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For Volunteers

It’s easy to make a difference. Inspiring Minds will train you and match you with students who need your help.

For Volunteers

It’s easy to make a difference. Inspiring Minds will train you and match you with students who need your help.

It’s easy to make a difference.

Whether you want to help a young preschooler to identify their name or a 4th grader decode literature, or to just be a positive role model in a child’s life, Inspiring Minds will train you and match you with students who need your help. Our services are offered to Providence public school students at no cost to them or their families.

The application process to become a volunteer is straightforward; simply apply via our online volunteer management system, GivePulse. Start your application today.

  • Upon receipt of your online application, we will review and contact you to register for an orientation session.
  • Orientation sessions are 2 hours at which time you must present a photo ID.
  • After clearing a standard background and reference checks, we’ll notify you about your placement. Please review our fact sheet about background checks prior to your orientation session. You do not need to have the background check to attend orientation.
For Community Groups or Businesses

Community Groups or businesses are welcomed to volunteer weekly on the same day at the same time mentoring students one-on-one in our Power Lunch program. We match new groups with kindergartners so that they can sustain their relationship through their elementary years. Contact us today to schedule a brown-bag lunch presentation for your colleagues or community group.

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For College Students
College students who wish to tutor/mentor for experience or for credit or to satisfy a course requirement are welcome!
Please note: Inspiring Minds does not supervise student teaching or clinical social work practicum.

We also connect with on-campus clubs and organizations; please reach out if your club would like to become involved in some way.

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OFF CAMPUS WORK STUDY
Inspiring Minds is an Off Campus Federal Work Study site for Providence College, University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Brown University, and the Community College of Rhode Island.

INTERNSHIPS
Inspiring Minds occasionally posts internship opportunities. Please check our careers page for current openings. We will also consider internship proposals. Please review our proposal guidance on the career page.

Careers page

EXPLORERS PROGRAM
A paid internship for multilingual and multiethnic young adults ages 16-24 to gain experience on their journey to becoming teachers in Providence.

For Parents

Parents wishing to volunteer in their child’s classroom or to volunteer for field trips and/or special events, should contact the Family and Community Engagement Office at Providence Public Schools. 401-456-0186

Fact Sheet

How to obtain your BCI

All volunteers must complete the Rhode Island BCI background check annually. There are three* ways to apply for a BCI: In Person with the Attorney General, by mail through the Attorney General, or through Inspiring Minds.

1. You can apply in person at the Attorney General’s Office in Cranston. Appear at the BCI window with a valid form of identification and payment. Examples of acceptable identification include:

  • Valid state issued driver’s license
  • Valid state issued identification card
  • Valid United States passport

Address:
BCI Customer Service Center
4 Howard Avenue (Pastore Complex) Cranston, RI
401-274-4400
Hours of Operation Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
(Fingerprint process stops at 4:00 p.m.) No Holidays

Applicable transactions include in-person requests for state and national background checks, as well as security guard licenses and precious metal and pawn dealer applications. The cost for a state background check, or BCI as it is referred to, is $5.00. Forms of payment include check, money order, or credit cards (cash not accepted). Please make check out to “BCI.” Please note: a processing fee of two percent plus 50 cents will be charged per credit card transaction.

2. You can apply by mail, directly to the Attorney General. Please allow seven (7) business days for return. It will get done quicker than in person.

  • Download and complete the BCI form and have it notarized.
  • Attach a copy of a valid form of photo identification. Examples of acceptable identification include:
        • Valid state issued driver’s license***Front and Back of Driver’s license
        • Valid state issued identification card
        • Valid United States passport
  • Enclose a check or money order for $5.00 per state background check, payable to “BCI.” Credit cards and cash not accepted by mail.
  • Enclose a self-addressed, stamped envelope addressed to:
    Inspiring Minds
    190 Broad Street 2nd Floor.
    Providence, RI 02903

3. You can have Inspiring Minds complete your background check.

  • Call to make an appointment.
  • On the day of your appointment, please wear a mask, bring your ID and $10.00 fee (cash, credit, or
    check).
  • Valid forms of photo identification (Once we have your ID we will upload it to GivePulse):
      • Valid state issued driver’s license (front and back)
      • Valid state issued identification card
      • Valid United States passport

4. Some local police departments also offer this service. You can check with your city or town’s police department.

Volunteer FAQ

What exactly do Inspiring Minds’ volunteers do?

Our in-school and virtual volunteers tutor and mentor a Providence public school student one-on-one or in small groups of no more than 4 at a time. Inspiring Minds views tutoring and mentoring as complementary. Our volunteer tutor/mentors strive to help students unlock their potential as an “independent learner.” Volunteers tutor in the relevant skills and subject matter, but also work to increase students’ learning abilities to meet future challenges – part of this is confidence-building and encouragement! Tutors receive guidance and instructions from the classroom teacher and Inspiring Minds and are never expected to teach new material. Often, our volunteers help students by asking relevant questions, providing encouragement, and keeping students focused on their everyday tasks.

How can I sign up?

Click here to learn about GivePulse our online volunteer management system and apply today. If you need help, or have questions, give us a call at 401-274-3240 or come by our office at 190 Broad Street. 2nd Floor, Providence, RI 02903.

Do I need to have a background check in Rhode Island?

Yes. There are three ways you can get the required background check: In Person at the Attorney General’s Office in Cranston, by mail, or at Inspiring Minds. Please see our fact sheet that explains all of the options and fees.

What if I have no previous training or experience?

That’s okay! We will train you! All volunteers receive an initial orientation and relevant trainings are made available to those who are interested. Tutors receive tailored activities from teachers/coaches for each student they work with and our staff and volunteer coordinators are always available to provide support.

How often can I volunteer?

The minimum commitment we ask for is one hour a week, but you are welcome to volunteer as much time as you can give.

What age group can I tutor/mentor?

Inspiring Minds is focused on Providence’s youngest learners, grades PreK-3. We also serve students at select schools in grades 3-8. Please see our school list here. If you are interested in tutoring in a school we are not serving, please contact the Providence Public School’s Family and Community Engagement Office at (401) 456-0686 or by e-mail: face@ppsd.org.

Does having a mentor or a tutor really make a difference?

YES! Students who have Inspiring Minds mentors or tutors often show improvement in whatever academic area they are being tutored in, as well as significant gains in positive behaviors and self-esteem. 76% of teachers report that they see behavior change in students within a few weeks.