Each day, more than 1,000 homeless men, women and children come through our doors for help. Many arrive with little more than the clothes on their backs. Without the support of wonderful volunteers and community partners, Star of Hope could never meet their wide variety of needs. This, in turn, provides a wide array of service opportunities. Some volunteers work directly with clients – some with adults; others with teens and tweens; and still others with our children, infants through elementary-school-age. Other volunteers prefer service opportunities that are behind-the-scenes or administrative.
Volunteers often ask, “I’m happy to help wherever you need me. Where do you need help the most?” However, our goal is to find opportunities that are the best fit with our volunteers’ individual interests, skills, talents and availability. That’s a “win” for everyone!
Volunteers can make a difference in the lives of others without making a huge time commitment! One-time projects and special events are perfect for tight, jam-packed schedules. A short, two-hour breakfast shift at our Women & Family Emergency Shelter begins a busy work or school day with the great feeling of having helped others!
Offsite projects eliminate drive and away time while blessing those in need. Creating Notes of Encouragement can turn a coffee break or rainy Saturday afternoon into a meaningful volunteer experience. Hosting donation drives and making care packs are excellent ways help meet the basic needs of our clients and share our mission with those around you without investing a lot of time.
Of course, Star of Hope also offers exciting High Impact opportunities for volunteers who can make a regular, ongoing (usually weekly) commitment.
Yes! Star of Hope offers service opportunities before work, after work, on the weekends and through offsite projects and special events.
Star of Hope offers a wide variety of onsite and offsite opportunities for volunteers of all ages - there is something for everyone! However, since an exceptional volunteer experience depends on an age appropriate service opportunity, we have specific age requirements in place for each placement or project. In several cases, the age requirements are set by licensing or compliance regulations.
All volunteers who are in high school or younger must be accompanied by a parent, school sponsor, church pastor, etc. for the entire duration of the volunteer project.
A sincere, heart-led desire to serve the homeless, along with a big, bright smile and compassionate, encouraging words, are the most important qualifications for Star of Hope volunteers. You will receive training and have your questions answered before beginning your assignment. A few areas - such as teaching, mentoring and providing professional expertise - do require specific skills, degrees, licenses and/or certifications.
We want every volunteer to feel comfortable, so training is tailored to each specific assignment. Some assignments require little more than a brief overview, simple instructions and/or safety reminders while other assignments require extensive training that’s accomplished over time. One-time projects typically require very little training. High Impact volunteers are required to attend volunteer orientation before they are trained by a staff member in their assigned area. If you have questions, please ask. The Volunteer Services team is always a great resource and glad to help with any questions you might have.
If you would like to volunteer at Star of Hope with your family and friends, we would love to visit with you. The discussion will include information about your group size; the ages of your volunteers; the type of project and time-frame you have in mind; your availability; and the resources you are able to provide.
If your family includes younger children, Snacks & Goodnight was developed especially for families just like yours! It provides meaningful, age-appropriate volunteer engagement for younger children and has become one of our most popular projects.
We work with many different types of organizations throughout the year, and each one is a tremendous blessing to the clients we serve. If your organization would like to volunteer at Star of Hope, we would love to visit with you. The discussion will include information about your group size; the ages of your volunteers; the type of project and time-frame you have in mind; your availability; and the resources you are able to provide.
While we very much appreciate parents who want to teach their children the value and joy of helping others, play dates are not possible. Star of Hope’s childcare is both state licensed and nationally accredited. All Children’s Services volunteers are required to be age 16 or older. Volunteers between the ages of 16 – 18 may only volunteer with the children on a one-time basis and must be accompanied by an adult chaperone/sponsor.
A wonderful project for volunteers of any age, Snacks & Goodnight was developed especially for volunteer families with younger children. It provides meaningful, age-appropriate volunteer engagement for younger children and has become one of our most popular projects.
Our guidelines prohibit us from working with either adult or juvenile volunteers who must perform community service mandated by the court system. This also includes community service that is frequently recommended by legal counsel prior to court appearances.
Our guidelines prohibit us from working with students who must complete disciplinary service hours required by school sanctions.
Criminal history is just one of the criteria we consider when evaluating candidates and selecting volunteers. Determination is made on a case-by-case basis. Criminal history background screening is mandatory for all Children’s Services Volunteers and interns.
The time it takes to get started depends on a number of factors specific to each individual volunteer. Some volunteers can begin within a few days. With so many available shifts and dates, one-time volunteers who want to assist with a meal (our most popular project) can be scheduled almost immediately. It may take a little longer for volunteers who are required to attend orientation or whose projects take planning time. However, Star of Hope values your time, service and partnership with our mission. We will move forward to get you started as quickly as possible.
In an effort to make your service here as fruitful and enjoyable as possible, Star of Hope has developed volunteer standards and guidelines which are published in our Volunteer Handbook. These are designed to answer many of your questions about the practices and policies of Star of Hope - such as what you can expect from Star of Hope and what Star of Hope expects from you. While volunteering at Star of Hope, we ask that you carefully observe these standards and guidelines.
The following is a brief overview of our guidelines:
You are always welcome to take photos of yourself, your group or the facility, and usually staff members do not mind being photographed. However, volunteers are expected to respect the privacy and confidentiality of our clients and may not photograph any client without the advance permission of our staff. This includes photographs taken by camera phones and also includes both moving and still images. Star of Hope must have a signed photo release on file for each client photographed.
If you are hosting a special event for our clients and plan to photograph clients during the event, you must make arrangements in advance with either our Director of Public Relations or Manager of Community Relations. Please work with our Director of Public Relations if you plan to issue a press release or expect media coverage of your event.
Please dress comfortably, but conservatively. Jeans, t-shirts and tennis shoes are appropriate for most volunteer activities. Occasionally, depending on the assignment, business or business casual wear will be the most appropriate attire.
No short shorts, tank tops or flip flops! All shoes must have closed-in toes and heels. All shirts must have sleeves. Shorts cannot be more than 2 inches above the knee. No shorts are allowed at the Men’s Development Center or in any of our kitchens. Group leaders should be prepared and have extra clothing items on-hand for members who arrive inappropriately dressed.
If you are scheduled to volunteer in any Star of Hope kitchen, we will provide an apron and gloves. If you prefer not to wear a hairnet, which we will provide, please bring a baseball cap. Due to City of Houston Health Department regulations, we will strictly enforce the dress code. Inappropriately dressed volunteers may not be able to participate in the project. If even one volunteer is not in compliance with the dress code, Star of Hope is in violation of the City ordinances and can be cited.
We require your date of birth for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have a surprising number of volunteers with the same names. We’ve even had volunteers of different genders who share the same names and title – Dr. Our system uses date of birth to help identify duplicate records and to recognize the different records of volunteers who share the same name.
Star of Hope also has age requirements for different volunteer assignments. By completing the date of birth field, our system automatically updates a volunteer’s age and opens additional opportunities as a volunteer meets the age requirement.
Churches, corporations and other organizations frequently request a list of their members/employees who volunteer for Star of Hope when considering financial gifts or funding requests. By completing this information, you help provide much needed programs and services for Houston’s homeless men, women and children.
High Impact Volunteers, both individuals and groups, are strategic partners who make a regular (usually weekly), long-term commitment. High Impact volunteers build relationships with our clients and staff; know where to go and what to do; and make the greatest difference.
One-time or Special Event Volunteers, both individuals and groups, are scheduled based on need and availability. These opportunities are perfect for time-challenged volunteers and allow volunteers to make a difference without making an extended commitment.
Professional Volunteers, both individuals and organizations, donate their professional services pro bono. Examples include: medical and legal services; GED instructors and tutors; art and music therapy; and workforce development experts. Credentials and/or licenses may be requested.
Interns are college students who must complete well-defined learning objectives in order to receive course credit for their volunteer experience. Internships do not include a single assignment within a course or hours volunteered to gain career experience.
Virtual Volunteers only need an Internet connection to touch the lives of others – anytime and anywhere.
Donation Drive Volunteers organize and host donation drives for items needed by our clients on either a daily or seasonal basis. The items collected during donation drives might include: canned food and bottled water; diapers, Pull-ups and wipes; towels and toiletry items; coats and jackets, clothing and school supplies. Drives are usually the most successful when focused on one or two different items.
By signing into our website and visiting your volunteer dashboard, you will be able to view and print your service hours from January 2017 and moving forward. Many volunteers will also be able to access reported service hours prior to 2017 through the volunteer dashboard.
We are happy to provide a letter that verifies a volunteer’s reported service hours with the appropriate lead time.