Monday, October 25, 2021
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UMKC Service Learning helps students give back to the community

It may seem hard to find time to volunteer with a busy class schedule, but there are opportunities on and off campus where school and volunteer work can relate to each other and future career aspirations. Service Learning at UMKC is one of these opportunities. 

“Service learning reaches out in the community and ties back to coursework and objectives,” said Brianna Portmann of the UMKC Institute for Human Development.

Students can search online through the UMKC Service Learning portal ( for open volunteer opportunities. Here, students are able to relate their time spent volunteering with the courses they are enrolled in. In the future, the portal will combine courses with volunteer work as professors connect the time through reflections and resumes for students.

Here are some top picks from the service learning portal:

Thelma’s Kitchen

The kitchen is the first “pay-as-you-can” cafe and needs assistance setting up and cleaning during lunch hours. There are openings for front-of-house positions. Volunteer dates in October include the 18, 22, 29 and 30. The time for each session is 9:30 a.m.- 3:30 p.m., including orientation. Located at 3101 Troost Avenue.

Bridging the Gap

The average person in the Kansas City metro still throws out about seven pounds of waste every day, and 41% of that waste is paper. Bridging the Gap is looking for people to assist the recycling center’s site manager with various duties such as breaking down cardboard and assisting patrons, among other things.  There are openings Wednesday through Friday from 10:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., and Saturday from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. or 1:00 – 5:00 p.m. Located at the RedBridge Recycling Drop-Off Center at 5200 E Red Bridge Rd. 

UMKC Women’s Center

The UMKC Women’s Center offers applications for volunteers, internships and work-studies. Volunteering at the Women’s Center allows students to meet those who they share the campus with.

“The Women’s Center is a place where you can meet a diverse range of people and experience different perspectives,” said junior Michelle Lawson, who is interning for credit for her Women and Gender Studies Minor. Resources include a private lactation room with a fridge, conference room, living room area and library available for students.. Located in 105 Haag Hall.

Other local non-profits include: 


The community food network is located at 3801 Topping Avenue. Students may reserve time slots online to volunteer at

Wayside Waifs 

A no-kill shelter with multiple areas to volunteer in, including support roles, animal socializers, event support staff, administrative help and corporate roles. Located at 3901 Martha Truman Road.

Boys and Girls Club KC 

You can assist a children as a mentor, tutor or coach. There are multiple locations in Kansas City, but the closest ones to campus are 4001 Blue Parkway, Suite #102 and 3831 E 43rd Street. 

Habitat for Humanity 

Students can reserve spots online at Located at 1423 E Linwood Blvd. 

Anita B. Gorman

The nature center offers local volunteer programs with conservation partners like Missouri Master Naturalist, Stream Team, and No More Trash!. Located at 4750 Troost Avenue. 

There are even more opportunities to volunteer through RooGroups, where each group has its own events and can provide information on specific areas to volunteer.

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