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

  1. Please click here to download the application. Once you have completed the application please e-mail to Rosa Jennings, Volunteer Coordinator, or fax to: 515-233-2440.
  2. All volunteers/interns must attend a volunteer orientation. To sign up for a volunteer orientation please click here.


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.


Please contact the Volunteer Coordinator, Rosa Jennings, at or

(515) 232-4332 ext. 4451 for questions/ information on volunteering/ internships in the Ames Area.


For Des Moines volunteer opportunities, please contact Emma Christianson, IHYC Development Coordinator, at


Please click here to check out our Time and Talent Newsletter which includes spotlights of our current volunteers, information about organizations we are partnered with, volunteer opportunities, and other informative information.



(Ames and Surrounding Areas)



Reggie's is a fundraising event where people sleep out under the stars at Drake Stadium to help end homelessness in Iowa on October 17, 2015. We have over 100 volunteer positions available throughout the event.  Volunteer positions include assisting with set-up/tear down, serving in the food tent, and more.  All volunteers will receive a free Event T-shirt. Reggie’s Sleepout is a great individual or group volunteer opportunity! For more information about volunteering for this event click here: To sign up to volunteer please click here:



Each year Youth & Shelter Services' Holiday Giving Program provides gifts to around 300 deserving families that are in need. Volunteers are needed at the Family Life Center, 125 S. Third Street, to accept and organize these gifts. Volunteers are needed December 7th through the 11th. Shifts are from:

  • 8:15- 10:05 a.m.
  • 10:00-12:05 p.m.
  • 12:00-2:05 p.m.
  • 2:00-4:05 p.m.
  • 4:00- 5:45 p.m.

This opportunity does require some light to moderate lifting of the gifts. If you would like to volunteer for this opportunity please click on this link to sign up:  For questions please contact Rosa Jennings, YSS Volunteer Coordinator




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.  Internships can be done with the following programs/departments:



YSS welcomes students who are looking to complete their service learning volunteer hours with us.  At this time we only have two volunteer opportunities available for service learners with our Kids Club and Teen Club Program.  Both opportunities require that you have your own car or can borrow a car, because the program locations are outside of Ames, where Cyride does not go. These opportunities also require that you be available to volunteer on the weekdays.

  • 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, assistant with a variety of activities including playing with the children on site, and preparing snack. 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- location at Ballard Middle School in Huxley.  Can volunteer Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, 3 to 5 and Weds 1:30 to 5:00. No Friday or weekend availability.  Volunteers will get to spend one on one time with teens along with doing activities with them.



Do you love to working with people? Are you looking for an exciting volunteer position that will support a great cause? Youth & Shelter Services’ GRIP Mentoring Program is seeking volunteers to fill leadership positions on the 2016 Chilly Chili Challenge committee. Last year’s Chilly Chili Challenge raised nearly $13,000 and hosted 150 guests. Responsibilities of volunteering may include, event planning, soliciting sponsorships from local businesses, recruiting “celebrity chefs” for the chili cook-off, contacting dessert donors, event marketing, soliciting organizations for kid’s activities, attending regular committee meetings, and assisting the day of the event. We are looking for individuals who are interested in growing their marketing and fundraising skills, and will be able to commit to taking a leadership role from September 2015 through the event date in February 2016. The ideal volunteer would be willing to work directly with YSS staff, community leaders, and business owners to make the 2016 Chili Chilly Challenge a success. *ISU students: volunteer hours for this position may be eligible for qualifying service learning credit.



Kids Club after school programs provide a fun and engaging environment for children who are in K-5th grade.  Kids Club is located in Slater, Boone, Gilbert, Ogden and Story City, M-F starting when kids get out of school until 6:00 p.m.  Volunteers, assistant with a variety of activities including playing with the children on site, and preparing snack. 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. 



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.


Volunteers are needed to help sort and organize items that are being donated to YSS. Highest need for volunteers are on Tuesdays and Weds 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. 



Youth and Shelter Services (YSS) is in need of a couple of volunteers to help with general maintenance of our flower beds in Ames and Nevada. 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 Youth and Shelter Services. 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!



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.



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.


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




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