Be a part of The SMYAL Volunteer crew!


SMYAL supports and empowers lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in the Washington, DC metropolitan region. Through youth leadership, SMYAL creates opportunities for LGBTQ youth to build self-confidence, develop critical life skills, and engage their peers and community through service and advocacy. Committed to social change, SMYAL builds, sustains, and advocates for programs, policies, and services that LGBTQ youth need as they grow into adulthood.


Open Mic Night

Many of our youth come to SMYAL looking for a safe space to talk openly about the issues they face every day due to their sexual orientation and gender identity, in addition to the issues facing all adolescents growing up in the DC metro region. Our open mic night gives youth the opportunity to come together to share and process their experiences, as well as the opportunity to celebrate each other's creativity.  

This volunteer will co-facilitate a weekly Open Mic for LGBTQ youth and their allies. The volunteer will work with SMYAL staff  to coordinate the event, suggest topics, uphold ground rules, as well as create an atmosphere of honesty and openness. Open Mic Night  is held every Wednesday 5:00-7:00PM, and volunteers are asked to dedicate another 10-15 minutes before and after the Open Mic Night for set-up and cleanup.

Fight 4 Yr Rights Activist Night

The mission of SMYAL's Fight 4 Yr Rights Activist Night is to create a safe space for LGBTQ youth to come together and discuss historical activist movements, contemporary issues that the youth face in their daily lives, and what activism truly is.  Youth will be given the opportunity to begin organizing on their own surrounding an issue they identify as important to them.  This Activist Night will hold meetings weekly on Thursdays from 5:00pm to 7:00pm

This is a great opportunity for an individual who wants to support the development of young people and inspire them to effect change through organizing and activism.  The volunteer will co-facilitate weekly, will coordinate the meeting space,  suggest topics, uphold ground rules, and maintain an atmosphere of optimism and drive.  Volunteers are asked to dedicate another 10-15 minutes before and after the Activist Night for set-up and cleanup.

Friday Rec Nights

Providing LGBTQ youth with a space in which they can be themselves in a supportive and safe environment is one of the cornerstones of our work, and recreational nights are when we have the most fun! From dances to spoken word readings to movie nights, we offer youth a structured, fun activity every Friday night. Rec Nights are most Fridays from 5-7PM. Occasionally there are special events such as dances that will take place at a different time.

This volunteer will work with the SMYAL staff to set-up the space for the event, including anything from setting up the projector to putting out snacks. You will help answer the door and welcome youth to the space, along with participating in the programming. After youth leave, volunteers are asked to help clean up the space. Volunteers are asked to dedicate 3-4 hours per week to this program.  Experience working with youth ages 13-21 is a strong plus.

Transgender and Non-Binary

The mission of SMYAL's Transgender and Non-Binary group is to create a safe space for transgender and gender non-conforming young people. This group aims to build community and connect youth with resources in the DC Metro area. Transformers will have the chance to participate in leadership and learning opportunities (Museums, shows, poetry, movies, ect...). Youth will also be able to take ownership of group by facilitating discussions on topics that interest them. This group will meet on Tuesdays from 5-7 PM.

This is a great opportunity for an individual who is looking to support Transgender and Gender Non-conforming youth. An ideal candidate would have experience working with youth as well as working knowledge of terms and definitions relevant to the trans community. Volunteers must be available during scheduled program meeting hours as well as an additional 15-20 minutes before and after each meeting for setup and cleanup. Transgender and gender non-conforming people are strongly encouraged to apply for this opportunity.

Peer Education Program

SMYAL's Peer Education Program offers comprehensive and culturally competent programming around  safer sex, HIV/STI prevention and overall healthy lifestyles to youth. This program creates leadership opportunities for youth to learn and teach their peers about how to maintain healthy lifestyles and practices. Youth will be able to lead workshops in their schools, plan events and lead discussions. Youth will also do outreach in the community, passing out condoms and referring peers to HIV/STI testing.

This is a great opportunity for an individual with teen health and wellness or sex education experience to get involved in working with LGBTQ youth. This volunteer will work with the Peer Education Coordinator at SMYAL to support weekly Peer Education meetings and supervise outreach events when possible. Duties will include co-facilitation during meetings,  guiding youth in developing educational workshops, and connecting with local schools and organizations who would like to work with our program. The volunteer must be available during the scheduled Peer Education Program hours which run monthly on Sundays.

Volunteer Coordinator

SMYAL would not be possible without the support from our incredible volunteer network. As SMYAL grows we would love to have a volunteer dedicated to volunteer recruitment, coordination, and retention. As a volunteer yourself, you would be in a unique position to shape outreach in a way that resonates with fellow volunteers and guarantees their experience is a rewarding one.  

We are looking for someone who can dedicate approximately 2 hours a week to respond to prospective volunteer inquiries. In addition, you will be responsible for following up with trained volunteers to ensure we have volunteer support at our weekly programs. This volunteer would also help plan and schedule future volunteer trainings. Additionally, this person would collaborate with other volunteers to organize volunteer social events.

Administrative Help

As a small non-profit there's always projects we need help with around the office. This position is great for people who cannot commit to a regular schedule, but still want to be involved. Administrative volunteers would be welcome to help once a week or once a month, depending on their schedule and the amount of help needed by SMYAL. This volunteer would assist with everything from large-scale mailings to database entry to sorting donated items like books (plus more!)

Special Events

Being a special event volunteer is a great opportunity to be involved with SMYAL even with a busy schedule! This is best for individuals who are unable to commit to a weekly schedule but would still like to help create dynamic, special events for local LGBTQ youth.  However, please be aware that many of these types of events fall on Friday evenings and weekends.



  • Professional experience in youth work strongly preferred.

  • Experience in volunteering or working in a non-profit organization preferred

  • Strong communication skills.

  • Must be able to work with a diverse team in regard to race, culture, sexuality and gender identity & expression.

  • Volunteer must complete local and federal background checks.

  • Must be able to commit to volunteering opportunity you are selected for.

  • Not necessary, but LGBTQ individuals, women, and people of color are strongly encouraged to apply.


1.) Please complete a volunteer questionnaire by Monday, November 1st. You may also email a resume to Resumes are not required.

2.) Complete an online assessment to gauge your level of knowledge with LGBTQ issues.

3.) If selected to volunteer you will then complete a local and federal background check. We will send you information on how to complete this.

4.) If selected to volunteer and your background check has no history that would disqualify you, you must attend a training on November 23rd or December 3rd from 6-9:00pm.

No phone calls, please. If you would like to apply by paper, please email Thank you!

Interested in volunteering? Please contact Heath Naylor at