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Hands-on experience is critical to help you explore interests and build skills. Here is information about opportunities to build hands-on experience through on-campus and community organizations.

Hands-on Opportunities with On-campus Groups

Many on-campus groups are interested in helping individuals and families. If you are interested in any of these projects, use the contact information on their websites to see if there are paid or volunteer opportunities.

  • Many students work in the Penn State Children's Programs, our on-site early care and education facilities.
  • Penn State Extension has a range of programs and services to help families in Pennsylvania, including projects to support kinship caregivers, teach financial literacy skills, promote family literacy, train child care workers, and strengthen families.
  • The LGBTA Resource Center recruits student volunteers.
  • Become a resident assistant in the dormitories to learn counseling skills and help students.
  • Become a peer educator at the Center for Women Students.
  • The EPISCenter is the dissemination wing of the Penn State Prevention Research Center. They are actively involved in developing quality materials to help communities use evidence-based practices and in working with communities to implement these practices.

Hands-on Opportunities in the Community

HDFS students volunteer, intern, and work at a range of local organizations during the academic year to develop counseling and social work skills. Check the HDFS Internship Database for information about the many different organizations located in and around State College.

Examples of organizations with opportunities for students:

  • Centre County Women’s Resource Center has an 80 hour training program that prepares you to answer their hotline.
  • The Community Help Centre works to provide individuals in crisis with coordinated access to various social services around Centre County. Volunteers go through a training program to work on their hotline Additional work study positions are also available at the Community Help Centre.
  • Many students work at the Centre County Youth Services Bureau. They run residential facilities, Big Brothers Big Sisters, outreach services, and many other programs to help at-risk youth and their families.
  • The Arc of Centre County often has paid and volunteer positions for students to work with people with developmental disabilities.

If you are interested in getting involved in the community and need ideas about where to work, visit our Internship Office (302 HHDEV-East).