Our employees maintain an attitude of public service both at work and at home; the U.S. Department of State’s core values are based on the intent to strengthen both international and domestic communities. We offer Department-sponsored programs, resources and assistance to employees who want to find volunteer service or pro bono opportunities within the Department or their own communities.
Volunteering in the Foreign Service: AAFSW/SOSA Winners
Each year, the honor of the AAFSW Secretary of State’s Award for Volunteerism Overseas (SOSA) is given to six deserving volunteers from overseas posts worldwide. The selection is extremely humbling and difficult. All the nominations outline the remarkable work that volunteers have selflessly put forth, but only one applicant from each regional bureau can win.
The U.S. Department of State’s Model United Nations
The U.S. Department of State Model United Nations is an independent program that depends on State employee volunteers for its success. This program gives students in selected Washington, DC public high schools the opportunity to learn from and interact with State employees. Each week, for over 10 years, 100 volunteers visit the high schools and help the students learn negotiation tactics and conflict resolution among other skills. Students also have the chance to learn about the State Department, the United Nations, employees of these agencies, and what they do.
Miner Elementary School Tutoring Partnership Program
Miner Elementary School is one of the public elementary schools in the District of Columbia whose students have been identified as most in need of reading assistance. For the last six years, the U.S. Department of State has spearheaded an effort among federal agencies to volunteer at Miner and other area schools. About 100 U.S. Department of State employees have served as tutors and contribute to other enrichment activities. For example, they have assisted in the production of school plays, helped start a school newspaper, and taught civics classes among other things.
Toys for Tots
U.S. Department of State employees have collected over 6,500 toys, worth close to $100,000, in the last few years for the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program. The employees in the Office of Facilities Management and officers from Diplomatic Security provide logistical help for collection sites at more than 20 State Department offices throughout the DC Metropolitan area.
Groundhog Job Shadow Day Program
America’s Promise sponsors a Groundhog Job Shadow Day Program each winter, and the U.S. Department of State participates in a special Groundhog’s Day celebration. The program allows students to be introduced to the world of work and make connections between the classroom and the real world. Employees volunteer to have a student follow them for a day to learn about the U.S. Department of State. Students get to see various facets of life at the U.S. Department of State including a guided tour of the Harry S. Truman building.
Employees interested in volunteering may also refer to the following websites:
- Serve.gov – An online resource for finding volunteer opportunities in local communities, as well as providing a resource to create and register volunteer projects.
- USA.gov – The government’s official web portal. Showcases volunteer opportunities in domestic and international communities.
- Corporation for National and Community Service -The Corporation for National and Community Service plays a vital role in supporting the American culture of citizenship, service and responsibility. The Corporation is the nation’s largest grant-maker supporting service and volunteering.
- The President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President’s Volunteer Service Award program to honor exemplary Americans who have demonstrated commitment in community service. This website provides tools in locating volunteer opportunities, tracking service hours and identifying certified organizations that issue the PVSA.