Public Interest Institute

Pro Bono & Public Service Opportunities

Pro Bono Projects

Students can choose from several semester-long pro bono opportunities, including:

  • Serving as a volunteer ombudsman for a long-term care facility in West Alabama
  • Assisting a pro bono attorney with a family law matter
  • Working with the criminal justice system to aid in prisoner re-entry
  • Teaching teenagers about the law and our legal system
  • Assisting low-income individuals and families with preparing their tax returns
  • Researching issues of property ownership and inheritance in rural areas

The Public Interest Institute also offers a week-long Alternative Spring Break program each year, as well as opportunities to volunteer at one-time pro bono clinics assisting targeted populations, such as the homeless or the elderly.

Public Service Opportunities

The Public Interest Institute offers regular, organized opportunities to perform community service.  However, if you would like to spend some time volunteering on your own, the following organizations in and around Tuscaloosa are accepting volunteers:

Shelton State Project Literacy

This program has three goals:  to raise awareness of the problems of adult functional illiteracy; to recruit and train volunteer reading tutors; and to encourage participation of those who need help reading.  If you would like to volunteer to help someone learn to read, please see the contact information below.

Contact: Ms. Julia Chancy

Phone: (205) 391-2671

Email: julia.chancy@sheltonstate.edu

Website: www.sheltonstate.edu

Tuscaloosa’s One Place

Tuscaloosa’s One Place afterschool programs provide help to at-risk students during the school year as well as during the summer.  Volunteers are assigned to a classroom or grade to work with the same 2 or 3 students each week helping with homework assignments.  Most programs run from 3-5 p.m., and operate on various days of the week. Volunteers must be good with people, patient with children, flexible, dependable, and team players.

Contact: Ms. Emerald Autrey

Phone: (205) 462-1000

Email: eautrey@etfrc.org

Website: www.tuscaloosaoneplace.org 

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat’s mission is to rebuild Tuscaloosa by partnering with volunteers, donors, sponsors, and families to provide housing solutions and ongoing community development.  Join us in rebuilding homes, families, and hope in Tuscaloosa County.  Minimum time commitment is four hours.  Shifts are 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.; 12 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Contact: Jared, Volunteer Coordinator

Phone: (205) 349-4620

Email: jared@habitattuscaloosa.org

Website: www.habitattuscaloosa.org 

Soup Bowl

The Community Soup Bowl prepares and serves meals each day to about 500 homeless persons at a facility that is operated by The First United Methodist Church of Tuscaloosa.  A regular staff prepares meals during weekdays.  Volunteers are needed Monday through Friday to serve meals.  One weekend each semester law students donate their service by shopping for food, preparing and serving meals at the facility. If you would like to volunteer during the week, see the contact information below.  For more information about the law school’s weekend volunteer program, contact Felecia Linton at flinton@law.ua.edu.

Contact:  Ms. Amy Grimstead

Phone:  (205) 752-2421

Big Brother/Big Sister

Sign up to mentor youth in various programs, including opportunities to mentor children living in single parent homes, growing up in poverty, or coping with parental incarceration.  Extensive background check and interview process required.

Contact: Ms. Danielle McInerney

Phone: (205) 758-5734

Email: danielle@bbbswestal.org

Website: www.bbbswestal.org 

Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama

Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama offers many different ways and paths that a volunteer can take. Volunteers can work with girls in the following ways: troops, girl indoor programs or girl outdoor programs.  Students are always needed to help with day to day activities in the office and recruiting even more volunteers.

Contact: Ms. Heather Pike

Phone: (205) 910-6114

Email:  hpike@girlscoutsnca.org

Website: www.girlscoutsnca.org

Tuscaloosa Metro Animal Shelter

Dependable volunteers are needed at the shelter. Volunteer opportunities range from bathing, socializing, and evaluating animals to assisting with adoptions. Orientation required.  Application available online.

Contact: Ms. Linda Workman

Phone: (205) 752-9101

Website: www.metroanimalshelter.org/vols

Humane Society of West Alabama

Volunteers needed to clean cat and dog kennels, foster a cat or dog, or work in the Humane Society Flea Market Store.  An orientation is required for all volunteers.  Volunteer application available online.

Contact: Ms. Stephnie Casterline

Phone: (205) 554-0011

Website: www.humanesocietyofwa.org/volunteer

Tuscaloosa Emergency Service

Volunteers needed to help build food bags for clients, or sort donations for the Thrift Store. If you are interested in volunteer opportunities call or stop by the client services offices between 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday.

Contact: Ms. Sharon Cosby

Phone: (205) 758-5535

Website: www.temporaryemergencyservice.org/volunteer

Arts and Autism

Working with individuals with autism, ages 3-24 years old in the after school camp at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Monday – Friday; 3:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.  Volunteers need to help supervise various classes (art, music martial arts, computer), as well assist with office duties, or fund raising events.  Volunteer application available online.

Contact:  Ms. Suzanne Dowling

Phone: (205) 247-4990

Website: www.artsnautism.org/Arts_n_Autism/howtohelp