Volunteer works with WSNS students

Volunteering with SPS, COVID-19

Please be advised that Somerville Public Schools and offices will be closed until at least May 4 due to concerns of containing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19). Please visit Coronavirus Information and Prevention, Somerville Public Schools for updated school information. 

The safety and health of students, families, staff, volunteers and the community is of utmost importance to Somerville Public Schools.  As SPS continues to monitor this evolving situation, we request that individual volunteers see Community Volunteering During COVID-19 Containment below for ways you can assist while maintaining social distancing. We recognize that many SPS volunteers are older adults. Early information from China where COVID-19 first appeared shows that older adults, and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease are at higher risk of getting sick from this illness.  There are ways you can impact and support learning, students and families while social distancing. 

Please see Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day for what social distancing means, and tips for what you can do with family and children.  Prevention is a community effort. Minimizing risk among students, staff, families and the community is critical during this time.  Please review and use these precautions to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:    

  • If you are not feeling well, have a cough, are sneezing, have fever, or are exhibiting any signs of illness, please call your medical provider and stay home until you are well; 
  • Practice social distancing. Examples of social distancing include not attending large events like concerts or sports games, avoiding shaking hands or hugging, remaining at least six feet away from others and especially anyone who is coughing or sneezing;
  • Individuals suspected with positive case of COVID-19 should not come in contact with anyone until they have completed the mandatory or self-imposed quarantine period, as recommended by the CDC;
  • Wash your hands often, using soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds; If soap and water aren't available use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; 
  • Cough/sneeze into a tissue. Dispose of used tissues immediately into a trash can. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not your hands;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands; 
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that you touch frequently such as doorknobs, railings, sink handles, phones, and computer keyboards;
  • Volunteers serving at food distribution sites, organizing resources or delivery must have temperature checked prior to every session;
  • Volunteers are not to come in contact with other individuals, refrain from gatherings of more than 5 people, and must maintain 6-foot distance between you and others at all times. 

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019?

Coronavirus Disease 2019 or COVID-19 is a new respiratory virus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China in 2019.  A novel coronavirus is a new coronavirus that has not been previously identified, and a disease never seen before in humans.  It is different from other human coronaviruses that cause the common cold.  It gets its name from a distinctive corona of sugary proteins (corona is Latin for crown) that project from its surface.  

How COVID-19 spreads

Helping Children Cope with Emergencies

Resources for talking with Children, Tweens and Teens about COVID-19

Social Distancing: This is Not a Snow Day

Community Volunteering During COVID-19

If you are interested in volunteering during this time with the City of Somerville, or be referred to a City program, department or a community partner, please contact City of Somerville's Community Services Manager Jennifer Mancia: JMancia@somervillema.gov

Some Ways to serve:

Some Diaper Drive!
Want to help Somerville families while maintaining physical distancing?  Some families are having a hard time finding and purchasing diapers their families need at this time. Diapers can be expensive and are not covered by WIC or SNAP programs.  With generous support and in collaboration with the Beautiful Stuff Project, the Somerville Family Learning Collaborative (SFLC) is having a Diaper Drive. The Beautiful Stuff Project accepts donations to support free diaper distribution to four Somerville elementary schools. Donations may be made directly to the Beautiful Stuff Project at: https://www.thebeautifulstuffproject.org/donate. On behalf of Somerville families, SFLC and the Beautiful Stuff Project, thank you for your generosity.

Food for Free has been improving access to healthy food since 1981 by rescuing food that would otherwise go to waste and creating new distribution channels to under-served populations. Food For Free runs the Somerville Backpack Program in partnership with the SFLC and SPS schools, and is providing additional food distribution during this time.  Volunteer opportunities include packaging events, food rescue and distribution, administrative or office support. Visit this link.  

Somerville Food Security Connection   Volunteers help with community response to increased temporary food access needs. Work includes helping bag food from Greater Boston Food Bank for distribution, helping with food deliveries, or administrative support. The SFSC connects to many food providers in the city and is updating resources and needs during COVID-19 emergency. Please contact: Lisa Brukilacchio: lbrukilacchio@challiance.org. 

Project SOUP Community Food Center, East Somerville, Somerville Homeless Coalition  Food pantry offers variety of foods to Somerville residents, including fresh produce, dairy and baked goods, frozen fish and meats, a variety of other shelf-stable foods, and basic needs.  Help is needed with daily operations at food pantry. Sign up for shifts any day M-F and weekends. Assist with set up of pantry, fill bags with groceries for pantry patrons, sort donations, restock shelves, or help break down and clean at end of day. 

Project SOUP also accepts donations of supplies, including: Powder-free nitrile gloves; new reusable shopping bags; Disinfecting wipes; Hand sanitizer; Hand soap; toilet paper, diapers, baby wipes, bar soap, body wash, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes. For donations that need to be dropped off at 165 Broadway in Somerville, please first contact Assistant Manager Ben Wyner, Project SOUP, Somerville Homeless Coalition 617-776-7687 or email:  bwyner@shcinc.org

Community Cooks  temporarily suspending cooking operations but has admin and organizing volunteer openings.  Community Cooks mobilizes individuals, businesses, civic, educational and faith-based groups to offer home-prepared food to vulnerable neighbors struggling with food insecurity. Community Cooks harnesses the energy of volunteers, supporting 41 direct-service partner agencies, preparing and delivering meals that serve more than 5,100 people every month. Sign up as an individual cook or part of a team to cook once a month, providing part of a nutritious home-cooked meal to a local neighbor: https://communitycooks.org/join-us/.

Serve and Inspire with SPS 

Please note that all in-school volunteer opportunities are suspended until further notice.

Why Volunteer? Volunteers in schools leads to greater student achievement and self-confidence, better attendance, improved conversation skills and social relationships, and stronger community connections. As a volunteer with Somerville Public Schools, you will work with students, educators, parents and guardians, and community volunteers to enrich and expand student learning. Whether you have an hour a week or an hour a month, we'll work to match you with a rewarding volunteer experience. 

Getting Started

NEW TO SOMERVILLE PUBLIC SCHOOLS? If you are interested in serving regularly, please take a moment to self-register as an SPS Volunteer here and rsvp for a Volunteer Orientation.

RETURNING VOLUNTEERS, PARENTS AND GUARDIANS: Thank you for sharing your time and talents with SPS! Please remember to submit your CORI Form for the school year. CORI requests may be submitted:

  • Mon, Tues, Wed and Fri, 7:30am-3:30pm, and Thursdays 10:30am-3:30pm through the SFLC Center, 42 Prescott St., Cummings Building, main office;
  • Monday through Friday, 7:30am-3:00pm through any Somerville Elementary School main office; OR
  • at an SPS Volunteer Orientation.

Please make sure to bring your photo ID (driver's license, REAL ID or US Passport). CORI forms are also available at all SPS main offices, Enrollment Center and provided at Volunteer Orientations.

All Volunteers:  Thank you for reviewing this Guide for procedures and best practices for serving with Somerville Public Schools.  

Serving and Inspiring, Volunteer Spotlights


Volunteer Opportunities

Academic Support and Tutoring

Individual weekly tutoring and study skills supported by qualified, caring community volunteers have shown to improve student academic achievement and generate more interest in the subject. Opportunities in Literacy, Mathematics, Languages, Sciences and more. Preference given to volunteers who can serve during school day hours or immediately after school (8:30am-2:30pm; or for an hour or more 2:45pm-5:15pm). During the school year, before and after school hours available for individualized tutoring and projects. 

Computer Scientists, Engineers, Innovators and Problem-Solvers

Looking for ways to connect with our next generation of innovators? Help light the spark that will make math matter and bring creativity to coding. Volunteers and STEM enthusiasts serve in and out of the classroom assisting with computer sciences courses, after school clubs, STEM nights, Maker Space events, Science Fair judges, Robotics team mentors, STEM career mentors and more.  

Classroom Educator Aides

Volunteers who enjoy working in a classroom environment, for two or more hours a day, Grades K-4. Assist with transition times, help students with independent work, assist with a small reading group, assist with recess monitoring, and provide students with another caring adult in their classroom. 

Musicians / Artists / Performing Artists

Support Somerville Public Schools' vibrant arts scene! Somerville schools offer free in-school instrument lessons, in-school music and music theory, chorus, band, percussive bands, orchestra and after school instruction and performance opportunities and visual and performance arts. Volunteers may help in a weekly music class, provide string or wind lesson support, volunteer to perform at a school or district event, plan or assist with a music fundraiser, or assist in a Summer strings program. Visit the Music Department to learn more.

El Sistema Somerville

Launched in Fall, 2012, El Sistema is an after school music education program providing ensemble-based music instruction to third, fourth and fifth grade students. In addition to music instruction, students receive weekly academic support, cultural enrichment activities, field trips, and frequent public performance opportunities. Volunteers serve as music mentors, tutors, homework and academic aides, fundraiser and special events planners and more. Hours M-F, 2:45pm-5:30pm, volunteers may serve one hour/week or more, at East Somerville Community School. Contact El Sistema's Evan Perry at eperry@k12.somerville.ma.us or call 617-625-6600 ext. 3716 for more information.

Therapy Dog Teams

Initiated in 2012 by the SPS Volunteer Program and with ten teams now serving regularly, trained and certified Therapy Dog Teams serve as Reading Partners, and provide consistent, social, emotional and wellness support to students and staff. Therapy Teams are matched with educators and counselors for weekly or monthly classroom visits, as Reading Partners for individual or small group reading, for enrichment activities, or serve during counseling sessions. Teams are screened prior to placement, all teams must be trained and certified through reputable organization and meet all requirements for visits in a school or classroom environment. For training and certification resources or to arrange a screening, contact jcapuano@k12.somerville.ma.us

Serving Lifelong Learning and 18+

SCALE (Somerville Center for Adult Learning Experiences)

SCALE provides adults opportunities to achieve their goals in a supportive, diverse, welcoming learning community through academic programming and guidance. Volunteers work alongside staff to support adult learners with basic reading, writing and math skills, English instruction for non-native speakers, or a high-school credential. Classes meet in the mornings, afternoons and evenings on weekdays. Visit SCALE to learn more. 

Supporting Public Schools, Growing Community

Are you a company, group of friends or organization looking for fun ways to work together and support Somerville schools and families? Take a look below and find ways to serve and connect with community while having fun!

School Community Events

PTA Events / SFLC Events / Math Nights / Game Nights / Literacy and Author Visits / Arts / STEM / Physical Improvement Projects. Parent and community volunteers are encouraged to assist schools with hosting engaging, family-friendly events--on and off-site. School communities plan, host and attend a wide variety of events year-round. Come help at an event, bring a dish to share, offer a fun hands-on activity and connect with families and students. Choose a school or we'll connect you with a school in your neighborhood. 

Grantwriting, Graphic and Web Design, Events Planning, Fundraising and more

Not interested in interacting with students or only available evenings?  Not a problem!  Volunteers in Somerville enjoy sharing their expertise in graphic arts or design, web design, photography, logo creation, serving on a local nonprofit education board, grant writing, data entry, events planning, community outreach, fundraising for school needs and more. If you have a skill to share, we'll find you a rewarding way to use it--short- or long-term--in support of public schools. Several Somerville nonprofits and organizations serve to minimize achievement and experiential gaps and welcome community volunteer support. For a list of local education organizations seeking volunteer support: JCapuano@k12.somerville.ma.us

Garbage to Garden School Food Waste Volunteers

Want to earn free monthly curbside food waste pickup and a bucket of compost while supporting schools’ food waste recycling?  Garbage to Garden is offering volunteers who serve 2.5 hours a month at a Somerville school their next month of residential curbside food waste pickup at no cost. Volunteers need to create an account with GTG and pay for first month of service ($15). Each month you volunteer at a Somerville school for 2.5 hours, your next month's food waste pickup is free. All Garbage to Garden participants are also welcomed to a complimentary bag of finished compost on their service day upon request. To sign up to participate as an GTG Volunteer and see terms and conditions for this service visit:  https://www.garbagetogarden.org/start-composting.php.  For questions about volunteering as a Garbage to Garden Volunteer in a Somerville Public School email: volunteer@garbagetogarden.org

School Gardens

Groundwork Somerville, a longtime partner with Somerville Public Schools, maintains and runs programming in Somerville’s school gardens. GWS is updating their volunteer outreach records, and hopes to continue to engage more community members through learning in and caring for Somerville's school gardens and urban farms. To help more students enjoy hands-on learning in Somerville's school gardens--including for short-term and one-time workshops and activities--and be added to the GWS volunteer outreach, please complete Groundwork Somerville's online form: Volunteer Interest - School Gardens & Urban Ag.  Conract Madeline Lee at urbanag@groundworksomerville.org with any questions about volunteering with GWS.


Have ideas for how you'd like to serve and inspire with SPS? Let us know!