Numerous post-graduation service programs exist that allow college graduates to get involved both nationally and internationally. Some pay participants a stipend and others require a volunteer fee to cover housing, training, etc. The programs below are a sampling of options (not endorsements) - make sure to research the programs carefully and ask for references of past participants to make sure the program is a good match for your interests. A great general resource to check out is https://www.idealist.org/.
While there is overlap between the post-graduate opportunities and Gap Year programs, be sure to also review our Gap Year information page.
AmeriCorps is a network of national service programs that engage more than fifty thousand Americans each year in intensive service to meet critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. AmeriCorps members serve through more than 2,100 nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based organizations. They tutor and mentor youth, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, run after-school programs, and help communities respond to disasters. Created in 1993, AmeriCorps is part of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Post-graduation service opportunities are available throughout the country, typically a year-long with stipend and education award. Check out VISTA, AmeriCorps, and NCCC programs.
Children's Corps, based in New York City, places college graduates in the child welfare system to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children and families. Children's Corps is a two-year program that places its members in full-time positions as case workers with New York City child welfare agencies. Members receive salary and benefits in addition to comprehensive training and ongoing support.
City Year works in communities to bridge the learning gap by providing support and resources to schools. With programs located in 29 cities (including Cleveland), City Year is an education focused organization that brings together young adults of all backgrounds who are dedicated to students and helping them learn and grow. City Year members serve full-time for 11 months in schools as tutors, mentors, and role models. Members receive a stipend, ongoing training and leadership development to build skills that are applicable to a wide range of future careers.
The Citizen Schools offer two AmeriCorps programs that are committed to helping students thrive in and out of school while also closing the learning gap. Their Teaching Fellows provide direct service with students during the school day and in an after school setting, helping to support the development of students’ learning and social-emotional skills. The Citizen Schools Makers Fellows advance STEM mentoring and hands-on learning through innovative coalitions. They also support partners with tools and resources.
Coro Fellows Program
The Coro Fellowship equips you with the knowledge, skills, and networks to accelerate positive change. As part of a team cohort, Fellows experience work in a variety of sectors in public affairs (government, nonprofit, media, electoral politics, business, etc.) and complete a final project of their choosing. Rigorous, regular training and seminars help you understand community issues, leadership, career pathways, and yourself in new ways. The program is 9 months, full-time and Fellows serve in one of five cities.
Committed to linking people and organizations, Idealist lets you search for volunteer opportunities by keyword, skill, or state/geographical location.
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
JVC engages young leaders in the cause of justice with the goal of transforming themselves and the communities they serve. With over 100 partner organizations, volunteers provide direct service in a variety of roles such as outreach worker, case manager, community organizer, or employment specialist. Volunteers live in intentional communities with other volunteers, sharing the responsibilities of cooking and cleaning. Volunteers work full-time either in one-year terms in the United States or 2-year terms abroad (international service was suspended due to COVID-19; check their website for latest updates). While based in the Jesuit tradition of faith in action, there is no faith requirement of participants.
Public Allies' mission is to advance new leadership to strengthen communities, nonprofits and civic participation. Based in one of over 20 cities around the US, Allies serve for a ten-month AmeriCorps apprenticeship at a nonprofit organization where they strengthen their community by working in areas such as youth development, community development, public health, and economic development. They earn a stipend and receive health care, student loan deferment, and a post-service education award. They also participate in a rigorous leadership development curriculum.
The Student Conservation Association
SCA members help protect and restore national parks and cultural landmarks, do wildlife research, provide education, and build backcountry trails in national parks, forests and urban green spaces. Length of service varies, based on the program. Hundreds of environmental positions from Alaska to Yellowstone, from the Grand Canyon to Cape Cod. Members serve in all 50 states.
Teach for America
Teach For America is a national corps of recent college graduates of all academic majors who commit two years to teach in urban and rural public schools, and become lifelong leaders in the effort to expand educational opportunity.
Through the database of VolunteerMatch, you can search for domestic volunteer opportunities with thousands of organizations using filters such as location, cause area, skills, and more.
Here is a good starting point to help guide your search, decide what program is a good match for you, ensure you are volunteering ethically, and locate a number of resources. The programs below are not officially endorsed by CCEL, so make sure to research the programs carefully and ask for references of past participants to make sure the program is a good match for your interests.
Committed to linking people and organizations, Idealist lets you search for volunteer opportunities by keyword, skill, or global location.
Jesuit Volunteer Corps
JVC's international program was paused due to COVID-19 - visit their website for latest updates. Jesuit Volunteers work in the United States and abroad. With over 100 partner organizations, volunteers provide direct service in a variety of roles such as outreach worker, case manager, community organizer, or employment specialist. While based in the Jesuit tradition of faith in action, there is no faith requirement of participants.
The Peace Corps traces its roots and mission to 1960, when John F. Kennedy challenged university students to serve their country in the cause of peace by living and working in developing countries. Since that time, more than 182,000 Peace Corps Volunteers have been invited by 138 host countries to work on issues ranging from AIDS education, information technology, and environmental preservation.
Unite for Sight - Global Impact Corps
Unite for Sight's Global Impact Corps provides year-round healthcare in three countries: Ghana, India, and Honduras. Working with a network of local partner doctors, participants can volunteer from 1 to 10 weeks or longer.
International UN Volunteers promote peace and development in communities around the globe, while upholding the ideals and aspirations of the United Nations. View website for requirements and placements.
Extensive opportunities to search by country or volunteer activity. Just make sure you research the reputation of any particular group you are interested in to make sure it is a quality organization/program.
Through the database of VolunteerMatch, you can search for international volunteer opportunities with thousands of organizations using filters such as location, cause area, skills, and more.