Community Engagement & Leadership

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Post and Find Volunteer Opportunities

The Community Engagement & Leadership Center (CEL) provides resources to students, student organizations, faculty, and staff at SMU in order to engage in meaningful community service in the Dallas area. We believe that service cultivates a consciousness of self, commitment to a common purpose and citizenship through guided experiences and reflection.


Make a Difference in Dallas

The Community Engagement & Leadership Center team will announce new Volunteer Hub information in August 2017. If you are a non-profit who would like to recruit SMU volunteers or a student looking for volunteer opportunities, please email us.

MLK Service Day FlyerAbout CEL Days of Service

Once per semester, CEL invites the campus community to participate together in a day of service to the Dallas community. Stampede of Service takes place during the fall semester, typically around Homecoming festivities. The MLK Day of Service occurs in January in recognition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. We work with a wide range of Dallas organizations during days of service, and past projects have included organizing food and clothes pantries, cleaning outdoor recreation areas, painting and restoring shelters, building accessibility ramps for homes, and helping teachers organize their classrooms.

MLK Service Day
Saturday, January 28, 2017
10:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m

Brunch and transportation provided

Register today by filling out the Volunteer Registration Form.

We are partnering with the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, SMU Panhellenic, SMU National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) and the following Dallas non-profit organizations to host this year's MLK Service Day:

  • We Over Me Farm at Paul Quinn Collegehelps transform the health and well-being of under-resourced communities in southern Dallas by providing fresh, healthy, affordable food options. Volunteers would assist in construction trellises for spring crops, help install weed barriers and prepare rows for spring crops. Skills required: Ability to work outdoors in non- climate controlled environment.
  • North Texas Food Bank- is a top-ranked nonprofit relief organization, providing access to more than 170,000 meals each day for hungry children, seniors and families. Be a part of a dynamic team which helps sort, box and bag food in a warehouse environment.
    Skills required: Ability to bend, squat, push and lift.  Accommodations can be made with advance notice.
  • Foundation for C.H.O.I.C.E. 
    Foundation For C.H.O.I.C.E. (Consider How One Individual Changes Everything) focuses on preparing specifically hand-picked, at risk students for life after high school, while providing them with the resources, skills, and mentoring relationships necessary to promote a seamless transition. Volunteers will assist by helping improve the campus of the chosen school- whether it's picking up trash, painting, yard work, etc. alongside high school students.
  • Dolphin Heights Community Garden - where residents can gather to grow fruits and is also used as a learning tool for the kids in the Dolphin Heights after School Program (ASP). Volunteers are needed to help rake leaves, plant and create sitting designs out of limestone for community garden.
  • Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity & Highland Park United Methodist Church- Highland Park United Methodist Church has worked in partnership with Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity for 20 years to build homes across our city. Volunteers will help with the beginning stages of house construction, including loading and installing trusses, sheathing walls, and beginning to install blue board. No construction experience is required.
  • St. Philip's School and Community Center - provides unparalleled education and compatible community services through a faith-based experience, with emphasis on serving low and moderate income families.  Volunteers will assist St. Philip's in preparing the school's campus for its largest and most critical fundraising event of the year. The project will involve readying the campus by cleaning, preparing, and planting in the flower beds and flower pots that surround the school's campus. 
  • Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Inc. - Donations fuel Goodwill’s social business to create jobs and job services to persons with disabilities and other barriers to employment. You can help Goodwill in their mission to provide job opportunity by assisting with sorting and processing donations in the Goodwill central warehouse!
    Skills required: Ability to stand, bend and life small amounts of weights for up to three hours
  • For The Love of The Lake - dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of White Rock Lake. Help spruce up the old fish hatchery nature area.
    Skills required: Ability to climb through outdoor landscaping and foliage, please be mindful of bugs
  • Hope Supply Co. – serves as a clearinghouse of donated resources for the homeless by providing necessities including diapers, clothing, school supplies, toys and programs to enhance their lives. Be a part of this mission by helping in the warehouse and sorting, counting, and labeling critically needed items for homeless children.
  • Nexus Recovery Center - serves as a link to sobriety, independence, and dignity for low-income women and their families affected by addiction. Be a part of this mission by assisting young women in art projects and creative writing.
    Skills required: Clear and effective communication
  • The Family Place – helps empower victims of family violence by providing safe housing, counseling and skills that create independence. Volunteers on this project will help organize, restock and assist in the Family Place Resale Shop.
  • Promise House - embraces homeless, runaway and at-risk youth, giving them needed support, encouragement and hope to live a better life. Volunteers will engage residents in the Emergency Youth Shelter by playing board games, outdoors activities (basketball, jump rope, etc) or video games!
    Skills required: An upbeat, excited attitude!
  • SPCA of Texas - (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals of Texas) is dedicated to providing every animal exceptional care and a loving home. Volunteers will assist with shelter-related activities including laundry/dishes, decorating animal pods (w/colored window markers), assembling pet enrichment toys, or cleaning windows.
  • Trinity River Audubon Center has five miles of established trails and many acres of wetland ponds and grasslands. Use your muscle to benefit these diverse ecosystems when you help clear and expand existing trails, remove invasive species, or restore prairie and wetland habitats.
    Skills Required: Ability to use wheelbarrows, and other items pertaining to trash pick-up
  • Habitat for Humanity ReStores Locally owned and operated, 100% of the profits to Habitat’s ReStores support Dallas Habitat's mission to revitalize neighborhoods through the anchoring hope of affordable home ownership. ReStores need volunteers like you for merchandising, greeting and assisting customers, display presentation and management, pricing, sales, and more!

Please note: In accordance with the SMU Risk Management Policy, ALL student participants are required to use the transportation provided. E-mail with additional questions.

United Way Day of Impact for Faculty and Staff


UPDATE: As of 11/22/2016, all spots are FULL for the United Way Day of Impact. Any submissions after this date will be added to the waiting list for placement.

On Friday, December 16th, the SMU United Way committee invites staff and faculty to participate in a Day of Impact at the Dallas Children's Advocacy Center. The Dallas Children's Advocacy Center (DCAC) is a United Way service provider, and coordinates the investigation and prosecution of the most severe cases of child abuse in Dallas County, serving more than 4,000 children last year.

We will be helping DCAC prepare for the Holiday of Hope program, which provides clothing and gifts for the children and their family members during the holiday season. Coincidentally, DCAC is also the benefactor of the Toys for Tickets program held at SMU during the holiday season each year.

About the day

  • Volunteer shifts on December 16th are limited to 10 spots each from 10:00am-1:00pm and 1:30pm-4:30pm.
  • You will be asked to select one shift during which you can volunteer.
  • You will receive an email confirmation from Stephanie Howeth indicating if you were place during your preferred time slot, or if you were placed on the waiting list.
  • Spots fill up quickly, and we maintain a waiting list as spots occasionally become available later due to conflicts and schedule changes. For this reason, everyone who signs up and is on the waiting list will be asked to complete the volunteer background check.
  • Volunteers will be required to submit a background check form to DCAC prior to confirming the volunteer spot. Once you have signed up to volunteer, we will email the background check form to you to complete and submit back to Stephanie Howeth in a sealed envelope.
  • The deadline to register and submit background check paperwork will be Monday, November 28th.

Sign up for the Day of Impact

To sign up to volunteer with us for the Day of Impact, please complete the online registration form.

What to wear and bring

Please wear comfortable clothing that you don't mind getting dirty and closed toed shoes. All supplies will be provided at the site, but we encourage everyone to bring their own bottled water or a reusable water bottle.

Holiday Toy Drive / Toys for Tickets

If you're unable to volunteer with us on December 16th, we would love to have you participate in the Toys for Tickets holiday toy drive that benefits DCAC. The deadline to donate toys at one of the on-campus dropoff locations is November 30th.


For more information about the Day of Impact or the Holiday Toy Drive, please contact Stephanie Howeth at

The Community Engagement & Leadership Center is proud to work with the following "Community Partner" non-profit organizations:

C.C. Young
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Victoria Jones at 214.841.2988

C.C. Young’s mission is to foster premier environments where every life at every age is valued and enriched. C. C. Young is a non-profit, premier senior living community dedicated to helping seniors enjoy an active, fulfilling lifestyle and providing personalized care and support.

General Volunteer Needs: host a birthday party, play bingo, arts and crafts, dominos, cards, puzzles, play piano or guitar, lead sing-a-long, direct a bible study, beauty shop help, read aloud, gardening projects, hospice companion, car wash, decorate for holidays, lead trivia contest

Dallas Holocaust Museum
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Jason Lalonde at 214.741.7500

Dallas Holocaust Museum /Center for Education & Tolerance is dedicated to preserving the memory of the Holocaust and to teaching the moral and ethical response to prejudice, hatred and indifference, for the benefit of all humanity.

General Volunteer Needs: special events, receptions, photography, accounting, marketing, community outreach, customer service or design your own volunteer project with museum staff

Goodwill Industries of Dallas, Inc.
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Pearce Edwards at 214.638.2800

Goodwill’s mission is to provide training and employment to persons with disabilities and disadvantages to help them transform their lives through the power of jobs.

General Volunteer Needs: groups of all sizes are welcome in the warehouse sorting donated goods, as well as in our retail stores around the Dallas area; individuals may serve in stores, in our classes and mentoring programs

Heroes for Children
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Christina Richardson at 214.256.5824

Heroes for Children advocates for and provides financial and social assistance to families with children (0-22 years of age) battling cancer.

General Volunteer Needs: planning committees, office work, events, programs, public relations

Interfaith Housing Coalition
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Joseph Browning at 469.828.1823

Interfaith Housing Coalition is a faith based agency whose mission is to be “the hands of Christ helping families transition to self-sufficiency and new hope”. For over 25 years, Interfaith’s Housing Program has provided transitional housing via 49 apartments, self-sufficiency programs such as career counseling and budget mentoring, and children and teen programs for approximately 100 homeless families per year.

General Volunteer Needs: child's dinner hostess, new home coordinator, employment center mentor, children's and teen tutor/mentor, budget mentor, beautification

Legacy Counseling Center
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Jaime Toussaint at 214.520.6308

Legacy Counseling Center’s mission is to provide affordable and quality mental health care, substance abuse treatment, and special care housing services to people in the North Texas area who are impacted by HIV/AIDS.

General Volunteer Needs: patient visitors, arts and crafts, data entry, event planning, read or watch movies with the clients, host food drives, grocery shop, cook dinner one night, host a theme night

Nexus Recovery Center
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Beth Hunter at 214.321.0156

Nexus Recovery Center has assisted more than 20,000 women, adolescents, and children on their journey to recovery since opening in 1971 as High Hopes Rehabilitation Center. Parenting classes, family education and counseling, life skills training, and on-site childcare, combined with Nexus' award-winning, accredited treatment programs provide the tools to restore lives and create healthy tomorrows for families.

General Volunteer Needs: classroom helpers to assist with individual tutoring and special projects, general office help, mentors for teenage girls to provide monthly activities and emotional support, Parkland partners needed to accompany new clients to Parkland

Rainbow Days, Inc.
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Kelly Wierzbinski at 214.887.0726

Rainbow Days’ mission is to prepare and inspire children to live a life of hope and promise (despite enduring adverse childhood experiences).

General Volunteer Needs: work directly with children, youth or parents, assist with preparing for groups or special events, share skills and develop new ones, receive valuable experience, make a difference in the lives of children

Readers 2 Leaders
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Carol Porter at 214.905.0095

Readers 2 Leaders’ mission is to develop and grow the reading skills of children in West Dallas ages 3-10 so that they succeed in school, graduate and leave school prepared to live productive lives.

General Volunteer Needs: Reading Buddies: read one-on-one with a student once a week at Team Read school sites; After-School Tutors: assist elementary students with homework completion and work one-on-one with a student to help them improve their reading skills during our literacy focused sessions; Saturday Storytime: help serve snacks, work on activities with children and participate in the storytime session for families; Parent Prep: assist parents as they create literacy activities that they can use with children 5 and under (high need for Spanish-speaking volunteers); Lending Library: help organize and update the Lending Library by re-shelving books, processing new donations and preparing materials for Team Read programs.

Social Street
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Lauren Sanderson at 214.570.3140

The Social Street Initiative strategically collaborates tutoring with community organizations to alter the impact that external social issues have on a student’s academic performance. All Social Street programs are tailored to meet the uniqueness and specific needs of each campus and community population. Our goal is to adapt education to the student’s life, both inside and outside the classroom.

General Volunteer Needs: tutor-mentor to facilitate programs that offer both academic and personal enrichment to students

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Mallory Bassham at 214.978.0048

United Way of Metropolitan Dallas is changing lives in North Texas by: preparing kids to graduate and succeed, helping families leave poverty permanently and enabling people to live healthy, responsible lives.

General Volunteer Needs: tutor or mentor middle or high school students, job shadow with high school students to teach them about different career opportunities, be a companion to seniors by playing games and visiting residents, serve meals to community members in need or deliver meals to homebound neighbors, lead learning activities with young children, participate in Reading Days to share your love of reading and inspire local elementary students, landscaping and building maintenance for our service providers, painting and space make-overs, playground maintenance and upgrades

Uplift Education
Volunteer Coordinator Contact Information: Cassie Hubbert at 469.398.0084

Uplift Education’s mission is to create and sustain public schools of excellence that empower students to reach their highest potential in college and the global marketplace and that inspire in students a life-long love of learning, achievement, and service in order to positively change their world.

General Volunteer Needs: looking for volunteers to support scholars directly through a variety of methods including one on one and small group reading, tutoring, and mentoring, as well as activity based learning, After School Reading Program-Reading Buddies, One-on-One Scholar Intervention, Lunch Buddies, Teacher Project Help

Can't Find What You're Looking For?

While we encourage all of our community agencies to post their volunteer opportunities in MustangTRAK, there are always more.  We would love to help connect you or your student organization to an experience that aligns well with your interests, area of study, and/or time commitment.

Individual Service Consultations

The Community Engagement & Leadership Center offers one-on-one sessions to help match you with the right service opportunity.  These sessions are designed for anyone looking to get involved in the Dallas community on a regular basis, volunteer one time, or to simply learn more about a social issue. 

You will meet individually with one of our staff members to discuss your interests, experiences, and goals, and to collaboratively explore opportunities that meet your needs.  To prepare for your session, you may want to think about the following:

  • What community need or social issue are you passionate about?
  • Is there a certain type of population you would like to work with?  (e.g. children, senior citizens, animals, etc.)
  • How much free time do you have available to do community service?  How much of a commitment are you willing to make?
  • Are there career skills or experience you would like to develop through your community work?

To schedule an appointment, please call 214-768-7304 or e-mail

Group Service Consultations

Our staff would also love to meet with your student organization, class, or group of friends to find a place to serve in the community.  We want to make sure that you are matched with a volunteer opportunity that is mutually beneficial to your group as well as the agency. 

Typically our office needs two weeks to schedule group service projects, so be sure to contact us early.  To prepare for your session, you may want to think about the following:

  • What community need or social issue is the group passionate about/related to?
  • How many people are in the group?
  • What time commitment is the group willing to make?
  • Is there a particular date you are looking for, or are you flexible?

To schedule an appointment, please call 214-768-7304 or e-mail

Dear Community Partner,

Thank you for allowing our students to complete their service learning and/or community engagement volunteer hours at your agency.

The Community Engagement & Leadership Center team will announce a new process to recruit SMU volunteers in August 2017. Please email us to make sure you are on our email distribution list when we release that information.

Thank you!