A quick look at volunteering in the USA…
- Volunteer trips in USA are available year-round with two start dates every month
- 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 5 and 10 volunteers start in New Orleans each month
- Program fees from US$520 for 1 week (approximately £400)
- 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 on the first and third Monday of every month. 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 sustainability is one of the greatest challenges facing New Orleans - from rising sea levels and sinking wetlands, to bayous and natural disasters, the future of the city is dependent on responding and adapting to climate change. As a sustainability and conservation volunteer in the USA, you will be on the front line of supporting community development initiatives to help the city of New Orleans meet its long-term sustainability goals.
This project is perfect for volunteers who want to make an active contribution to important sustainability activities within the USA, while also gaining valuable learning opportunities which can be transferred back to your home community. If you love the outdoors, are passionate about conservation, and enjoy physical work, this is an awesome opportunity to get out in the community and make a difference for the future of New Orleans.
Local community partners are working to change the environmental landscape of New Orleans in many different ways, with a focus on working with nature, instead of against it. Think community gardens and urban farms, to various recycling initiatives. Depending on the need at the time, you might find yourself volunteering on an initiative supporting the city’s green infrastructure by helping with the upkeep of bioswales throughout New Orleans, weeding and planting at urban gardens, assisting in recycling efforts to keep building materials out of landfills, or supporting organisations through different projects that promote environmental education.
You are not required to have any previous experience to participate on this project, as our local team will ensure that you are well directed and supported to complete the volunteer work at hand. We do recommend that you note any generals skills, limitations, or interests you might have on your application to ensure that you are assisted to make the best difference you can within the Environmental Sustainability project.
As a volunteer on the Homeless Support project in the United States, you will be assisting the city of New Orleans in combating community deterioration and homelessness. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the homeless population grew by 70%. In the years since this natural disaster, the city has made strides towards reducing homelessness but it remains a key issue for the city, with low income communities especially at risk in light of gentrification and the rising cost of rent.
There are a number of organisations in New Orleans who are dedicated to supporting the homeless population and low income communities, by providing help through local homeless shelters or through other community outreach initiatives. On the Homeless Support project, you will play an important role in strengthening and supporting these organisations.
This project is ideal for volunteers looking for an opportunity to provide hands-on support to communities with significant need in New Orleans. This is an immersive project where you will have the opportunity to work closely alongside local community members who come from various backgrounds and have inspiring stories to share with you.
As a volunteer on the Homeless Support project, there are multiple ways that you might help support the local organisations we work with. You will be involved in a range activities from manual labour to assisting them with administrative tasks. In addition to this, your role may include beautification of the homeless shelter, community outreach, food preparation and the organisation of facilities for the local organisation.
You are not required to have any previous experience for this project, but to ensure that both you and the community get the most out of the experience, we recommend you note any generals skills, limitations, or interests you might have in your application to volunteer on the Homeless Support project. This will help us, and the local team in New Orleans, to ensure that you are well directed and supported in making a difference within the community.
New Orleans is a city known for its many unique and vibrant neighbourhoods. Neighbourhoods that have a diverse history, culture, strengths, and challenges. Multiple organisations throughout the city are dedicated to addressing these challenges and improving the quality of life for those residents who live in low-income neighbourhoods. The goal of the Neighbourhood Revitalization project is to support the continued community rebuilding efforts of these local organisations and gain a better understanding of these dynamic communities that help to make New Orleans the city it is.
This project is ideal for volunteers who want to support low-income communities, are willing to work hard, and who want to provide hands-on support wherever help is most needed. If this sounds like you, then your time on the Neighborhood Revitalization project will be incredibly rewarding for both you and the communities of New Orleans.
There are a wide range of initiatives and types of volunteer activities that you could be a part of, as there are many organisations that provide community support and revitalization in a number of ways. You might work with an organisation dedicated to clearing storm drains that would otherwise flood communities, or work with an organisation that’s dedicated to recycling materials from all over New Orleans preventing usable goods from ending up in landfill and putting affordable materials back into the market for the community to use. You might assist an urban garden that brings the community together with weeding and planting, or support community centers with various beautification tasks. The projects are wide ranging but in general volunteers need to be physically fit to participate in light-to-heavy manual activities.
Please note any generals skills, limitations, or interests you might have in your application to volunteer on the Neighbourhood Revitalization project to ensure that you are well directed and supported in making a positive difference.
Arts and Culture Preservation
If you head to downtown New Orleans, you’ll be immersed in a cacophony of music, art, and self expression. It’s a city known for its culture. However, underneath all the glitz and glamor of downtown New Orleans, there are cultural and artistic traditions that are being threatened. This is in large part due to the commercialization and gentrification of low-income communities and neighbourhoods that are the birthplaces of the majority of cultural expressions New Orleans is known for. In addition to this, kids from low-income communities are often deprived of independent creative outlets, especially in their schools which have less of a focus on fostering creativity through the arts.
If you’re someone who appreciates culture and believes in the power of art as a means of community development, this project will be a perfect fit for you. The Arts and Culture Preservation project aims to help organisations in New Orleans that are dedicated to promoting and preserving the arts and culture of the city through community outreach and providing safe spaces where children and adults can express themselves and learn.
As a volunteer on this project, you’ll have the unique opportunity to support the culture and people that are at of the very heart of what makes New Orleans different from any other city in the United States.
There are many different ways that you may support these organisations - local initiatives need help with the beautification of their facilities or art installments, and support with after school art programs. There are also environmental organisations that like to promote art through the creative reuse of materials. Keep in mind that because art is prevalent in the wider New Orleans community, this initiative is continually changing but always rewarding.
You are not required to have any previous experience for this project, but additional documentation may be required for those interested in volunteering on the afterschool program.
The program orientation begins on the first and third Monday of every month and volunteers need to arrive in to 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 member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation.
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.
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 can accommodate over 100 volunteers and you should expect to share a room with up to 30 other volunteers. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds with bedding and towels provided. All rooms are equipped with a fan and have a shared bathroom equipped with western toilets and showers. There is staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week, however, we ask volunteers to keep their rooms tidy.
The accommodation has a basketball court, a volleyball net, a large outdoor field for games, indoor games available, 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 on Monday to Thursday. Breakfast and lunch is provided from Monday to Saturday (with a light breakfast service on Saturday) and dinner is provided on Sunday to Friday.
Breakfast is always hot, 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. Packed lunches are provided at breakfast from Monday to Saturday. This will commonly be ‘make-your-own’ sandwiches with a selection of smaller snacks, and fresh fruit.
Dinner is served from Monday to Friday and will feature a wide range of American, Southern and New Orleans cuisine. The menu will vary from week to week and you can expect to see some spaghetti or parmesan-type dishes, tacos or hot dogs, or your traditional New Orleans meal, such as jambalaya or gumbo.
All meals are prepared by the local staff and volunteers are asked to provide some help with cleaning up the dining hall after each meal.
USA - New Orleans
|Length of program||Program Fee $USD|
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of 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 convert these prices to your local currency click here.
- * 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
- Dedicated support from a volunteer expert
- Complete MyIVHQ account access
- Online volunteer training
- Comprehensive program guide
- Deals on flights and travel insurance
- IVHQ alumni membership
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, unless volunteering with a parent or guardian. 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.