A Call to Pens, Shovels, and Hammers

Article excerpt

Byline: Daniel Stone

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.


Habitat For Humanity

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. …