Volunteer Opportunities

“Every kid is ONE caring adult away from being a success story.”

–Josh Shipp



In light of the growing concerns around COVID-19, we’ve made the difficult decision to cancel all volunteer activity through May 1, unless otherwise notified.


This was a tough call to make. Volunteers are vital to our residents’ well-being and we thank you for all of the care and support you give to our youth. At this time, our priority is to mitigate disease and protect our kids and personnel by limiting traffic to our campus.


We will keep you updated with any changes and let you know when we resume normal operations on campus. Thank you for your flexibility and understanding during this time.


The easiest (and most needed) way to support the kids right now is to share this link to our Amazon Smile Charity Wish List:



This is a tough time for all of us and our residents are no different. Their routine has been disrupted, and many are struggling to deal with the resulting anxiety. Art, writing, and movies are often the most effective outlet or escape for these feelings, which means they are going through a LOT of supplies very quickly!


Also, we are not able to accept any donation drop-offs at this time. All donations must be new and arrive by mail.


If you are able to purchase any items on the list, that is wonderful. If not, please share the link with anyone who is asking how they can help.


For more information about these volunteer opportunities, or to discuss an idea of your own, please contact Jessica Marcetti the Manager of Volunteer Resources at (313) 271-3050 x114 or at volunteer@vistamaria.org.

Residential Volunteer Activities


There are many options for volunteering with the residents at Vista Maria!  Whether you choose to volunteer individually, with a friend, or as part of a larger corporate or social group, we are eager to have you host a fun and meaningful volunteer activity– no idea is too big or too small!  About 15 to 28 residents typically participate in group activities.  If you have an interest, skill, or passion, there is likely a girl at Vista Maria who loves it too!  We recently polled our residents to ask what they would love to do or learn about with volunteers and these are some of their suggestions:


  • Animals (pet therapy, puppies)
  • Art (painting, tie dye, jewelry making)
  • Basic budgeting and money management
  • Career Information (forensic science, culinary arts, others!)
  • College prep
  • Communication skills
  • Cooking
  • Crochet
  • Dancing (Step and line dancing)
  • Etiquette
  • Fashion
  • Fitness (Zumba, especially)
  • Game nights
  • Gardening
  • Goal setting
  • Hair and nails (Braiding)
  • Healthy living
  • Henna
  • Hygiene
  • Journaling
  • Karaoke
  • Life skills
  • Movie nights
  • Outdoor games (ladder toss, relay races, corn hole)
  • Pottery or clay
  • Pregnancy and parenting
  • Puzzles
  • Resume writing
  • Singing
  • Spa day
  • Spiritual groups (all faiths)
  • Sports (basketball, soccer, volleyball, kickball, boxing)
  • Wii games
  • Women’s Health

Please allow a minimum of two weeks’ notice to plan the event.

For more information, please contact the Volunteer Resources Team

313-271-3050, ext. 114 or volunteer@vistamaria.org

One-on-One Volunteering and Mentoring Opportunities

Residential Mentors

1 hour per week

Meet with your mentee once a week to discuss life in general, play board games, craft, or do other activities you both enjoy. Your mentorship will last as long as your mentee is here at Vista Maria, which is usually a 3 – 6 month commitment.

Contact: Janet McMillan at 313-271-3050, ext. 289 or jmcmillan@vistamaria.org

Requirements: Mentors must be female and at least 20 years of age.


Shepherd Hall Dorm Apartment (SHDA) Support Team

1 – 2 hours per week

You will be paired with a young woman, age 18 to 24, currently living in our on-campus dorm apartments. SHDA volunteers will serve as a source of inspiration and guidance and will help our young women form a permanent connection with a caring adult.
Contact: Sharon Kurc at 313-271-3050, ext. 395 or skurc@vistamaria.org

Additional Volunteer Opportunities

Heartmover Spiritual Volunteers

2 – 4 hours a month

We welcome spiritual groups of all faith origins to help provide the girls in our residential programs with a good moral compass. Heartmovers perform ministry services and prayer groups for our youth.
Contact: Janet Jones at 313-271-3050, ext. 123 or jjones@vistamaria.org


Campus Beautification

Looking for a great team-building exercise for your corporate or social group? Come to Vista Maria and help us keep our facilities beautiful and comforting for our children. Projects could include landscaping, painting (indoor and outdoor) and a variety of other needs around campus.

Contact: Jessica Marcetti at 313-271-3050, ext. 118 or jmarcetti@vistamaria.org
Requirements: To best support our facilities team, projects are available with at least 30 days’ notice, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, for at least 4 hours.


Help in The Vista Boutique

This special area is set aside for clients to peruse and select free clothes, shoes, personal products, and accessories.  We always need extra hands to help with data entry, inventory, organization, stocking shelves, and making The Vista Boutique a place where our youth feel beautiful, well-dressed, and valued.

Contact: Janet McMillan at 313-271-3050, ext. 289 or jmcmillan@vistamaria.org

Most Valuable Elves (MVE): Holiday Wish List Program


Our Most Valuable Elves make the holidays warm and wonderful for our youth.  Each holiday season, they go above and beyond to provide gifts and stocking stuffers for Vista Maria residents.  You can become an MVE by supporting our youth in the following ways:


Adopt a Wish List

Sponsor an individual child, or several children, by purchasing the four items on their personalized Wish Lists. Shoppers can expect to spend, on average, between $150 to $200 on each child’s individual list. Lists for 2019 will be available in early November.  In years past, this individualized program has filled up quickly.

Contact: Jessica Marcetti at 313-271-3050, ext. 118 or jmarcetti@vistamaria.org


Stocking Stuffers

You may choose to shop from our stocking stuffer list found here, so that we can provide extra Christmas morning goodies for our kids—and hang them with care!  These items can be found at most stores, at bargain prices.


Wish List Sponsor

Sponsor the Holiday Wish List Program by providing a monetary donation that will cover the costs of any last-minute items, or for any youth who come in right before Christmas. Click here to donate.

You can also help by providing gift cards to stores like Kohl’s, Meijer, Target and JC Penney to help us fulfill last-minute wishes.


Santa’s Helpers

Our Vista Maria Boutique and offices become the epicenter of holiday cheer every December! You can help sort and wrap gifts, and organize “Santa’s Workshop” right here on Vista Maria’s campus. Volunteer times are typically Monday-Friday, with special weekend opportunities.

Student Internships and Field Placements


Internships are available for academic credit in a variety of different fields at Vista Maria. We accept Associate’s, Bachelor’s and Master’s students. Placement is limited and is granted based on the availability of supervisors in your field of study, and your hours of availability to complete your internship.


Weekend and evening hours are NOT available to complete internship hours. Placement is not guaranteed. All positions will be filled within a month of a semester starting. Those inquiring after the start of a semester will be placed on a waiting list for the following semester.

Contact: Tara Hester at 271-3050 ext. 221 or thester@vistamaria.org

Vista Maria READS


Vista Maria READS started as a simple idea and has grown into one of our most successful volunteer programs. A Vista Maria mentor and retired teacher wanted to share her passion for reading with our youth. She, along with a group of like-minded women who now make up the Vista Maria READS volunteer committee, come to campus every month to bring books to our residents.


The group distributes approximately 250 books a month and has donated more than 7,000 books since its inception in 2012.  Residents may select two books each month to keep.  They are also encouraged to request books to be purchased specifically for them.  Each month, Vista Maria Reads fulfills about 50 requests.


Vista Maria READS is supported by donations from individuals, partnerships with local businesses, churches, and civic groups, as well as grants from organizations supporting literacy.  If you would like to share your love of reading and support Vista Maria READS, consider making a tax deductible monetary donation by clicking here, and indicating Vista Maria READS in the comments, or by visiting our Amazon Wish List.


Contact: Mary Brown at vistamariareads@gmail.com.


A special thank you to our volunteer-led Vista Maria READS board:

  • Mary Brown
  • Joanne Campbell
  • Valada Sargent
  • Abby Stenback
  • Michelle Wheeler