Skip to main content


Volunteers and giving opportunities

Volunteers help make the City of Rochester the best it can be for both residents and visitors. 

Being a volunteer has many benefits both for the City and for the individual volunteer. Volunteers stay connected to their community; build their resumes with real-life experience; expand their social networks; and give back to their community in a meaningful way.

Bookmark this page as we'll continue to update the volunteering opportunities below!


Mount Hope Cemetery is a one-of-a-kind environment that features an extraordinary landscape. Maintaining the vast amount of grounds requires a great deal of volunteer effort and community support. Volunteering at Mount Hope offers you a chance to make a personal connection with the cemetery and become an ambassador for this significant community asset and local landmark.  

Mount Hope Cemetery and the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery are always looking to expand its volunteerism corps. Volunteers work on a variety of activities that help to further the cemetery's mission as a place of beauty and commemoration for families and visitors as well as the preservation of the cemetery's cultural heritage and natural beauty.

Volunteer events are held rain or shine. Volunteers must be able to lift 30lbs, and dress weather and work appropriately (boots and long pants - no sandals please). Tools, gloves and water are provided, but feel free to bring your own provisions. Sunscreen and insect repellents is advised. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a chaperon at all times while on the cemetery grounds. 

Click here: Volunteer event listing and online registration

Landscaping and gardening

Landscape volunteers are led by experienced cemetery landscape professionals through routine landscaping maintenance (such as mulching, weeding, raking, and planting) and special projects. Events are held every 2nd Saturday of the month, from 9 to 11 a.m., April through October. Click the link to register for events.  

Individuals, families, and religious, school, civic/community or corporate groups of five (5) or more are welcome to contact us to organize additional volunteering events. 

Gardening volunteers help revitalize and maintain gardens and significant grave sites within Mount Hope Cemetery. Volunteers are responsible for planting, weeding, and watering specific sites throughout the planting season (May – October) under the direction of a master gardener affiliated with the Friends of Mount Hope Cemetery. Volunteers provide their own tools, and can choose to work alone or in groups. Individuals, families and community groups are welcome. 

A number of opportunities exist outside of landscaping and grounds work, and are briefly explained below. If you would like to contribute your time, talent and expertise in support of this significant community asset and historic landmark, please complete our online form. You will be contacted for an in-person or telephone interview as opportunities become available.  Please contact us with any questions. Thank you for your interest in Mount Hope!

Tour guides

The Friends of Mount Hope host a variety of cemetery tours throughout the year and provide training sessions for people interested in becoming a tour guide. 

This training includes cemetery orientation, biographical information on early residents, and accompanying an experienced tour guide. This is a wonderful way to share your enthusiasm and experience in local history with cemetery visitors.


Docents enhance the experience of visitors by greeting guests, distributing helpful brochures and maps, and providing general information relating to the cemetery’s “permanent residents” and scheduled events.  An orientation session is afforded for people interested in becoming docents.

Support for Special Events

Special events volunteers greet and register event participants, sell merchandise, and serve refreshments, and set-up for special programming among many duties.


Volunteers assist in myriad activities associated with specific fundraising campaigns, including public relations and planning and participating in events. The cemetery’s current focus is a two-year fundraising campaign, Reforest Mount Hope, which was kicked off on October 3, 2013. The campaign’s goal is to raise $70,000 to replant between 200 and 250 trees at Mount Hope. Click here to view the progress of the Reforest Mount Hope campaign.

Photo of a child raking leaves during Clean Sweep 2024.

Clean Sweep Saturday is held each spring at Innovative Field. Volunteers will gather to collect a free Clean Sweep T-shirt, eat a light breakfast and get their assignments before heading out to project sites in city neighborhoods. Mayor Malik Evans will greet volunteers and pose for a group photo.

Volunteers will also receive a free ticket to that day's Red Wings baseball game, which starts that afternoon. They'll also receive a voucher for food and drink at the game and free parking will be available to those wearing Clean Sweep t-shirts. 

Student volunteers can receive Participation in Government certificates.

Since it was first launched in 2006, tens of thousands of volunteers have participated in Clean Sweep, working alongside City crews to remove winter debris and litter from city neighborhoods. Volunteers also plant flowers, prune trees and perform other neighborhood beautification projects. City crews also remove graffiti, clean City-owned properties, repair sidewalks and fill potholes. 

Volunteers are encouraged to sign up in advance by calling 311 or using the Clean Sweep registration form, but everyone is welcome to join the day of the event, too!

Please wear appropriate clothing, including hard-soled shoes and long pants. Gloves and tools will be provided, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own if possible.

What to Expect 

  • Volunteers park free during Clean Sweep and the game in the Oak Street lot. Transportation is provided from Innovative Field to projects and back.
  • Come in the main entrance and find your group or join a project.
  • Pick up your free t-shirt, coffee, juice, muffins and danish.
  • Take a seat in the stands for Mayor Malik Evans welcome and the group photo.
  • Buses leave Innovative Field at 9 a.m.
  • Work gloves, tools and bags are provided at each job site.
  • Buses bring volunteers back to Innovative Field for the game.
  • All are welcome. Call 311 (585-428-5990) to report a special need. 

Clean Sweep is community in action! 

  • Reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
  • Do some team-building with your neighborhood association, church group, school group, club, team, family or civic organization.
  • Get volunteer credit (ex: for Participation in Government class).
  • Residents can take advantage of Clean Sweep, too. Place yard debris at the curb and a City crew will soon come by to retrieve it.

Our streets and neighborhoods look great after Clean Sweep! 

Do you wish we could get that Clean Sweep look any time? We can — with a mini sweep!

Mini sweeps are mini Clean Sweep events, organized by the community and supported by the City. Mini sweeps can help you and your block club or neighborhood organization improve an area that needs a little love.

How does a mini sweep work?

  • Pick a project, a date and a fun group to work with
  • At least two weeks before, call your Neighborhood Service Center to talk about your plan
  • On the day of the event, the City will drop off tools, work gloves and bags
  • You work, have fun and make a difference
  • When you finish up, we will come back to pick up the tools and debris

Things to consider while planning

  • What do you plan to work on?
  • How many people will participate?
  • What tools do you need?
  • What time will you start work?
  • What time will you finish up?

Tweet your sweep!

We love to see before and after pictures! Use #cleansweep on Twitter and Instagram.

Contact Us

Your NSC has tools, ideas and suggestions to make your mini sweep a success!

Northwest Neighborhood Service Center
71 Parkway, 1st Floor
Rochester, NY 14608
(585) 428-7620
Southwest Neighborhood Service Center
923 Genesee Street
Rochester, NY 14611
(585) 428-7630
Northeast Neighborhood Service Center
500 Norton Street
Rochester, NY 14621
(585) 428-7660
Southeast Neighborhood Service Center
320 N Goodman St - Suite 209
Rochester, NY 14607
(585) 428-7640

volunteer with RAS

Rochester Animal Services volunteers are essential to the success of the organization. Our volunteers help to enhance quality of life for animals at the shelter. They extend their time and hearts to the animals. Many activities involve direct contact with the animals but there are many opportunities that also provide supportive and administrative functions.

Regardless of the specific assignment, all volunteers help enrich the animals' time at the shelter, improve customer service, augment the care provided by staff, and promote our programs and services ultimately helping to support adoptions, pet retention, and the human-animal bond. We have many active participants but are always in need of more. 

Become a Volunteer Now!   

Requirements for volunteering are:

  • Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Completion of a Volunteer Application
  • Undergoing a criminal record check
  • Completion of an orientation and an on-the-job training session

Please contact us if you'd like to volunteer at the shelter, at a special event, or at an off-site adoption location. 

Typical Volunteer Activities 

Animal careAdministrativeShelter supportCommunity events & engagement
Dog walkingCustomer service and administrative supportLaundry and dishwashingOff-site adoption and community events
Cat socializationData entry and analysisKennel cleaningLost pet reunification
Dog playgroupsShelter greetersTransporting animalsDonation drives
 Website content managementIn-shelter enrichment 
 Self-rehoming support  

Lost Pet Advocates 

Animal Services is recruiting community members who would like to help get lost pets home. Volunteers who become lost pet advocates will receive lawn signs which identify them as a resource for their neighbors to use when a pet goes missing or when a neighbor finds a lost pet.

Lost pet advocates are provided with microchip scanners, lost and found resource packets, other supplies, and training to help get lost pets home without having them enter the shelter.

Rochester residents interested in serving as lost pet advocates for their neighborhoods may contact Animal Services at 585-428-7274 or

 Join our Friends Group 

The Friends of Verona Street Animal Shelter, Inc. d/b/a Verona Street Animal Society (VSAS) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization that helps support the mission of Animal Services through fundraising and promotions. 

VSAS recruits volunteers to serve on various committees that focus on event planning, fundraising, marketing and advertising, public relations, and foster care. If you are interested in getting involved as a committee member, please email our Volunteer Coordinator


Who are the Pillars of Hope? 

Pillars of Hope are local African-American and Latinx professionals who volunteer to visit Rochester City School District (RCSD) schools, share their experiences and provide positive support to the students.

We’ve all had important role models that have impacted our lives. We can recall images of famous entertainers or athletes we admired and tried to emulate. But other role models, much closer to home, have impacted our lives through a more personal connection, and through identifying with one another's shared community and experience. 

These role models were teachers, pastors or neighbors in our communities who were professionals in areas like business, engineering, law, mechanical repairs, medicine, and more. They took the time to share pieces of their journey with us, to talk about what helped them along the way. They helped us to see a broader world of possibilities. 

Pillars of Hope reconnect our communities' role models with our community's children by sharing a simple message of hope: “We’ve done it, and so can you.” 

Pillars of Hope Program Goals 

A Pillars Team “adopts” an elementary or middle school and implements activities for the purpose of: 

  • Instilling and increasing the love of learning. 
  • Sharing their personal journeys in pursuit of their own education. 
  • Sharing strategies to overcome challenges. 
  • Imparting knowledge regarding their various career options. 
  • Supporting the school’s teachers and administration. 

Schools interested in signing up for the program, please fill out the online school application form here.

Learn More

To learn more about Pillars of Hope, contact the Mayor's Office of Special Projects and Education Initiatives  at (585) 428-7192 or by email at

Flower City AmeriCorps programs offers a year-long apprenticeship in the field of human services and public health. Our programs are designed to inspire and prepare the next wave of human service and public health professionals. Over the course of the year members will be provided with the skills, information, and experiences they need for career success.

Members of Flower City AmeriCorps begin their one-year service commitment with a comprehensive program orientation exploring current community needs and resources, leadership development, and community collaboration. 

After orientation members will embark on a hands-on apprenticeship at a local nonprofit or government agency where they will receive mentorship and training in one of the specialized service areas: community building, economic opportunity, health and wellness, or positive youth development. 

Throughout the service year members will receive ongoing professional development in the areas of teamwork, project and strategic planning, implementation and goal setting.

AmeriCorps Members will:

  • Commit to a year of learning, serving and growing while they gain hands-on experience in one of five specialty service areas:
    • Community Building
    • Economic Opportunity
    • Health and Wellness
    • Positive Youth Development
    • Healthy Futures

Participate in ongoing professional development, networking, and service learning opportunities as part of a team of 55 AmeriCorps members.

  • Bi-weekly living allowance
  • Segal Education Award (scholarship equivalent to the Pell Grant), upon successful completion of the program
  • Receive tools and support to find balance between their work and personal lives
  • Partake in various activities, conversations and experiences that will help them to identify the unique skills and understandings that they bring to the exciting and ever changing field of human service
  • Also partake in: 
    • Member Orientation (1 week) 
    • NYS AmeriCorps Kick-Off 
    • MLK Day of Service 
    • I Love My Parks Day of Service 
    • 9-11 Day of Service  
    • Monthly Member Development Days 
    • Annual End of the Year Celebration  

Member Benefits

Members in the program will receive:

  • Bi-weekly living allowance . Stipends are taxed
  • Segal Education Award, upon successful completion of the program  
  • Child care subsidy for fulltime members if needed
  • Health  insurance for fulltime members if needed 
  • Computer/Microsoft literacy training
  • One-on-one mentorship by a leader in Rochester’s human service field
  • Support from a professional life coach
  • Transportation support, if needed

Applicants’ minimum requirements:

  • Be interested in pursuing a career in the field of human service
  • US Citizen or US National or Lawful Permanent Resident
  • Be able to work on a team
  • Consider yourself a life-long learner
  • NYS ID (Government ID)
  • Be at least 17 years old and out of high school
  • Have a high school or equivalency diploma, or agree to obtaining one by the end of the program term
  • Be able and willing to get to and from various job site
  • Pass a criminal background check and drug test

Download printable application