Be the Change You Wish to See

Community Service

A full understanding of the world and a spirit of openness yield a call to service and action in communities at every level.

The university encourages students to become involved in community service as part of our mission to promote responsible leadership for service in the world.

The benefits of community service and service learning—a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with classroom instruction and reflection—enriches the learning experience, teaches civic responsibility and strengthens communities.

Service Opportunities

Community service empowers you to maximize your potential and achieve hands-on experience in your pursuit of a meaningful and purposeful life.

On-Campus Service Opportunities

  • Hands on Hickory

    Hands on Hickory is LR’s flagship service project that was established more than a decade ago. The program exposes and engages new students in a community service experience as soon as they arrive on campus.

    As part of the student orientation program, all incoming first-year students participate in community-wide service projects. Small groups of 10-15 students are assigned a non-profit organization where they spend a full morning learning about the work of the organization and then participate in a service activity that benefits each organization.

  • Student-Athletes Give Back

    The university takes pride in developing our student-athletes into lifelong leaders in the community.

    The athletics department provides many different forms of service and community engagement within the local area as part of student-athlete development, while also serving as role models and strong ambassadors for the university.

    Prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, Lenoir-Rhyne out of 316 NCAA Division II schools contributing more than 6,000 hours of community service across 22 sport.

    In all, LR student-athletes had 289 total community service opportunities, touching 82 different organizations in the Hickory community and beyond. This marked the second consecutive academic year where student-athletes contributed more than 6,000 hours of community service.

Community Organizations & Opportunities

  • Adult Life Programs

    provides support, respite and education to caregivers and affordable, quality day and treatment services enabling adults to remain in their communities. There are unlimited volunteer opportunities available with the program.

  • ALFA-AIDS Leadership Foothill Alliance

    An organization dedicated to improving the lives and health of those affected by HIV/AIDS while preventing transmission through education and testing. Volunteers can help through client services, event planning, office work and other opportunities.

  • Alzheimer's Association

    The leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research, volunteers can serve as advocates, walk-in events and help with the encouragement of clinical trials.

  • Carolina Caring

    provides end-of-life care to its clients and serves as a source of compassion and understanding to families. Volunteer opportunities are available in office work, patient care, cooking, cleaning and the thrift shop.

  • Catawba County Public Health

    promotes, protects and improves the health of the community by assessing and responding to needs, assuring services, developing policies and fostering collaboration.

  • Catawba County United Way

    The work of is focused on the building blocks for a good life: Helping children and youth achieve their potential, promoting financial stability and independence and improving people’s health. There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for those who fill out the appropriate form.

  • Catawba Science Center

    The changes lives and inspires learning through science and wonder. Volunteers support the center as interpreters, working in the gift shop, being exhibit or program volunteers or caring for the animals.

  • Catawba Valley Humane Society

    The makes the community a better place by serving as an advocate for companion animals. Their vision for the future is that no adoptable animal will be euthanized in Catawba County, and that animal cruelty and inhumane treatment of animals will cease to exist. Volunteer opportunities abound for those interested in working with animals.

  • Catawba Valley Chapter American Red Cross

    The provides compassionate care to those in need. Their network of generous donors, volunteers and employees work to prevent and relieve suffering, here at home and around the world. Volunteer opportunities are available across the Carolinas.

  • Centro Latino

    Catawba County Hispanic Ministry () provides a Christian response to the needs of Latinos in the community and seeks to bridge the cultural gap between Spanish and non-Spanish speakers through outreach, advocacy and training. Volunteers can work with children, families and administrators to help serve community needs.

  • Children's Advocacy Center

    The of Catawba County works to build a community dedicated to the prevention of and the coordinated response to child abuse and neglect. Volunteer opportunities include gardening, landscaping, administrative tasks, painting and cleaning.

  • Community Blood Center of the Carolinas

    The is an independent, locally-managed, non-profit community blood center. They are the primary blood supplier to the region's patients and hospitals.

  • Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry

    serves all of eastern Catawba County, providing emergency financial assistance for mortgage and rent payments, assistance with utility bills, fuel oil and kerosene purchases and life-necessary pharmaceuticals. In addition, ECCCM provides emergency food and clothing to those in need.

  • Exodus Homes

    is a faith-based United Way agency that offers transitional and permanent supportive housing for homeless recovering addicts, alcoholics and formerly incarcerated people returning to the community from treatment programs and prison.

  • Family Guidance Center

    is a community agency that provides support to families and children in times of stress. Founded in 1958 as a counseling agency, it has evolved into a multi-service agency to meet the changing needs of families and our community. The agency provides a range of specialized services for individuals and families experiencing the negative effects of anxiety, depression, divorce, stress, financial problems, domestic violence, child abuse and other problems that threaten the stability of families.

  • Foothills Service Project

    is a non-profit Christian home repair ministry established for the purpose of assisting persons in Burke and surrounding counties to make houses dry, safe and warm.

  • Goodwill

    (LR Boulevard) works to enhance the dignity and quality of life of individuals and families by strengthening communities, eliminating barriers to opportunity and helping people in need reach their full potential through learning and the power of work.

  • Habitat for Humanity

    is a non-profit, Christian-based community organization dedicated to building, renovating, and repairing safe, decent, and affordable housing for hard-working, low-income families in our community. Volunteers can help with building and repairing homes for those in need or working in the ReStore.

  • Harper House / Hickory History Center

    welcomes visitors as a house museum, interpreting both Hickory history, through the numerous significant families who lived in the house, and Victorian life in the South circa 1887, the date of the house’s construction.

  • Hickory Community Theatre

    strives to bring a variety of productions to the Hickory community with the hope of providing an understanding of life through quality theatre.

  • Hickory Public Schools

    works with all schools within the Hickory area and supports students in grades K-12. Volunteers are needed in all respects to work in schools as tutors, test proctors and more.

  • Hickory Fire Department

    The works to prevent fires, save lives and property and protect the environment. Students can join the Citizen's Fire Academy to learn more about the fire department.

  • Hickory Museum of Art

    Showcasing art of many eras and styles, the is part of the SALT block and provides visitors opportunities to connect to the art world. Volunteer positions are available in all areas from education to office work.

  • Hickory Soup Kitchen

    The strives to bring meals to those in need as well as providing showering facilities, take-home groceries and other necessities.

  • Hickory Police Department

    The is committed to providing the highest quality of police service to the Hickory citizens and visitors.

  • Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries

    provides and coordinates services for the uninsured, people/families in crisis, those living in poverty or experiencing homelessness. Volunteers can work in a variety of locations, including the thrift store and medical clinic.

  • Kingston Residence of Hickory

    serves as an independent and assisted living residence, providing opportunities for nursing, rehabilitation and memory care to those who reside there.

  • March of Dimes

    The supports newborns who are born prematurely or with defects and helps provide care for families in need.

  • Safe Harbor Rescue Mission

    provides resources and support to women and families in crisis and helps clients with basic necessities of life in addition to helping victims of sex trafficking.

  • Sipes Orchard Home

    provides care for children of all ages, ranging from summer day camp to transitional living services for young adults.

  • Women's Resource Center

    provides aid to women in crisis and delivers services to help those in transition, escape from abuse or those struggling to find work or education. They also provide support groups for women in their program.