Giving Back to the Cambridge Community

by c21commonweath_ldowling 8. January 2020 13:30


Cambridge, Massachusetts is most famous for its prestigious universities, including Harvard, MIT, and others. Since life in Cambridge is so inextricably tied to college culture, driven by thousands of young people who are active in community engagement, it’s no wonder there are so many volunteer opportunities in this particular Boston suburb.

Of course, you don’t need to be a college student to give back to your community—there are countless ways for Cambridge residents of all ages to get involved. Here are some excellent places to lend your time and talents for the good of your friends and neighbors.

The Cambridge Public Library

Made up of both historic buildings and modern facilities, the Cambridge Public Library System has much more to offer than books: computer access, conference rooms, an interlibrary loan system, and many cultural and educational events throughout the year. If you’d like to help the library plan, run, and advertise its various programs, join the Friends of the Cambridge Public Library. Past volunteers have assisted with clerical work, office administration, and social media outreach.

Charles River Conservancy

The Charles River serves as the border between Cambridge and Boston proper, offering a slice of the outdoors in the middle of the sprawling cityscape. Bostonians and visitors both enjoy swimming, sailing, and kayaking in the water, riding along the Charles River Bike Path, and relaxing in one of the several nearby parks. If you volunteer with the Conservancy, you can do your part to keep the river area clean, inviting, and eco-friendly.

Harvard Square Homeless Shelter

Getting involved with the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, which operates November through April, is an excellent chance to help less fortunate members of your community persevere through Boston’s harsh winters while they try to get back on their feet. As a volunteer, you’ll join Harvard students in welcoming guests to the shelter, preparing their dinner and breakfast, and helping them do laundry.

It’s not all hard work, however—you’ll also have the chance to converse with guests, watch movies with them, read to them, and engage in other friendly activities they might not get to experience often. It’s one of the most important and rewarding things you can do with your evenings.


CitySprouts promotes growth in two ways: by literally cultivating urban gardens around Cambridge and by helping children with limited access to nature learn more about gardening, nutrition, and their environment. CitySprouts volunteers can help tend gardens in the spring, press apple cider in autumn, and perform other basic tasks essential to keeping their various programs running year-round.

A Hundred Ways to Help

If the organizations we’ve mentioned don’t inspire you, there are plenty of other groups that would gladly welcome your time and effort. If you live in Cambridge, or if you’re planning to move here, you’ll agree the strong community makes this wonderful city what it is.