Volunteer and Internship Programs
Really? A free gap year?
You don't have to spend any money to enjoy the gap year of your dreams. The following volunteer programs are absolutely free -- and some of them will even pay you for your efforts. (Not much, though.)
Programs marked with an asterisk (*) are AmeriCorps-affiliated, which means two very important things: First, they will not require you to participate in any religious activities, even if they're run by religious organizations; and second, you'll receive an education award of up to $5,000 upon completion of service. Neat.
Full-Year Volunteer Programs
AmeriCorps State and National*: Serve at a nonprofit organization, addressing education, public health, or the environment.
AmeriCorps VISTA*: Serve at a nonprofit organization or government agency, addressing education, health care, or community development.
Benedictine Sisters Volunteer Program: Serve close to home at Mt. Angel Abbey in Woodburn. The sisters are always looking for chefs, painters, musicians, gardeners, Spanish-language interpreters, carpenters, drivers, and office assistants, and welcome both short-term and long-term volunteers.
Brethren Volunteer Service*: Advocate for justice and care for creation in a variety of settings, from farms to schools to domestic-violence shelters.
City Year*: Tutor and mentor students in struggling schools. Lead after-school and community-service programs. Wear a cool-lookin' red jacket.
Heifer International Residential Volunteers: Like gardening? How about education? Care about ending world hunger? Heifer International might be for you.
King's Academy, Jordan: Learn Arabic and serve as a teaching intern, dorm supervisor, and/or athletic coach at a boarding school in Jordan.
National Civilian Community Corps*: Travel around the country, working on disaster relief, infrastructure improvement, and environmental conservation.
Semester-Long Internships (just a few ideas to get you started ...)
Conservation Internships (varying commitments)
Human Rights Campaign (fall, spring, summer)
National Organization for Women (fall, spring, summer)
The Portland Mercury (fall, winter, spring, summer)
White House (fall, spring, summer)