunteers to help monitor court-ordered visitations, answer phones, do light filing, greet clients when they have appointments, and play with children while their parents speak to a therapist. For more information contact the Cramer Children's Center at (256) 760-1140, or 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) 760-6363.

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 religion 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 call (256)760-9515 or email   
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 Lynne Borden at (256) 386-4476 or visit their website Volunteer (

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. There may be opportunities to work outside of volunteer hours if there are interested groups. If you are interested in volunteering at Help Center come by during open hours to see which department you would like to serve. You can contact the Help Center at (256) 766-7663.
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.

Mitchell-Hollingsworth Nursing & Rehab Center
They are in need of volunteers to interact with the residents at the center. The residents truly enjoy the interaction with the students. Students could sing, play piano, or do activities with the residents. Contact them at (256) 740-5400 or visit their website

Montreat Apartments
Montreat is a nonprofit organization and affordable housing community for people ages 62 or older who need a 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 Nina Williams at (256) 767-2259, 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.
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.
North Alabama Medical Center 
NAMC is seeking volunteers for the following: Volunteer tasks include but are not limited to transporting patients, attending waiting rooms, delivering patient mail, and assisting people at the patient information desk. Weekday shifts from 8 am – 12 pm and 12 pm – 4 pm. Request that volunteers commit to at least one shift per week. For more information visit the website:
Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments (NACOLG)
The Northwest Alabama Council of Local Governments' offices located in Muscle Shoals seek 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.
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 the Northwest Alabama Reading Aides at (256) 766-5709. 
One Place of the Shoals

Our Volunteers assist in making One Place of the Shoals a safe and comfortable place for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or elder abuse, and their families, to seek services by developing a spirit of cooperation and partnership with the community and to become the model of volunteer programs.  Areas of Service include: Hospitality Volunteers – Hospitality Volunteers create a welcoming environment for new clients by initially greeting them in the reception area and assisting with the Intake Process. Child Waiting Area Volunteers – Volunteers in our Child Waiting Area provide supervision to children between the ages of 3-13. These volunteers provide a warm and supportive play environment for the children of Family Justice Center clients while the clients receive services. Chaplains – Chaplains provide spiritual support and discuss any spiritual questions or difficulties with clients, especially struggles with suffering, the marriage covenant, or other faith-related issues. Housekeeping – Light housekeeping duties to help maintain a warm and comfortable environment. Fundraising and Special Projects – Assist with fundraising benefits and special projects to help raise money and awareness.

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.
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 Sav-A-Life
Shoals Sav-A-Life provides services for pregnancy testing, parenting classes, abstinence education, and abortion recovery/counseling. Visit the website, or call 256-740-0640.
“Sidney’s Safe!” Foundation
They need help weekly keeping the office space neat and organized, taking care of the recycling, helping buy supplies and unloading supplies, and picking up donated supplies from drop-off locations. Contact Sarah Jennifer Thompson at (256) 740-9581 if you are interested in volunteering. Visit them on Facebook at

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 Jolene Perry at (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 to make sure every child in the community is prepared for first grade. Success by 6 hosts fundraiser 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 Program Director 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 or visit their Facebook page at
The Underwood Petersville Volunteer Fire Department
Day Shift Volunteers- Keep the Firehouse open during the day- answering phones, acknowledging pages, interacting with the public. They do not respond to calls.
Fish Fry Volunteer - Work exclusively during the UPVFD Fish Fry, held on the 4th Saturday of the month from January to October. They enable theUPVFD to act as a dine in restaurant, hosting one of the largest fundraiser in the community.
Firefighter - UPVFD firefighters serve the community by responding 24/7 to fires, recks, medical emergencies, weather events, and mutual aid calls to assist neighboring agencies. Firefighters are required to have 30 hours of training annually.
If interested in any of these positions please call 256-764-7740, email at or visit them online at www. and follow on facebook

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) 648-6163 or visit their Facebook page at

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 call (931) 722-3229.

Facebook Twitter Instagram