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Community Development Volunteer Project in the USA - New Orleans

Community Development Volunteer Project in the USA - New Orleans

This project is currently not accepting applications.
Check out this similar project in San Juan
Support marginalized & low-income communities
Start dates
Programs start every Monday
Choose from 1-12 weeks
Volunteer hours
Up to 5 hours a day
Volunteer groups of 8+
Program fees
From $635 for 1 week
What's included
Find out here
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Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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This program is ideal for:

Volunteers who are passionate about helping vulnerable people and communities through local initiatives that make sure those in need are able to access services and support.

Project details

Inspired to be a Community Development volunteer in USA - New Orleans? International Volunteer HQ’s Community Development project enables volunteers to help worthy local initiatives that serve disadvantaged communities in New Orleans. The city is still recovering from the long-term effects of Hurricane Katrina while being further impacted by Hurricane Ida, and volunteers can help make sure there is access to food, shelter, clothing and other necessities for those who need them.

What to expect and how you'll make an impact

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, homelessness and poverty skyrocketed in New Orleans, and the long-term effects of this are still being felt today. Now New Orleans has been further devastated by Hurricane Ida. Volunteers and NGOs help to make sure the Hurricane survivors and other vulnerable populations are able to receive shelter, food, clothing and support.

Many organizations in New Orleans provide important support to disadvantaged people in a range of ways. Volunteers on the Community Development project boost their resources and enable them to make as big an impact as possible.

As a Community Development volunteer you will assist with a number of different initiatives, depending on where the need is greatest. You could be placed in a warehouse, homeless shelter, food bank, church or farmers’ market to provide targeted support wherever it’s needed. Your tasks may vary but can include:

  • Serving meals
  • Sorting donated food, clothing or household goods
  • Packing grocery boxes
  • Helping organizations to clean and beautify their spaces
Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #10: Reduced Inequalities

Contributes to United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal #10: Reduced Inequalities

Covid-19 has deepened existing inequalities, hitting disadvantaged and minority communities the hardest. To reduce inequalities, we must provide better services and support to refugees, migrants, indigenous peoples and people with disabilities.

Why do Community Development volunteering in New Orleans with IVHQ?

When you volunteer to help disadvantaged communities in New Orleans you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:

  • Improving access to basic necessities for vulnerable people
  • Supporting local initiatives to help their communities
  • Developing your communication skills
  • Gaining a wide range of volunteer experience
  • Learning about community development
  • Exploring New Orleans and Louisiana

Volunteer requirements

  • Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
  • This program requires all volunteers to be over the age of 14, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian
  • All volunteers aged 14+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 14-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
  • All volunteers must speak fluent English.

This project is currently not accepting applications.

Check out this similar project in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Not sure which program to join?

Get personalized recommendations >

'Who is going' users image
Who is going?
Group video calls

Once you have secured your place, join regular video calls to meet your Program Manager and other volunteers before your trip.

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What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience

Kenett Ponce Zamora
19 Mar 2024

Try new things as it can make you learn more. Not just about a community but you can also make a lot of friends as well as immerse yourself in a new environment that you can learn new skills from.

Melissa Hernandez Nieto
12 Jun 2023

IVHQ made it such an easy process to apply, register and prepare for my volunteer trip!

Rim Tohme
17 Apr 2023

I had a lot of moments were I felt very content with the work that I was doing. I asked an elderly lady to excuse me so that I can mop the floor underneath where she was sitting, then we started conversing. She told me about hurricane Katrina and what New Orleans went through during that time. She showed me a lot of strength when she talked about how they lost their house by saying that this loss had its positive as well as its negative impacts on her. There were also moments of smiling at children who come with their parents to the food pantry, wishing a Muslim family a happy Ramadan in Arabic, and wishing all a happy Easter. Working in the community center was a very well rounded experience. The biggest impact this volunteering trip has had on me is the realization of how I can converse with all people. I am so grateful for that, and I definitely have more to learn. It is through experiences like this that I gain more empathy and understanding towards all people of all backgrounds. It can be scary to be a new place which is foreign to you while also having a responsibility to help out its community. This fear should not however stop you from leaving a good impact on communities that need your help. It also should not stop you from your journey of self- exploration which happens through meeting new people and being in a new space.

Joanne Wallace
13 Dec 2022

It was impactful meeting local people who worked at the volunteering placements, learning about the Deep South culture in the USA and seeing how helpful people were to each other. Just do it!

Didi Muncaster-Wright
01 Nov 2022

My favorite moment from the experience was seeing people come into the food center and how gracious and friendly they are. 1st world developed countries still have people in desperate need of help. What have you truly got to lose except fantastic memories to look back on.

Annie Choiniere
28 Sep 2022

My favorite moment from the volunteer experience was meeting incredible people who truly care about the community they’re a part of. It was hard to see some of the conditions people in New Orleans live in and made me very grateful for what I have. It is absolutely worth your time and money. You’ll be changed for life.


To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.

Academic course credit

Academic course credit through International Volunteer HQ and Intern Abroad HQ.

Academic course credit

Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!

Learn about course credit


Volunteer Abroad in the USA, New Orleans with IVHQ


The IVHQ USA volunteer program has volunteer placements located in the neighborhoods around New Orleans, the largest city in the state of Louisiana.

New Orleans is a place like no other. It’s one of the most vibrant cities in the world and famed for its live music, festivals, food, nightlife, friendly locals, blend of cultural influences and buzzing atmosphere.

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 experiencing everything that this iconic city has to offer.

Arrival and orientation

The program orientation begins every Monday. Volunteers need to arrive in New Orleans on the Sunday before orientation day.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport (MSY) in New Orleans. You’ll 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. Pickups are made between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM on Sunday, and volunteers must arrive during this period. If you are due to arrive after 8:00 PM, you will need to find your own way to the accommodation.

Orientation is hosted by our New Orleans team at a venue near the accommodation. Orientation begins on the morning of your chosen start date and runs all day. It covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in New Orleans. It includes an introduction to New Orleans, reflection on the importance of volunteering, code of conduct and expectations, transportation and safety instructions, and an overview of the week. Volunteers travel to the volunteer project sites and take a tour of the historic French Quarter. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

Volunteer schedule example

First day

Your first day of volunteering in the USA is taken up by a program orientation, which includes a visit to your project placement to meet the staff you’ll be working with.


Volunteer schedules vary based on the organization you’re placed with and the time of year. A typical volunteer day may look like:

8:00 - 9:00 AM Travel to placement to join local placement staff and begin work on your project.
12:00 - 1:00 PM Lunch break. In New Orleans, a lunch break typically lasts for about an hour, but the timing and length will ultimately depend on the organization that you’re volunteering with.
1:00 - 5:00 PM Work at the project typically ends between these times. Use your free time to either travel back home, sightsee or do some shopping.
Evenings: Free to use as you wish. Most volunteers head out together to get dinner and enjoy the city.


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 influences have made this resilient American city a unique place to visit today. Start by exploring the French Quarter, the oldest neighborhood in New Orleans, famous for its grand architecture and lively street life. Discover Treme, the city’s brass band powerhouse and cultural pulse. Make the most of Crescent Park which stretches 1.4 miles along the riverfront and enjoy the bike lanes which 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’.

Accommodation and WiFi

Volunteers are accommodated in a public hostel in a recently renovated historic building. The hostel is located close to the historic French Quarter, with easy access to live music, restaurants, shopping and food stores.

You should expect dormitory-style rooms. The dorms are mixed gender and you could share a room with up to 7 other volunteers. Gender segregated dorms may be available on request. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds with privacy curtains, personal charging outlets and lockers. Sheets and towels are provided and air conditioning is available.

The accommodation has a guest kitchen, laundry, game room and an on-site bar and cafe.

The accommodation is equipped with WiFi for you to use. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to access the internet.

The accommodation has shared bathroom facilities equipped with western toilets and showers. Cleaning staff clean the accommodation throughout the week. However, volunteers are required to do their own dishes and to keep their rooms tidy.

Private rooms, if desired, can be booked after you have registered for the program, subject to availability and an additional cost.


As one of the culinary capitals of the United States, you’ll quickly fall in love with the unique cuisine of New Orleans that reflects the city’s French, African and American roots.

A light breakfast is provided at the hostel however you will be responsible for your own lunches and dinners. A kitchen is available if you prefer to self-cater, and stores and restaurants are located nearby. With no shortage of delightful food options in New Orleans, you’re sure to find a wide range of food to suit your personal taste.

Volunteers are expected to do their own dishes after each meal so please be prepared and willing to do this.


  • USD

Spots are limited. For a Registration Fee of just US$329 (approximately $329) you secure your spot and unlock all our preparation and training tools.

You don't need to worry about paying your Program Fee until you get closer to your start date.

Program Fee
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
  • USD
1 week $635 Equivalent to $91/day
2 weeks $995 Equivalent to $71/day
3 weeks $1,360 Equivalent to $65/day
4 weeks $1,720 Equivalent to $61/day
5 weeks $2,085 Equivalent to $60/day
6 weeks $2,445 Equivalent to $58/day
8 weeks $3,120 Equivalent to $56/day
10 weeks $3,745 Equivalent to $54/day
12 weeks $4,420 Equivalent to $53/day
  • All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately $329) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services.
  • A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
  • Recommended spending money: Volunteers in New Orleans generally find US$300 - US$400 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as most meals, and local tours and activities.
  • Any cancellations or changes within 14 days of a volunteers start date is subject to a minimum 25% late change/cancellation fee
  • Airport pick-up
  • Accommodation
  • 24/7 in-country support
  • In-country program orientation
  • Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
  • Personalized preparation tools, guides and check lists
  • Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
  • Certificate of International Volunteer Service

Learn more about what's included in your IVHQ Registration Fee and Program Fee.

  • Lunch and Dinner
  • Transport to and from your placement each day
  • Flights
  • Visa (if required), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check.
  • Personal spending money for snacks, laundry, public transportation, drinks and leisure activities during your free time.

Check what's required to visit the United States

Safety and support

Safety and support with IVHQ

Safety and support

IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.

  • All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
  • All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
  • All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
  • All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Learn more about IVHQ's safety

Essential country information

Essential city information

City New Orleans
Population 1.26 Million
Languages English
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).

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How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the Registration Fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
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