Youth & Shelter Services, Inc.



Volunteers, service learners and interns are special individuals who give without asking anything in return. Please consider sharing your time and talents to help youth in your community.


How To Apply:

Volunteering in AMES

1.     Please click here to download the application. Once you have completed the application please e-mail to Deanna Wheeler, Volunteer Coordinator, or fax to: 515-233-2440. If you have questions please call Deanna at 515-233-3141 ext. 4451.

2.     Once your application has been received, we will contact you to schedule a volunteer orientation.

3.     All ongoing volunteers are required to pass background checks and must have 3 completed references before volunteering.

4.    All interns must interview with a program supervisor before they may begin. Internships are offered based on availability and are not guaranteed.


Volunteering in DES MOINES

1.     Check out volunteer opportunities that are available in Des Moines at Youth and Shelter Services Community Based Center Iowa Homeless Youth Centers by clicking here

2.     Please click here to download the application. Once you have completed the application please e-mail it to Rosa Jennings, Des Moines Volunteer Coordinator, fax to: 515-266-8377. If you have questions please call Rosa at 515-265-1222.

3.     Once your application has been received we will contact you to schedule a volunteer orientation.

Volunteer Coordinators are located at the Jacobson Youth and Family Center, at 420 Kellogg Avenue in Ames or at the IHYC, Buchanan Center, at 1219 Buchanan Street in Des Moines.



(Ames and Surrounding Areas)


Click here to sign up for updates on one-time volunteering opportunities in AMES

Click here to sign up for updates on one-time volunteering opportunities in DES MOINES



YSS offers multiple unpaid internships each semester. Individuals can do an internship for university credit or to gain more experience. For more information regarding our internships, click on each program title for more complete descriptions and details. Apply today!

Summer Internships: Application should be in by March 31
Fall Internships: Application should be in by May 31
Spring Internships: Application should be in by October 31






Summer GRIP Mentoring in Ames

Are you a caring, positive adult or student looking to make a difference in the life of a child? Our GRIP Mentoring program is seeking volunteers to start mentoring Kindergarten through 5th grade students this summer in Ames. We appreciate mentors from all walks of life from community members to high school and college students. Mentoring is a commitment to a long-term friendship that requires your volunteer service for 40-60 minutes one day a week. You will meet with your mentee one-on-one over lunch, with occasional opportunities to spend time together outside of school. Summer mentoring with GRIP will take place at Ames Middle School June 6th to July 14th with mentoring relationships continuing at the start of the new school year. All volunteers will need to complete an application and orientation. If you have any questions or would like to get started, please contact Lacey Mellott at 



YSS welcomes students who are looking to complete their service learning volunteer hours with us. 


Kids Club

Locations in Slater, Boone, Gilbert, Ogden and Story City. Can volunteer Monday through Friday starting around 3 p.m. to around 6 p.m. No weekend volunteer opportunities. Must have transportation to get to program site, other than CyRide. Kids Club after school programs provide a fun and engaging environment for children who are in K-5th grade. Volunteers assist with a variety of activities including playing with the children on site and preparing snacks. Volunteers are encouraged to gain leadership skills by leading activities, games and songs if they feel comfortable.  In addition, volunteers are encouraged to share their own hobbies and interests with the kids. 


Teen Club

Locations at Ballard Middle School in Huxley and Collins-Maxwell Middle/High School in Maxwell. Volunteers will spend time with middle school aged teens in an after school setting doing recreational activities, helping with homework and doing other activities that are planned by Teen Club staff like arts and crafts, cooking and board games. We are also very open to having volunteers and groups share their talents and expertise with our teens. Individuals or groups can volunteer at Ballard Teen Club on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 3 to 5pm and Weds 1:30 to 5:00pm or at Collins-Maxwell  Monday through Thursday, 3 to 5pm. No Friday or weekend availability. Volunteers must have transportation other than CyRide.


GRIP Mentoring

GRIP (Great Relationships In Pairs) Mentoring Program is actively recruiting volunteers from the Ames and Nevada communities to serve as mentors for youth, ages K-8th grade, in the public schools. GRIP promotes student achievement and well-being through one-to-one mentoring relationships.  Mentors meet with their mentees for one hour per week.


 AMP (Achieving Maximum Potential)

Achieving Maximum Potential (AMP) is a youth-driven statewide group that seeks to unleash the full potential for personal growth among foster and adoptive children in Iowa. AMP offers leadership opportunities, service learning projects, speaking opportunities, and educational/vocational assistance. AMP also provides the life skills youth need to become self-sufficient, independent adults.

AMP welcomes and encourages volunteers to share a skill, talent, or hobby with youth in the program. Volunteers can help youth build resumes, talk about renting an apartment, job opportunities, fill out a college application, understand personal finances, or teach a life skill.

Great Group Volunteer Opportunity! The AMP group in Ames meets the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. in Ames. This is a great time for a group of volunteers to interact with our AMP youth and do activities with them. We are also always looking for groups/individuals that would be willing to donate snacks for our AMP Council Meetings. For those interested in donating snacks or drinks, please sign up by clicking here.


Child Care for Stork's Nest & Transitional Living/Lighthouse Programs

Volunteers are needed to help provide child care to children while their parents attend educational classes. Most of the children are age 0 to 5. Volunteers should have experience caring for young children and have the ability to work effectively with other caregivers. Volunteers are needed the 1st and 3rd Thursday of every month from 4:45 to 6:00 p.m. at St. John's By the Campus Episcopal Church. In addition volunteers are needed on varying weekday evenings, mostly Tuesday and Thursday nights, to provide childcare from around 3:45 to 6:00 p.m. at 125 S. Third Street in Ames.


Residential Treatment

Residential Treatment volunteers get to spend time with our youth who are actively recovering from drug and alcohol addictions in our residential treatment facilities. Volunteers are able to assist residential program staff in the supervision of clients by being a part of group and wellness activities. We ask that volunteers work alongside the staff, being a resource for clients and providing a positive role model of healthy relationships while working in the residential facility. Duties may include being involved in recreational activities with clients, supervising structured treatment work time in the facility, and co-facilitating skill groups with program staff.


Community Resources – Sorting Donations

Volunteers are needed to help sort and organize items that are being donated to YSS. Our highest needs for volunteers are on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 to 3:00 p.m. Volunteers can choose to help out with this need for one day for a couple of hours, or on an ongoing basis for a couple hours per week.


Rosedale Meal Donations

Individuals and groups are encouraged to purchase all items required for a meal to feed 16 hungry teenagers at our Rosedale Youth Shelter. Individuals/groups are then asked to prepare the meal at their own location and then deliver the meal by 6 p.m. to Rosedale which is located at 703 Burnett Avenue in Ames. Individuals/volunteers can select the day they would like to prepare and donate a meal.


Flower Beds & Ground Maintenance

Youth and Shelter Services is in need of a couple of volunteers or a group of volunteers to help with general maintenance of our flower beds in Ames and Nevada in the warmer months. Volunteers are needed to help with weeding and upkeep of our flower beds. Very little new planting would be done. All tools, materials and supplies would be provided by YSS. Volunteers would be trained and guided by our Building and Grounds Manager. All volunteers must complete a background check. This is a great way to get outdoors, and help YSS keep our grounds beautiful for our clients and the Ames community!​

For more information and to get started please contact Deanna Wheeler, YSS Volunteer Coordinator, 515-233-3141 or


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