Help us provide a meaningful voice for youth experiencing trauma and crisis and ensure that all youth are safe, healthy, independent, successful and valued. Pathfinders offers many volunteer opportunities for individuals and groups to make a positive impact. Positions offer varying levels of time commitments ranging from one-time projects to ongoing, scheduled positions.

Group Volunteer Opportunities

For specific project suggestions and our most up-to-date needs, please visit our Volunteers United Page.

Fundraising Events

Spread Pathfinders’ mission and host your own fundraising event to support the nearly 7,000 youth we service annually. We can provide you with all of the tools and support you need to advance our incredible mission of Empowering Youth – Changing Lives!


In-Kind Donations & Drives

There are a number of ongoing, urgent and one-time needs for youth experiencing homelessness – clothing, hygiene items, holiday gifts, school supplies, etc. We will work with you to determine the best time and most needed items for conducting a drive. And we can advise on safe collection and drop-off methods.


Youth Meals

We provide our lunches to our youth and young adults Tuesday-Friday, and hot dinners on Wednesdays and Fridays. Our lunches are served in grab-n-go style and dinners can either be dropped off or served in-person. We offer our dinner meal donors the opportunity to serve their dinner in person and sit down with our youth and young adults to enjoy the meal they have prepared.

Sign up for available dates here. Reach out community@pathfindersmke.org with any questions.

Group Projects

COVID-19 precautions have required us to pause on any in-person group projects. There are still ways to help! Whether that’s remotely assembling hygiene kits, sewing cloth masks or using your other unique skills to support our youth, we’re happy to advise on what best serves our current needs.


Ongoing Individual Volunteer Positions

All volunteer position applicants are required to:

1. Complete Pathfinders’ online volunteer application

2. Complete an interview with the Volunteer & Community Engagement Manager

3. Complete all necessary personal paperwork

4. Return three completed reference forms

5. Pass background checks and Milwaukee County Caregiver approval

Applicants seeking Master’s level internships and applicants that have lived outside the state of Wisconsin within the last 3 years will need to schedule and complete a fingerprint background check that will be coordinated by Pathfinders.

6. Attend the intern and volunteer orientation

Emergency Youth Shelter

Assistant Advocate

Assistant Advocates assist with the needs of its residents and maintain the high level of care provided to youth at our Shelter. Under staff supervision, Assistant Advocates have direct and constant one-on-one interaction with the residents and provide them with a positive role model. A three-month commitment to work one 4 ½-hour shift per week is required.


  • Answer phones, provide information and crisis counseling.
  • Complete intakes and resident orientations.
  • Participate in daily groups.
  • Assist staff with general house management.


  • Be 20 years old or older.
  • Possess a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Have experience or interest in working with teens and their families.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with paid staff and accept supervision.

Fill out a Volunteer Application

Learn more about the Youth Shelter

Youth Drop-In Center

Program Assistant

Drop-In Center Program Assistants build relationships and provide positive role models for Drop-In Center youth members. They supervise and interact with the youth and assist staff with day-to-day Drop management.


  • Supervise & interact informally with clients as a positive adult role model.
  • Monitor kitchen/locker room/showers/laundry room/computer lab access
  • Participate in client orientations.
  • Participate in groups/programs.
  • Assist staff with documentation, filing and supportive related duties.


  • Be 20 years or older.
  • Possess a high school diploma or GED.
  • Have experience or interest in working with teens and young adults.
  • Ability to work cooperatively with paid staff and accept supervision.

Fill out a Volunteer Application

Learn more about the Drop-In Center

Anti-Sexual Violence Services

CRAY Volunteer Advocate

CRAY Advocates support the CRAY Collaborative to improve the local advocacy response to commercially sexually exploited youth ages 11-25 by providing in person advocacy during medical exams/consultations and law enforcement interviews.


  • Be on-call twice per month to provide urgent, in person accompaniment and advocacy to commercially sexually exploited youth through the CRAY Collaborative.
  • Assess youth needs and incoming requests for advocacy utilizing indicators for exploitation and offer optional in-person accompaniment support to youth.
  • Provide medical advocacy during medical exams/consultations, legal advocacy during law enforcement interviews, crisis intervention, safety planning, harm reduction support, and service coordination as necessary.
  • Advocate for youth during medical and legal accompaniments to know their rights, understand and explore their options, safety plan, navigate complex systems, and advocate when their rights are violated. Refer clients to community resources and other organizations, as appropriate.
  • Participate in free, specialized orientations and ongoing trainings.


  • Individual must be 21 years or older.
  • Must be able to make independent decisions in an environment where there is exposure to stressful/crisis situations.
  • Must maintain appropriate boundaries and confidentiality.
  • Ability to work with a non-judgmental attitude in a population comprised of diversity in gender, socio-economic and ethnic group, religious background, sexual orientation, and physical or mental abilities.
  • Be able to adhere to CRAY Response Protocols and accept supervision.
  • Must be available to respond to an Advocate request in person within one hour.

Fill Out a Volunteer Application on the CRAY Website

For more information on volunteering at Pathfinders, please contact  community@pathfindersmke.org.

Get Involved

Provide safety, hope and healing to youth.

Get Informed

Learn about issues impacting youth.

Donation Drop-offs

Guidelines for in-kind gifts.