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Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Opportunities and Organizations in Columbia Heights

Our City has numerous service and civic organizations that provide opportunities for community involvement and volunteering. Listed below are a sample of those organizations and their contact info to help get you started. If you have an organization that you want to be listed below please contact Will Rottler at wrottler@columbiaheightsmn.gov, call 763-706-3614, or email volunteers@columbiaheightsmn.gov.

Adopt-A-Drain Program
Adopt-a-Storm-Drain, a program aimed to protect area lakes, rivers, and wetlands, calls on residents in the seven-county Metro Area and Rochester to adopt a storm drain near them by committing to keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris. The simple act of sweeping up around a storm drain protects local lakes and rivers by preventing pollution from entering the shared waterways, and collective action adds up. Keeping a storm drain clear requires about 15 minutes twice a month. Adopt-a-Storm-Drain is the largest adopt-a-drain program in the country. There are more than 300,000 storm drains in the Metro area. Sign up to adopt a drain or find more info at www.adopt-a-drain.org.

Anoka County Community Action Program (Senior Kinship Program)
The Anoka County Community Action Program (ACCAP) Kinship Program is actively recruiting volunteers to work with seniors throughout Anoka County. Volunteers will work directly or indirectly with seniors aged 60 years and older. The Anoka County Community Action Program, Inc. is an innovative catalyst for empowering lower-income Anoka County residents to achieve their aspirations and dreams. Opportunities include Home Visitor, Client Transportation, Donation Delivery Driver, Service Project Participant, Warmline Support, Community Partner & Dono. Contact Sarah Anderson, Senior Kinship Program Coordinator, at 763-783-4745, email SeniorKinship@accap.org, or visit the website.

Athletic Boosters
The Columbia Heights Athletic Boosters have served in this community for over 60 years. Their mission: “To create an organization of community volunteers that will use all their talents and skills to raise money to support youth activities and athletics in Columbia Heights so that all youth who wish to participate in activities will not be denied as a result of not having the financial means to do so.”  Contact Chris Schoenbauer (president) at 651-302-2824 or email chris.schoenbauer@thomsonreuters.com.  

Beautification Committee
The Beautification Committee is a group of residents who volunteer their time to plant flowers throughout the City. Many of the volunteers will plant and continue to water and weed their flowers at various city park signs, City Hall, John P. Murzyn Hall flower pots, the welcome to Columbia Heights sign, and a few other locations throughout the city. Public comments are received every year on how people appreciate the colorful flowers added to our public spaces. Many volunteers take care of a park sign near to where they live. If you are interested in volunteering call (763) 706-3734 for more information or email dsaefke@columbiaheightsmn.gov. 

Big Brothers Big Sisters
The Big Brothers Big Sisters program in the City of Columbia Heights started at Highland Elementary in 2011. Columbia Heights is the only department in Anoka County involved in this program. Department staff who volunteer to be a Big Brother or Sister go into the school to meet their matched student. The two will play games, read, make crafts and develop a mentoring relationship. If you are interested in becoming a mentor call Karen Olson (763) 706-8106 or visit the Big Brothers Big Sisters Page for more information.

Bitty Kitty Brigade
The Bitty Kitty Brigade provides care for orphaned neonatal kittens. It partners with animal rescue organizations and impounds facilities to improve survival rates within the neonatal kitten population. For questions, email info@bittykittybrigade.org. Find out more about volunteering and kitten adoption/foster care on their website.

Community Farmers Market
The Columbia Heights Community Farmers Market is looking for volunteers for various roles, which include but are not limited to marketing and event management. The Columbia Heights Community Farmers Market is held on Thursdays from July 14-Sept 1 from 4-7 pm in the parking lot at First Lutheran Church. For more information, please contact Tanya De La Riva-Blinova at columbiaheightscommunitymarket@gmail.com.

First Lutheran Church After School
Volunteers are wanted to provide neighborhood children ages 4 to 18 with safe places to connect and grow. When it is safe After School will return to offering in-person tutoring help, sports, playground games, and crafts. Kids and volunteers will get their temperatures taken and be asked to wear masks. The kids meet Tuesdays and Thursdays, 4:30-6 pm, at First Lutheran Church, Columbia Heights. Volunteers will be required to undergo a background check and agree to follow the group's policies. There is no need to be a member of the church to volunteer. Contact Rachel James, Director of Children Youth and Family Ministries at First Lutheran Church, at rachelj@flcch.org or 763-788-9653, for more information.

Friends of the Library
Friends are individuals and families who believe quality library services and programs are an asset to the community. Friends of the Columbia Heights Public Library devote time and energy to encouraging community awareness and special events, assisting with library programs and special events and fundraising to purchase items to enhance the library’s collections and programming. Obtain a membership application at the Columbia Heights Public Library located at 3939 Central Ave NE. You can visit the Friends of the Library Page for more information.

HeightsNEXT is a non-profit volunteer organization that builds community resilience and sustainability. Working across organizations, HeightsNEXT promotes green technology, resilience, sustainability, justice, and equality. They engage the citizens of Columbia Heights by creating events that build strong ties and encourage the adoption of sustainable best practices. Call (763) 788-5072, email connie.buesgens@heightsnext.org, or visit their website for more information.

Columbia Heights-Fridley Kiwanis is all about changing the world one child and one community at a time. They exist to build future leaders for our world.  Kiwanis has a club for high schoolers called Key Club which is the largest and oldest service organization for high school students. Key Club is a student-led service organization that uses service to teach KC’s four core values: inclusiveness, caring, character building, and leadership. Call Kathy Welle at (612) 910-1988 or visit their Facebook Page for more information.

Key Club
Key Club is a student-led volunteering organization that is partnered with Kiwanis International. Members volunteer at places within the community such as SACA, Murzyn Hall, the high school, and the Recycling Center. The group is currently holding 50 members and seeks to be involved in any volunteer opportunities that come up. For more information, email Dale Schuetz at dalelschuetz@gmail.com.

The mission of the Library Foundation is to generate financial support for the enhancement of library facilities and services through community partnerships. Visit the library foundation page for more information. 

Library teen volunteers
Learn more about the library, help your community, meet new people and earn community service hours for school.  For teens ages 13 and older who are self-motivated, reliable, and want to have fun. Applications can be found at the Columbia Heights Public Library, 3939 Central Ave NE.

Lions Club
The Columbia Heights Lions Club has been dedicated to the community for generations. The Lions host multiple community events throughout the year and facilitate citizen connections to increase volunteering opportunities. They are accepting new members. Board meetings are held every second Tuesday of the month, until the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Normally, the board meets the first and third Monday of the month at 7 pm. They meet at John Murzyn Hall, 530, Mill St. NE. Contact Brian Clerkin at lionsbars@gmail.com, or the club secretary at columbiaheightslionssecretary@gmail.com, or visit their website for more information.

Multicultural Advisory Committee (MAC)
This committee is made up of dedicated volunteers who took time out of their lives in an effort to make our community the very best it can be. The committee meets monthly to discuss what's happening in the community and to share ideas that will have positive outcomes, affecting the residents and those who live, learn, worship, work, or visit Columbia Heights. The MAC works closely with the Columbia Heights Police Department and makes direct contributions to Community Policing efforts and other outreach opportunities in the community. Call (763) 706-8107 or visit the Multicultural Advisory Committee Page for more information.

Neighborhood Watch
Started in 1972 by the National Sheriff’s Organization, Neighborhood Watch is the cornerstone of all crime prevention programs. It enlists the active participation of residents, in cooperation with police to reduce crimes in the community. If you are interested in starting a Neighborhood Watch Group in your neighborhood, call (763) 706-8142 or visit the Neighborhood Watch Page for more information.

recreation: coaching and youth programs
CH Recreation has volunteer coaching opportunities throughout the year in sports: softball, baseball, T-ball, basketball, soccer, and football. Recreation also needs adult and youth volunteers for youth half-day camps, special events, trips, and classes throughout the summer. Contact kholznagel@columbiaheightsmn.gov if you're interested in any of these opportunities. 

Fridley-Columbia Heights Rotary Club
Representing the communities of Fridley and Columbia Heights, Minnesota, the Rotary Club currently has approximately 40 members.  The club has been in existence since 1963, serving our communities, state, nation, and world. We meet most every Wednesday, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m. at Shortstop Bar and Grill (1298 East Moore Lake Drive in Fridley). Guests are welcome and encouraged to attend our meetings. Email Kim Hiel at fridleychrotary@gmail.com or visit their website for more information.

Serve on a Board or Commission
The City of Columbia Heights has several boards and commissions that advise the City Council on specific policies and make recommendations based on research and staff expertise. These include the Charter Commission, Economic Development Authority, Library Board, Park & Recreation Commission, Planning Commission, Traffic Commission, and Youth Commission. Except for Youth Commission, applications are accepted each winter for spring expiring terms and as openings occur. Youth Commission applications are accepted in late summer for terms starting in October. For more information visit the Boards & Commissions Page or contact Sara Ion, City Clerk, at 763-706-3611 or sion@columbiaheightsmn.gov.
Serve as an Election Judge
Election judges serve as the officials in the polling places on Election Day. It is a great way to show pride in your community while learning about the election process. Election Judges are paid or can choose to volunteer. Some duties include opening and closing the polls, registering and signing in voters, distributing and collecting ballots, operating voting equipment, recording and certifying vote totals, and ensuring voters' rights are protected. For more information visit the Election Judge Page or contact Sara Ion, City Clerk at 763-706-3611 or sion@columbiaheightsmn.gov.
Sister Cities Committee
In 1991, Columbia Heights received an agreement from Lomianki, Poland, that they would be proud to be in partnership with our City. Members are dedicated to this international friendship by promoting humanitarian, educational, cultural, civic, and social events. This group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 1 pm in the City Hall Council Chambers. For more information please contact Gloria Bergstrom at (612) 708-2295, or visit the Sister Cities Committee Page for more information.

Southern Anoka Community Assistance (SACA)
SACA is a 501(c)3 non-profit food shelf located in Columbia Heights.  SACA has been serving the communities of Columbia Heights, Hilltop, Fridley, and Spring Lake Park for 42 years. They work closely with schools, police, and fire departments to bring food and hygiene products to in-need students, distribute meals and toys for the holidays, facilitate a low barrier homeless program and delivery service for homebound seniors and people with disabilities. Call Dave Rudolph at (763) 789-2444, email info@sacafoodshelf.org, or visit their website for more information.

Toastmasters seeks to provide a mutually supportive and positive learning environment in which every member has the opportunity to develop communication and leadership skills, which in turn foster self-confidence and personal growth. The organization is open to members of the Columbia Heights area and beyond. To find out more or to sign up, call 763-781-1801 or visit their website. For now, the group meets via Zoom on Mondays, 6-7:30 pm. Volunteer activities include giving speeches, evaluating speakers, and supporting others in communication and leadership development. Time commitments vary but expect to spend an hour or two with the group each week.  

City event volunteers and sponsorship opportunities
The City hosts several community events each year, including the Art and Info Fair, the Music and Movies in the Park series, Truck or Treat, SnowBLAST, and much more. We could always use an extra hand. These events also present several sponsorship opportunities. For more about City event volunteering or sponsoring, email Will Rottler at wrottler@columbiaheightsmn.gov. For more about City events, go here. To fill out an event sponsorship form, go here.

Outstanding Citizen of the Year Nominators
The City would like your help finding worthy candidates for the Columbia Heights Outstanding Citizen of the Year Award. We collect nominations each spring and announce the winners in May. As you volunteer alongside your fellow residents, please consider who might be a good candidate for this honor. You may nominate multiple people. There is also a youth category. For more information or to find nomination forms, go here.

For more information about volunteering in Columbia Heights or to get your organization listed above, email volunteers@columbiaheightsmn.gov.