Volunteer and Internship Program
Cunningham Township provides the opportunity for local residents to volunteer to help their neighbors in need. Township Volunteers keep regular, daytime hours and provide as much support as they are able - from 2 hours a week on up. They take on assignments as needed - helping with garden work and events, calling participants, filing, answering phones, handing out and reviewing applications, and looking up and entering information. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
CTSO Volunteer Tasks
Resource support volunteer
CTSO participants present with a number of needs -- first and foremost housing and the need for employment or recognition of a disability, but also trauma in many forms: mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, food insecurity, etc. The services to address these needs are constantly shifting. CTSO is seeking a volunteer who can help keep our resource guides up to date by calling service providers and viewing their websites, create an accessible resource library (both virtual and paper) for advocates and participants, create participant orientation packets with basic resources, and more.
Housing advocacy volunteer
CTSO is dedicated to helping Urbana residents move into safe, stable housing. We have developed a campaign that involves screening and tracking the housing stability of everyone in our database, calling through our participant list every 1-2 months to update this status and offer to support to apply for subsidized housing, helping residents who are homeless or at risk of homelessness with rental assistance, and providing resources to navigate housing resources and find housing. CTSO is seeking a volunteer who can support this campaign on all levels.
Disability advocacy volunteer
CTSO works with residents who are applying for disability and often only have the small monthly assistance we offer to live on. They may be homeless or housing insecure and face challenges with transportation, shopping, and daily tasks. CTSO has trained in using a SOAR process to help homeless residents access disability payments. We also work with partners to access bus passes, personal assistants and other needs. CTSO is seeking a volunteer to help provide greater support for residents with disabilities.
Communications access campaign volunteer
Low income households lack reliable access to communications tools such as phones, email, and the internet to perform basic life functions such as coordinating with schools, health care and loved ones. CTSO is seeking a volunteer to develop and run a campaign to gather donated smart phones, repurpose them for use by participants (put wifi to phone call apps on, etc), and help participants use them on wifi and sign up for Lifeline phone subsidies. We have gathered Lifeline info here that can be furthered in this project.
Data analysis volunteer
CTSO is dedicated to understanding the roots of poverty in Urbana, alleviating their symptoms, and educating the public and community leaders about the faces of local poverty and innovative, local approaches to address poverty. CTSO is seeking a volunteer to input and analyze data from our participants and partner organizations to support the series of reports and community presentations by CTSO and the Supervisor.
Communications and outreach volunteer
CTSO is dedicated to educating the public and community leaders about the faces of local poverty and innovative, local approaches to address poverty. We raise funds that directly support participants with material needs. CTSO seeks a volunteer to support our website, social media and fundraising.
Additional Volunteer tasks:
Entering participants into VGA
VGA updates after phone banking
Straightening up the lobby and conference
Organize bulletin board and pull off old stuff
Cunningham Township offers a structured internship program with the following purposes:
- To provide formal and informal field experience to students and members of the community interested in the fields of Social Work, Urbana Planning, Non-Profit Administration, and Public Policy.
- To provide a conduit for local residents to collaborate with the Township on projects that are aligned with their interests or passions.
- To support Cunningham Township with administrative, planning and direct service needs.
The logistics of the program as follows:
- Interested Interns submit a cover letter and resume to firstname.lastname@example.org. If CTSO is interested, we will contact the potential intern to request a two week volunteer period to assess fit where no stipend is paid.
- Interns are assigned to one of these teams: Housing Advocacy, Employment Advocacy, Disability Advocacy, Administration, or Outreach and Event Organizing, or they may work on special projects.
- Interns offer 10-40 hours per week of service.
- Interns typically serve for 4 months, which may be renewed at the discretion of the Supervisor typically for interns working on a project in process.
- Interns receive a stipend as set by the Supervisor.
- Course credit may be arranged if requested.
All volunteers and interns are invited to participate in training opportunities, which are usually held Friday mornings. Examples of past include supporting domestic violence survivors, providing trauma-informed care, how to help participants with predatory landlords, using case management software, supporting disabled residents in accessing federal disability payments, navigating employment options with disabled residents.