Volunteer Opportunities in Paris: Get Involved!
This website is one of the best for volunteer opportunities in France, with over 300 listings for Paris alone. This one is only in French, as most of the volunteers must be French-speaking. They list all kinds of positions, from coaching sports teams to working with handicap children to admin work for Reporters Without Borders.
WICE is an anglophone cultural organization that's been around since 1978. They offer courses and programs ranging from Visual arts to Food and Wine, and Languages. WICE has a wonderful work environment and gives you a great amount of flexibility and many opportunities to meet new people. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
The “Restaurants of the Heart” are soup kitchens and grocery distribution centers located throughout France. Founded by the late comedian Coluche in 1985, this popular charity is known for its spirit of solidarity and good humor. As a weekly volunteer at one of the mobile distribution units, I can say that the Parisians I’ve met here are nothing like the grim, cranky, cynics you see on the metro every day, LOL! They are always looking for volunteers with regular availability.
A free and anonymous helpline for the English-speaking community since 1974, SOS Help is always in need of volunteers to help with the phone line as well as office administration. Training provided.
This is a fun one: donate your time to charity in exchange for free tickets to music concerts. It's targeted to young people of Generation Y (born between 1978 and 1994).
The American Church of Paris
The American Church keeps the English-speaking community informed of volunteer opportunities and humanitarian needs throughout the year. Those of you who don’t speak French may want to start here.
The French Red Cross is a huge organization with many activities throughout the country. They sell holiday cards, organize toy drives, collect donations for particularly urgent international disasters (like Hurricane Katrina or the Pakistan earthquake). They also give regular first-aid and CPR certification classes in Paris for €60. They are always looking for volunteers for everything from organizing book or clothing collections to office assistance and first-aid response teams. They even send professionals on international missions (helps to speak English and have 6-9 months availability). They are currently recruiting young people 16-25 for their “Service Civil Volontaire”
Secours Populaire Français
One of the most active charities in France, the Secours Populaire is similar to the Red Cross, with a focus on humanitarian projects within France in the fields of education, health, emergency aid, and human rights. They have a huge Père Noël campaign at Christmas (you’ll see the “Green Santa helpers” around town). They’re looking for volunteers of all ages (they even have a program for young children).
A charity created by the Catholic priest Monseigneur Rodhain in 1946 after the horrors of the occupation during WWII. Today the organization is one of the largest in France, with local and international humanitarian projects. They recruit regularly for short and long-term missions in France and overseas. In Paris they are currently looking for dynamic volunteers to accompany at-risk children (a sort of Big Brother/Big Sister project), to welcome people at their soup kitchen on weekend evenings, and technical assistance with the annual directory.
Tout le Monde Chant Contre la Cancer
A non-profit French charity that helps children and families affected by cancer by raising money for research and organizing special events (such as toy distribution in hospitals at Christmas, gala concerts with French stars, vacations for the families and “make a wish” style gifts for the kids, such as a trip to Disneyland). They always welcome donations, but if you live in Paris and speak French and are looking to volunteer your time and expertise, check the website for current openings.
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