Social Justice: Community Comes First

Volunteers from Asian Americans United

Volunteers from Asian Americans United

by Sierra Turner & Grid staff

There are many opportunities to lend a helping hand and make Philadelphia a more just city. You can do anything from helping to address the immediate needs of homeless Philadelphians or new immigrants, or look farther into the future by building the next generation of leaders and participating in long-range neighborhood planning. Let’s keep our reputation as the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection.

Asian Americans United

AAU’s mission is to build leadership in Asian-American communities and to improve neighborhoods and unite against oppression. It accomplishes these goals through quality education, youth leadership, fighting anti-Asian violence and supporting immigrant rights.

Who you’ll help
The next generation of leadership in Philadelphia

What you’ll do
Work on a planning committee to develop strategy for campaigns and plan youth programs

“I volunteer with AAU because it allows me to explore and celebrate my Asian-American identity. I am constantly inspired by AAU’s youth and elders who fight to ensure our voices are heard and our rights protected.”
– Jenny Chen, AAU volunteer

Books Through Bars

This volunteer-run organization distributes free books and educational material to incarcerated people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and West Virginia. They send quality reading material to prisoners to encourage creative dialogue and educate those living both inside and outside of prison walls.

Who you’ll help
People who want to better themselves while incarcerated 

What you’ll do
Choose and send books, log letters, drive, rustle up book donations, organize the library, help with office tasks, attend events, or hold book drives and fundraisers

Bread & Roses Community Fund

Named after a rallying cry of textile workers on strike, Bread & Roses organizes donors at all levels to support community-based groups in building movements for racial equality and economic opportunity. Their fundraising efforts are invested into the community through grantmaking, capacity building and convening. 

Who you’ll help
Advocates who are creating movements to raise the minimum wage, fight for better schools, dismantle institutional racism and organize many other noble efforts

What you’ll do
Help with fundraising that will be given back to community groups, offer your time and expertise to grantees, serve on committees or the board, or assist with event management

Broad Street Ministry

This Christian community offers social services and inclusive hospitality for those who are in need of support. Broad Street Ministry also cultivates artistic expression. 

Who you’ll help
Fellow Philadelphians who are in need of respite and respect

What you’ll do
Act as a greeter, serve food, pack hygiene kits, sort personal mail or the clothing closet and even get involved in therapeutic arts

Philadelphia Citizens Planning Institute

CPI builds the power of young people to demand a high quality education of the city’s public school system. This youth-led organization unites diverse groups of people together to address the problems that our communities face, but adults can volunteer, too. 

Who you’ll help
Public school kids who deserve a chance to not only survive
but thrive

You are:
Either a passionate student who wants to lead the charge to improve schools for yourself or others, or an adult who wants to help raise funds, share technical skills or join the board

Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians

With a strong belief that the energy of new arrivals can reinvigorate a community, the Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians connects newly arrived individuals from around the world with the economic opportunities they need to succeed.

Who you’ll help
The latest generation of immigrants who are eager to call the United States home

What you’ll do
Tutor English, teach computer skills, build relationships with potential employers or assist immigrants with finding jobs

Women in Transition

WIT seeks to promote the emotional and economic independence of women endangered by domestic violence and substance abuse in the Greater Philadelphia region. 

Who you’ll help
A woman in crisis who needs support to start a better life

What you’ll do
Get trained to work on a 24-hour crisis hotline, assist with intake assessment, help develop the Lifeline Peer Support Group program, conduct individual and life management counseling sessions or community education and training sessions