Groups That Offer National Service Opportunities

Many groups provide opportunities for Americans, young and old, to help their communities, their country, and people in distant lands. Some outfits require specific expertise; others are just looking for committed people to assist a good cause. Following are five organizations that put helping hands to work.


Founded 1994

Number of participants 85,000

Location All 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Length of Commitment 10 months to one year

Mission Often called the domestic Peace Corps, various programs build civic engagement in needy American communities.

Requirements Some assignments require a bachelor's degree and specific skills; others ask only for motivation and commitment.


Founded 1988

Number of Participants 1,750

Location 17 states; Washington, D.C.; South Africa and the U.K.

Length of Commitment 10 months

Mission Under the AmeriCorps umbrella, City Year participants tutor and mentor in schools with low graduation rates.

Requirements Volunteers must be U.S. citizens or residents between 17 and 24.


Founded 1976

Number of Participants More than 1 million full- and part-time volunteers

Location 80 countries

Length of Commitment Varies by region

Mission Building houses to alleviate global homelessness and poverty.

Requirements With short-term missions and long-term opportunities in the U.S. and abroad, anyone can participate.


Founded 1961

Number of Participants 8,655

Location 77 countries

Length of Commitment 27 months

Mission Promoting cultural understanding between America and the world, as well as applying advanced skills in developing countries.

Requirements Anyone can apply, but many opportunities require advanced education and a defined skill set.


Founded 1989

Number of Participants 8,200

Location 32 states

Length of Commitment 2 years

Mission Placing new teachers in low-income communities in the pursuit of educational equality.

Requirements Bachelor's degree, U.S. citizenship or residency, and at least a 2.5 college grade-point average.