“Working with NHS as a volunteer was one of my first experiences with the City of New Haven. I had just moved to New Haven to be a university student, and I was assigned to volunteer with NHS. My group mainly worked at Sherman Forest, although we also had the opportunity to help beautify an NHS house, work at a community garden, visit the Sherman Avenue headquarters, and learn more from the Community Building and Organizing team about the HomeOwnership Center and NHS’ sustainability and energy-efficiency initiatives. I was so impressed with NHS’ deeply thoughtful work and so energized by their love for the city that I returned this year to lead the same program. This time, we worked again at Sherman Forest (it was great to see the progress!), clearing trails and laying mulch. We helped organize and inventory the shed (with the hope of establishing a lending library of tools) and helped paint and weed at a few NHS houses. I think my favorite part of both experiences was seeing in person the variety of NHS’ work and asking NHS staff about their work, growth, vision, reflections, etc.”

– Kathryn Paton, Yale University




Access to Parks

Thanks to volunteers working with our Community Building and Organizing department, residents of the Newhallville neighborhood have access to Beaver Ponds Park for the first time in decades.


NHS volunteers helped professional artists produce murals and other public art throughout Greater New Haven.

Cleaner Environment

The rain gardens our volunteers help us install divert storm-water from the overtaxed municipal system and prevent pollution from entering our rivers and Long Island Sound.

“I was so impressed with NHS’ deeply thoughtful work and so energized by their love for the city that I returned this year to lead the [student volunteer] program.”


“I just started volunteering with NHS but I should have been doing it before because they helped me out in 2016 to become a homeowner. I’m gonna be volunteering more often.”

“I feel grateful to have been introduced to this unique, vibrant small city by people who love it and are doing excellent, productive work to support several of its communities.”





Frequently Asked Questions

Who volunteers with NHS?

People of all backgrounds, ages, and abilities come to volunteer with NHS. We frequently organize one-day events to host groups of students from nearby schools, groups of employees from the same workplace, or groups of friends or family. We also work on a case-by-case basis with individuals. In the answers to the following questions, we will sometimes distinguish between volunteer groups and individual volunteers.

What should I expect when I sign up to volunteer with NHS?

For groups: If you are the group’s leader then we will do our best to work with you to create a community service day that is both impactful for the community and meaningful for your volunteers. Please let us know what constraints you have, for example if it needs to be on a specific day or needs to accommodate a certain group size. Don’t be afraid to approach us with a big group of volunteers! We’ll do our best to accommodate you! Group Volunteer Form

For individuals not serving with a group: Please let us know if you need to complete a certain number of community service hours, whether for school or for court, so that we can track your hours and write a letter certifying your progress toward, or completion of those hours. We will do our best to work with you to complete the requirement but cannot guarantee we will have enough work to do. Due to the nature of our work and the volume of inquiries we receive, it is critical that you are diligent and take initiative in your communication with us, so that your community service experience is successful. We also welcome inquiries from volunteers who simply want to give back to their community, beautify their neighborhood, gain experience, or develop new skills. Individual Volunteer Form

What do I need to bring/wear for a day of volunteering with NHS?


Food/Water: Please note that we are unable to provide food for volunteers (unless otherwise stated), and while we do have water bottles handy in case of an emergency, we ask that volunteers bring their own reusable water bottle to reduce waste.

Clothing/footwear: Most of our volunteer projects involve being outdoors for 3-5 hours. Please take the weather and terrain into account. If you are working on a greenspace project then you will need closed-toed shoes, durable clothing, a water bottle, and sun protection. We will let you know if there will be painting involved, in which case you may want to wear clothes that can get paint on them without upsetting you.

Attitude: positive, accommodating, inquisitive, light and fun attitude and willingness to be patient as the project unfolds; when and if a hurdle appears to be poised to jump or go around it with your fellow volunteers with gumption, grace and dignity.

What can I expect on a typical day of volunteering?

We do our best to spend the first 15-20 minutes explaining the purpose of the project, instructing everyone in proper tool usage, going over any safety precautions, and answering any questions. We expect volunteers to be self-motivated to do a good job, so we do not act like you are working for us. We are working together for the community. As such, we may interrupt you if we think you are doing something in an unsafe manner or if we think it is time for the group to switch tasks or take a break.


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