Call us : 518-272-2544

Volunteer categories

The Definition of a Volunteer “Any person who gives freely of their time, energy and skills for public benefit, without monetary compensation.” (from the Canadian Code for volunteer Involvement .)[]

US Department of Labor law “recognizes the generosity and public benefits of volunteering and allows individuals to freely volunteer in many circumstances for charitable and public purposes. Individuals may volunteer time to religious, charitable, civic, humanitarian, or similar non- profit organizations as a public service.” (Fact Sheet #14A: Non-Profit Organizations and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) [ )]”Department of Labor Fact Sheet #14A”) Additionally, volunteers are ”Individuals who volunteer or donate their services, usually on a part-time basis, for public service, religious or humanitarian objectives, not as employees and without contemplation of pay.” (


Internships, as defined below, are not part of the volunteer department. Labor law defines as an internship according to 7 criteria which you can read at this link: One clear indicator is this one: “#2. The internship provides training similar to what would be given in an educational environment.” Internships are handled by senior staff who take on a mentoring role in conjunction with the intern’s place of education. Joseph’s House accepts only one or two interns per year. Please contact the Director for Homelessness (518-272-2544) or the Director of Housing (518-874-1274) for information.

A useful chart to decide if you are asking about community service, service learning or internship hours is to look here:

Service Learning and Community Service or Volunteering required by educational facilities.

Schools may require a certain number of hours be volunteered in a local not-for-profit prior to graduation. It may be as little as one 5 hour shift or may be several hours per week for a semester or school year. Where internships aim to provide the participant with professional skills and require a heavy commitment of staff hours to achieve a certain level of competency and experience - the emphasis being on the intern’s development - service learning and community service have an emphasis on helping the agency while providing for the student for an opportunity to learn about the world. Service learning especially will usually ask the students to reflect on what they have seen, felt and learned. The emphasis for service learning is on good citizenship, social awareness and understanding more about complex social structures of society.

Please expect to spread out your volunteer time over the semester as by legal definition volunteerism can not be equal to a full time (40 hour per week) job.