Public Health

Students are able to work at various public health agencies and organizations in differing capacities. No previous background or experience in public health is required, but volunteers should be interested in and dedicated to the mission of their chosen site.

All of the Public Health sites count toward the Health & Medicine (SHM) subplan/minor and the Sociology & Social Work (SSW) submajor in the Sociology Department.

Jewish Family Services (Section 011)

COVID Update: There will be in-person and remote opportunities with Jewish Family Services

What: Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County believes that there’s not a person alive who doesn’t need help at one point or another. No matter what your age, no matter what your circumstances, Jewish Family Services is here for you. People all along the social spectrum will find something of value at Jewish Family Services – whether it’s support during a crisis, a chance to connect, compassionate guidance for an ongoing problem, or the chance to help another human being.

Serving people of all religions, races and ethnicities since 1993, Jewish Family Services is founded on the Jewish principles of caring for and “giving back” to our diverse community. JFS is dedicated to strengthening family life, fostering individual self-sufficiency and promoting improved social and economic conditions.

Community engagement opportunities include:

When: Volunteer times will be based on shifts options and student availability. Students should expect to volunteer an average of 2-4 hours a week, in order to gain approximately 20-30 hours by the end of the semester. 

Where: Well-being phone calls will be remote. Food program services will take place at the Jewish Family Services office, 2245 S State St, Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Transportation: 5 min drive; 10 min bus (#62) to JFS. Students are welcome to take their own cars or CEAL Ride is provided free of charge for students without a vehicle for in-person shifts. Students can also take Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti buses for free with their Mcard to get to their site. 

Orientation/Training: All students will be required to complete a volunteer application before starting at JFS. 

Shelter Association of Washtenaw County-Delonis Center(Section 015)

COVID Update: All community engagement at the Delonis Center will be in-person. Remote options will not be available. 

What: The Shelter Association of Washtenaw County (SAWC), located in Ann Arbor and housed in the Robert J. Delonis Center, is dedicated to serving adult individuals experiencing homelessness by addressing basic human needs — such as emergency shelter, food, healthcare and clothing while assisting them in their effort to establish or increase income, save money, and find sustainable housing. Over 1300 individuals are served at the SAWC each year.

Volunteers in this section will work with the Shelter Association in nearly every aspect of the Shelter’s services, including serving breakfast to residents, offering resources and information to clients, assisting staff with laundry, answering the phone in the service center (our 24 hour floor), etc. More importantly, as student volunteers, you will help to create a safe and caring environment where listening empathetically and talking to the clients are at the core of the clients’ and volunteer experience alike. Volunteers will learn about homelessness and the resources available to people in that position. Volunteers will work with individuals with diverse social identities, personal backgrounds, and lived experiences, and could potentially learn de-escalation, bystander intervention, boundary-setting, and trauma-informed techniques.

Who: This site is the best fit for students are able to take initiative and talk to new people, work independently, navigate a less structured community site experience, and willing to engage in difficult conversations/unpredictable situations. 

When: Shift lengths vary from 1 ½ hours to 5 hours. All shifts run between 6:00am-11:00pm seven days a week (including in the evening or on the weekend depending on schedules). Students will be expected to volunteer on site for an average of 2-4 hours each week, for a total of 20-30 hours by the end of the semester.

Where: Robert J. Delonis Center, 312 W Huron St, Ann Arbor, MI 48103

Transportation: 24 min walk or 20 min bus (#6 to #9); CEAL Ride is available for students without their own vehicle for in-person shifts. 

Orientation/Training: All students will be required complete paperwork and attend a on-site orientation before starting their shifts at the Delonis Center. 

Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels (Section 016)

COVID-19 Update: There will be in-person and remote community engagement options with Meals on Wheels.

What: Students will have the opportunity to participate in two virtual options: Friendly Calls or Community Conversations. As a Friendly Caller, you will have ‘virtual pen pals’ where you will make calls and engage in wellness checks with 5-10 Ypsilanti Meals on Wheels clients. Community Conversations is a new program to provide alternative options and opportunities for clients to engage with each other. Volunteers will create and facilitate a group call between YMOW clients to play games, discuss similar interests, or simply chat with each other. Clients are primarily older adults or individuals with disabilities who are homebound and cannot prepare complete, nutritious meals for themselves.

The following in-person opportunities are also available:

  • Meal packaging: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9am-11:30am. Help our Client Care Associates (CCAs) and office staff package and organize meals, pet food, paperwork, pantry items, and more to be delivered on routes. This involves sorting, counting, and organizing according to a route sheet and some lifting of about 30 lbs. max.
  • Meal delivery: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11:30am-1:30pm (usually ends sooner). Deliver meals with your own vehicle directly to our clients! Although it is “contactless,” we are still delivering meals with a smile. Volunteers are in charge of a ‘mini route’ which is about 5-10 stops typically in an apartment complex or smaller neighborhoods. A car, valid driver’s license, and insurance are required.
  • Ride-Along: Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am-1pm. Ride in a YMOW van with a Client Care Associate to deliver meals and other items along a full route (20-25 clients). This typically involved getting in and out of vehicles frequently and lifting of about 20 lbs. Get to know YMOW and our clients from the experts!
  • COVID-19 precautions to stop the spread will be in place for all in-person shifts including mask-wearing and social distancing before each shift.

Who: Students involved in the Friendly Caller & Community Conversations Programs must feel comfortable with calling new people and initiating conversations over the phone. They should have access to a personal phone for weekly calls, and a computer to complete online surveys with clients. Students will need access to their own vehicles for meal delivery shifts. This is a great opportunity for students interested in social services and health & medicine, along with anyone interested being a friendly voice and source of support for community members that are feeling isolated due to either the pandemic or being homebound.

When: Students will be expected to make calls for 5-30 minutes (time will vary by client) either weekly, biweekly, or monthly. The days/times of these calls are flexible, and will be based on the students’ and clients’ schedules. All in-person shifts are completed during the days and times above. Scheduling for these shifts will be discussed at orientation. Students should expect to volunteer an average of 2-4 hours a week, in order to gain a total of approximately 20-30 hours by the end of the semester.

Where: All Friendly Callers and Community Conversations work will be remote. Students will make phone calls, complete wellness surveys, and attend virtual meetings with staff and other volunteers from their own home. The Meals on Wheels office is located at 1110 W Cross St, Ypsilanti, MI 48197. Anyone who will be assisting with meal packaging and delivery will need to arrive at our office by dedicated shift times.

Transportation: CEAL Ride is available for students without their own vehicle for meal packaging shifts. Students will need to use their own vehicles for meal delivery shifts because CEAL-Ride can only be used for transportation to/from site. 

Orientation/Training: Students are required to complete a volunteer application, background check, and online orientation before starting at Meals on Wheels.

Hope ClinicThe Hope Clinic (Section 017)

Update: Hope Clinic (Section 17) is now FULL. Please feel free to register for another SOC 225 section, or enroll in Section 17 during a future semester.

What: Volunteers at the Hope Clinic will participate in helping to build capacity in one of our programs to help make lives better. Depending on their own skills, experience, and availability they might participate in supporting our Medical Clinic, Dental Clinic, Food Programs, Mental & Behavioral Health, Baby Care, Laundry, and/or other administrative tasks. They can expect to work with staff on developing systems to ensure more effective outcomes for our clients and volunteers.

Who: We are looking for students who are comfortable working in a Christian organization; although no particular faith background is required. Volunteers should be self-motivated and driven. The work will often require problem solving and critical thinking. Volunteers should bring an attitude of joy to the work and a desire to help make the programs better.

When: Volunteer time will vary based on what program they will be working in; but in general, students will engage in remote or on-site work with Hope Clinic sometime between 9am and 5pm on Mondays through Fridays. Volunteering for 2-4 hours weekly tends to be a good fit for most volunteers, so that they can obtain approximately 20-30 hours by the end of the semester.

Where: We will be hosting volunteers either remotely or at the Hope Clinic-Ypsilanti location primarily located at 518 Harriet St. Ypsilanti MI. It, however, a student would like to volunteer at our Wayne/Westland location we are open to evaluating that possibility on a case-by-case basis.

Transportation: Hope Clinic is a 15-20 min car ride from Downtown Ann Arbor and about a 45-minute bus ride. Students are welcome to take their own cars or CEAL Ride is provided free of charge for students without a vehicle for in-person shifts. Students can also take Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti buses for free with their Mcard to get to their site. 

Orientation and Training: Volunteers are required to complete an application and go through an interview process before being granting an override. They will attend an orientation and may be subject to background checks before starting at Hope Clinic.