A quick look at volunteering in the USA…
- Volunteer trips in USA are available year-round with start dates every Monday
- Choose from 4 meaningful volunteer project options
- Volunteer opportunities based in New Orleans in the state of Louisiana
- Volunteers stay in dormitory style accommodation
- Between 1 and 10 volunteers start in New Orleans each month
- Program fees from US$520 (approximately AU$750) for 1 week
- Included in your USA volunteer trip: airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 support in the USA
- Most affordable fees - as the world leader in affordable volunteer travel, we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organisation in United States to support meaningful community projects and local employment.
- Superior support - your experienced IVHQ Program Manager, teamed with our local team in United States will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.
- Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.
- Online training - as soon as you register on an IVHQ program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.
- Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for IVHQ and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organisations and families that have been screened by our local teams.
- New friendships - as an IVHQer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travellers who will quickly become your life-long friends.
- Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore United States with your new-found friends.
The IVHQ USA volunteer program has volunteer placements located in the neighbourhoods around New Orleans, the largest city in the state of Louisiana.
Volunteer programs begin every Monday. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks.
Whether you are looking for short term volunteer opportunities, or longer volunteer vacations in the USA, the IVHQ New Orleans volunteer program can support you to make a positive difference while experience everything that this iconic city has to offer.
Environmental support initiatives are increasingly popular the world over and can make a genuine difference in helping green spaces to thrive. These causes help not only the local ecosystem where they operate, but they serve to beautify communities and enrich the lives of those who live there by providing pleasant natural areas. The Environmental Sustainability project takes a multi-faceted approach to doing this by focusing on sustainability, recycling and environmental education initiatives.
Volunteers on this project can expect to work in community gardens, public parks, recycling warehouses or urban farms to assist efforts toward environmental sustainability. Your exact duties will vary depending on the organisation you are partnered with and their specific focus at the time, but you could be involved in a wide range of tasks including planting trees, removing invasive species, sorting and recycling housing materials, building urban trails, maintaining drainage areas and more.
If you like getting your hands dirty, working in nature and are passionate about environmental sustainability efforts then this is the project for you!
It’s important to note this project predominantly involves working outside and you should keep this in mind for the time of year you are choosing to volunteer. You should come prepared for the seasonal weather and be particularly aware that summer in New Orleans can be very hot.
Many organisations in New Orleans provide important support to vulnerable people in a range of ways. Volunteers on the Community Development project help to contribute to these worthy causes in order to boost their resources and enable them to make as big an impact as possible. This project operates in the heart of disadvantaged communities and on worthy causes that aim to directly benefit the lives of those who rely on such causes for food, shelter, clothing and other necessities.
Volunteers can assist in a range of ways and on a range of different initiatives, all with the aim of helping those who need it. You could be placed in a warehouse, homeless shelter, food bank, church or farmer’s market to provide targeted support in a range of ways. Depending on community need, your tasks as a volunteer can range from serving meals to sorting donated food, clothing or household goods, packing grocery boxes and helping organisations to clean and beautify their spaces.
This is a perfect project for caring volunteers with a passion for helping disadvantaged people and communities. You know you will be making a tangible contribution to a worthy cause and having a direct impact to better the lives of people who can often feel marginalized by society, but are exceedingly grateful for the support they receive.
Construction and Renovation
For those wanting a hands-on role helping to build and renovate homes for those in need, look no further! The Construction and Renovation project operates in communities that need revitalization, helping to construct, repair and modernize shelters and other buildings to benefit the people who live there.
Volunteer work is much more involved than on some other projects, with full days of making rewarding improvements through building, renovating, painting, restoration, carpentry and landscaping on a range of different building sites. This can require varied daily commutes and some longer travel times, as your contribution will be targeted toward initiatives that have the greatest need at the time.
This project is ideal for volunteers who enjoy physical work and are not afraid to get their hands dirty. You don’t need prior construction or renovation experience to participate as you will be working alongside qualified local supervisors.
This project has an additional cost of US$50 per week for the extra materials, logistics and supervision involved. This amount will be included in the program fee quoted to you when you apply. Volunteers on this project should bring work boots, sturdy clothing and work gloves, though these can be purchased in New Orleans if necessary.
New Orleans is a city that’s known for its colourful character, and much of this is the result of artistic expression from those living in fringe communities. However, the people that can be so influential in shaping the city do need support, especially in the vulnerable teenage years.
The Youth Support project works to support disadvantaged children and teens through education, providing safe spaces for learning, development and expanding horizons. These programs are designed to help support young people and encourage them to develop positively, while teaching them valuable skills for adulthood.
Volunteers are placed in a school, community center or church to help facilitate programs and assist them in preparing to host young people. Volunteer tasks can include providing supervision, tutoring and positive interactions for the youth at these centers. Not all volunteer tasks will involve working directly with young people, and you can also expect to help these organisations by beautifying spaces, re-organizing classrooms, preparing materials, cleaning, painting and other important administrative support tasks.
The Youth Support project in New Orleans is well suited to volunteers who are passionate about helping young people to fulfil their potential, and willing to help lay the foundations in order for that to happen.
The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive into New Orleans on the Sunday before orientation.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) in New Orleans, where you will be greeted at the airport by a representative of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee if you arrive on the Sunday before your program start date. Pick ups are made between 8am to 8pm on Sunday, and volunteers must arrive during this period. If you are due to arrive after 8pm, you will need to arrange your own accommodation for the night and then make your way to join orientation on Monday morning.
If you are travelling in New Orleans prior to your volunteer program, our local team can pick you up on Sunday from any hostel or hotel within New Orleans between 8am and 5pm. Alternatively, you can choose to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation prior to 6pm.
Orientation is hosted by our New Orleans team at the volunteer accommodation in New Orleans. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in New Orleans – Introduction to New Orleans, Culture and Customs, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities, Introduction to Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socialising.
On your first day of volunteering in the USA, you will travel to your volunteer project site, and, once you’re there you will meet the placement staff of the community partner you will be working with.
A typical volunteer day is as follows:
6:30 - 7:30 AM Breakfast served at the volunteer dormitory.
8:00 - 9:00 AM Leave home and travel to your project. You will join with the local staff to complete various outlined tasks that will help support the local organisations mission. Work and hours are dependent on the project and location that you are participating in.
12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch break. In New Orleans, workplaces typically have a lunch break for about an hour. The time and length of your lunch break will ultimately depend on the organisation that you will be working with.
2:00 - 5:00 PM Work at the project typically ends between these times, but this will depend on your project. Use your free time to either travel back home, sightsee, or do some shopping.
6:00 - 7:00 PM Dinner will be served at the volunteer dormitory.
Please note this schedule will vary depending on the needs of your particular project.
Volunteers are accommodated in a dormitory-style volunteer house located a block from the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans. This location is a short drive/taxi from downtown New Orleans with easy access to small shopping and food stores nearby.
The volunteer house is situated on an old school ground and has the feel of a school camp. You should expect basic dormitory style accommodation which is very large and can accommodate over 100 volunteers at a time. Rooms are separated by gender and you could share a room with up to 30 other volunteers during busy months. In quieter months, you can expect plenty of space in your dorm. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds with bedding provided but you will need to bring your own towel. All rooms are also equipped with a fan.
The accommodation has shared bathroom facilities equipped with western toilets and showers. Some of the bathroom facilities are in an outside washroom separate to the accommodation.
There are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week, however, we ask volunteers to keep their rooms tidy. Volunteers are given some cleaning and housekeeping tasks to ensure the space is kept clean at all times.
The accommodation has a basketball court, a volleyball net, a large outdoor field for games, indoor games available and a TV. There is also a small store onsite which is open during dinner hours where you can purchase souvenirs and some small toiletries.
The accommodation is equipped with WiFi which volunteers are able to use. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to access the internet.
As one of the culinary capitals of the United States, you’ll quickly fall in love with the unique cuisine of New Orleans that reflect the city’s French, African and American roots. Volunteers are provided three meals per day, Monday to Friday. A light breakfast service and self-prepared packed lunches are provided on Saturday with no meals provided on Sunday.
Breakfast during the week is usually hot and you will typically be served with eggs, bread, spreads, cereals and fruit as well as a few extras to ensure you’re ready to go for the day. Please note that breakfast is served early, at around 6:30am. If you have a later volunteer shift and wish to sleep in then you may miss the hot breakfast but will be able to prepare a breakfast of cereal or toast and spreads for yourself.
Packed lunches during the week are prepared at breakfast. This will commonly be make-your-own sandwiches with a selection of smaller snacks and fresh fruit.
Dinner is provided from Monday to Friday and will feature a wide range of American, Southern and New Orleans foods. While it will vary from week to week, you can expect to see a variety of different dishes including traditional New Orleans meals such as jambalaya or gumbo.
Volunteers are expected to assist with cleaning up the dining hall after each meal so please be prepared and willing to help with this.
USA - New Orleans
|Length of Program||Program Fee $USD|
- All programs attract a Registration Fee (from US$299) on top of the Program Fee (partially refundable until 60 days before your program start date*). A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- To see prices in your local currency, use this currency converter.
- The Construction and Renovation project has a surcharge of US$50 per week for additional supervision and materials.
- * Terms and Conditions do apply
- Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, souvenirs, in-country trips or tours, transport to and from your placement, transfer back to the airport at conclusion of the program and spending money - volunteers in New Orleans generally find US$100 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses.
What it covers
- Most affordable program fees
- Expert support from a program specialist
- Full MyIVHQ account access
- Online volunteer training
- Comprehensive preparation tools
- Deals on flights and travel insurance
- $50 credit from IVHQ Flights
- IVHQ alumni rewards
What it covers
- 24/7 in-country support
- Airport pick-up
- Program orientation
- Volunteer placement
You’ll have the chance to truly explore New Orleans in your free-time. This Louisianian city is the home of all that’s good in life - mouthwatering food, soulful music and fun loving, welcoming people. The fusion of Cajun, Creole, French, and African roots have made this resilient American city a unique place to visit today.
The biggest problem you’ll have here is figuring out what to do first! Start by exploring the French Quarter, the oldest neighbourhood in New Orleans, famous for its grand architecture and lively street-life. Discover Treme, the city’s cultural pulse and brass band powerhouse. Make the most of Crescent Park, the 1.4-mile-long riverfront park and enjoy the bike lanes that run from the Bywater to the Marigny. Watch the transformation of Bourbon Street at twilight as the home of jazz comes alive and the live music starts up! Or, head further afield and take in the wild backwaters, Mississippi River, and vast sugarcane fields on a swamp tour.
You’ll have worked up quite an appetite by then, so sit back and recharge with a feast of shrimp gumbo, or maybe just a bite of a po’boy sandwich or a spoonful of jambalaya!
And, don’t think Mardi Gras or the Jazz Fest are the only times the city’s in the festival swing, be ready to make the most of the impromptu, authentic festivals and parades that pop up across the city most weekends! It’s an expression of the strong community spirit and thriving arts community.
But most importantly come to New Orleans with an open mind and ready to embrace the city’s motto, “laissez les bon temps rouler”, which translates to “let the good times roll”.
|Currency||United States Dollar (USD)|
|Time zone||UTC-06:00 (Summer UTC-05:00)|
Weather and climate: New Orleans’ southern location means that the climate is humid subtropical, with short, mild winters and hot, humid summers. July is the hottest month in New Orleans with an average temperature of 28°C (82°F) and the coldest is January at 13°C (55°F) with the most daily sunshine hours at 12 in June. The wettest month is July with an average of 168mm of rain. The best month to swim in the sea is in July when the average sea temperature is 30°C (86°F).
Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate on this program, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. If you are under the age of 18, IVHQ offers alternative volunteer opportunities for teens. Visit our High School Volunteer Abroad page to to learn more.
All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a recent criminal background check to IVHQ after registering on the program.
Can a foreigner volunteer in the USA? Yes, IVHQ’s volunteer program in the USA is the perfect opportunity for both travelers from outside the USA and Americans looking for a meaningful opportunity to volunteer outside their hometown. All you need is the willingness to positively support communities in New Orleans, to work with like minded people and a desire to provide help where it’s needed.
Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.
If you’re looking for group volunteer opportunities in the United States, this program is perfect for large groups of college students, high school students, corporate teams and families. Whether you’re looking to organise an alternative break trip, team building exercise, or meaningful volunteer vacation, our local team in New Orleans are highly experienced in proving impactful volunteer opportunities for large groups.
We’ll work closely with you to understand the goals of your group, so you can leave the planning to us. We can create a customised itinerary to provide your team members with a well-organised schedule so you can make the most of your time in New Orleans, while making a positive contribution to the local community.
If you’re volunteering with 8 or more people, you can connect directly with our Volunteer Groups team to share your ideas with us.
If your group has less than 8 members, you can go ahead and apply for the program and you’ll be prompted to add your team members in the application process – this will ensure we can accommodate you together.