Friendship Place, one of Washington’s leading homeless help providers and a long-time partner of our parish, offers numerous volunteer opportunities for St. Columba’s parishioners.
Friendship Place is a region-wide leader in the movement to end homelessness, with award-winning services that change people’s lives — permanently. This year, more than 3,700 people have benefited from Friendship Place’s services — which include street outreach, a ”welcome center” for drop-in visits by homeless people not far from St. Columba’s on Wisconsin Avenue, free medical and psychiatric services, job placement, case management, transitional shelter, homelessness prevention, rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, and specialized services for women, families, veterans, and youth, including those identifying as LGBTQ. Friendship Place accomplishes its work with 105 full-time and 12 part-time staff, a partnership of 26 congregations and the involvement of more than 400 volunteers. The Friendship Place staff works to help many of St. Columba’s Water Ministry guests.
St. Columba’s has partnered with Friendship Place since it was founded in 1991 by a grassroots coalition of congregations and community activists in upper Northwest DC, including our own St. Columba’s parishioners Don Boardman and Dick Dowd. Parishioner Scott Kragie is currently treasurer and serves on the Friendship Place board of directors. For 20 years, St. Columba’s worked with Friendship Place to run the Haven, a program that provided five women at a time a place to live along with medical, psychiatric and job search counseling in the former rector’s residence on the St. Columba’s grounds.
Friendship Place offers a wide variety of volunteer opportunities, like serving at the front desk or providing clothing closet support in the AimHire job search program. Volunteers also help permanent housing residents with activities of daily living and moving furniture, organizing food and clothing pick up from donor organizations; and providing home repair and maintenance services like carpentry, painting, electrical and plumbing. There are opportunities to use your skills in the areas of: advocacy, job development, community engagement, crowdfunding, nutrition, photography/videography, graphic design, computer programming, website development, and/or data analysis/data entry. Some volunteers mentor and coach Friendship Place staff members as they learn and develop leadership skills.
Time requirements for all of these volunteer opportunities are negotiable and will vary with the job and the volunteer.
Would you possibly like to get involved? If you are interested in what Friendship Place does and would like to meet with the staff to find more specific information about current volunteer opportunities, and how they might meet your own skills and interests, contact Hal Davis. You can also sign up for volunteer updates by completing an online form on the Friendship Place website.