Here’s where the real work begins. Five days a week you will cook meals for people with HIV/AIDS, grow food with kids in the community garden, build tiny houses in villages of unhoused Portlanders. We match your passions and commitments to the needs of Portland’s grassroots organizations, so that you and the community can thrive. Your hands may get dirty, you may go home each day covered in bits of compost or eraser shavings. But you’ll go home knowing you did real work supporting people who are working to make their lives better.

Housing & Homelessness

Lots of agencies acknowledge housing is the foundation for success. Take it from Erik, Tivnu’s Construction Coach: we know foundations!

Habitat for Humanity

Build foundations, walls, and roofs with Habitat for Humanity. Solutions to families’ housing struggles will literally take shape around you as you work alongside the future homeowners. Our Construction Trainer Erik will show you the house-building skills you’ll need to assemble single-family homes for first-time owners. Families will contribute “sweat equity.” You’ll get your own dividend: confidence, resolve, and determination.

Hazelnut Grove

At Portland’s Hazelnut Grove encampment of formerly homeless people, a tiny house isn’t just a novelty you might pop in your backyard. It’s 8’x8’ of autonomy, independence, and integration into the social and economic life of their intentional community. Tivnu participants – first-time builders, mostly — lay the floors, raise the walls, and install the roofs to help residents transition to a more settled, productive life. And solar paneling, shower facilities, and communal spaces? We make those, too. Hazelnut Grove houses might be tiny, but ask our friends there. They’re immeasurable.


Having the time to sit down at the breakfast table is easy for some families. But if you don’t know if you’ll be able to afford breakfast tomorrow, and don’t know where that table might be, it’s hard to imagine life ever taking a turn for the better. Tivnu interns make breakfast at Portland Homeless Family Solutions , and then they make it possible for whole families to rise up to meet the day. PHFS ’s day and overnight shelters help 150 homeless families each year with life skills training, parenting classes, and tenant education; Tivnu interns specialize in working with kids while parents learn. But first they have to clean up from breakfast.

Street Roots

Street Roots isn’t just the best street paper in the country, with exceptional coverage of the issues critical to struggling Portlanders. It isn’t just the network of 160+ vendors, generating income with each paper they re-sell, and lending a
stable, professional face to a community many find foreign or frightening. It’s also the only paper with Tivnu interns helping edit the paper, arrange in-kind donations to support the vendor team, and facilitating poetry-writing workshops to fill the pages every week. Street Roots has a special place in Portland’s network of social services (oh yeah — they also produce a comprehensive guide to Portland’s social services!), and Tivnu volunteers’ hard work gives them a special place helping those who cannot afford free speech.

Food & Food Justice

Food is what fills your belly. Food justice is how a society fulfills its ideals. You can help with both.

Sisters of the Road

Cook the food, serve the meals, and help keep the business – and community – running at Sisters of the Road. Portland has a great café scene: you can get vegan cuisine served in a yoga studio, or a scoop of dill pickle sorbet. But there’s only one Sisters, where the homeless and working poor contribute their time in exchange for a meal that adds healthy food to their diet and dignity to their day.

Urban Gleaners

There’s a harvest that happens every day in Portland, all year round. Not just at Oregon’s farms and dairies, but at restaurants, markets, bakeries, and cafés – who all end the day with unsalable but still edible surplus food. Tivnu interns work with Urban Gleaners to marshal small resources for big impact. Taking in food and preparing it for redistribution to schools, shelters, and low-income housing won’t solve the whole food insecurity puzzle for hungry Portlanders, but ever since the Hebrew Bible we have known that there is no solution without it.

Outgrowing Hunger

At Outgrowing Hunger, Zenger Farm, or Learning Gardens Laboratory, you don’t just see the roots of the problems of hunger, health, and food insecurity – you see the roots of the solutions. And we’re not just talking about metaphorical roots here: if you intern at OH or Zenger or LGL, you’ll make sure those actual roots are taking hold in the compost system you built. You’ll teach school kids how to keep the plants thriving. And you’ll help get the crops they raised home to hungry families and communities that need them.

Labor, Immigration, & Advocacy

Ready to help make lasting change? Get to work with immigrants, workers, and other Portlanders overcoming the odds.

Jobs with Justice and NW Workers’ Justice Project

Communities come together with a common factor – it could be a neighborhood, a religion, an ethnicity. If you intern with Portland Jobs with Justice or the Northwest Workers’ Justice Project, you’ll be building community through the kind of coalitions that organize rallies, mobilize picket lines, educate about civil rights, and advocate on the street and in the courtroom. What does it take to bring together over 100 labor organizations and community groups, and build a society based on economic justice? Hard-working Tivnu interns find out while playing a part.


When a new immigrant is looking for work opportunities, they turn to the day laborer center at VOZ, the Workers’ Rights Education Project. When you intern here, you and VOZ will build relationships that empower day laborers and immigrants to improve their working conditions and protect civil rights through leadership development, organizing, education, and opportunity. It’s worker-led, education-focused, and a path to long-term employment that many laborers need and Tivnu interns can support. At VOZ, laborers sign in for an upcoming job. As a Tivnu intern, you’ll sign in to work for justice every day.

Criminal Justice Reform Clinic

When a low-level conviction follows a person around for years, keeping them from getting the kind of job that can support their family, the most important call they can make is to the Criminal Justice Reform Clinic. You might be the person who answers that call, as a Tivnu volunteer. You might accompany an attorney to court for a hearing on clemency, parole, or immigration status. And the files you review might be part of a case for systemic change, demonstrated by the kind of data an individual attorney could never collect, but Lewis & Clark Law School’s CJRC can. It’s a chance to work on justice for one individual at a time, and just as much, to work for justice one society at a time, too.

Education, Literacy, & Culture

School is about so much more than facts and tests. Help make education matter in the classroom and beyond.

Portland Youthbuilders

Put yourself back in the classroom as a tutor at Portland YouthBuilders, helping nontraditional learners focus on the skills they need to get good jobs, face the world with confidence, and lead successful lives. You’ll help PYB students develop academic, vocational, communication, and leadership skills. Portland YouthBuilders supports young people through meaningful long-term connections, and that goes for Tivnu volunteers as well.

Boise Eliot Humboldt School

What stands out most from an internship at one of Portland’s under-resourced but nonetheless thriving public elementary schools: was it the first day of class, when little faces call you “Ms. ____” for the very first time? Or was it the last day of school, when they hand you their homemade thank-you poster — colorful, heartfelt, and slightly mis-spelled? Something happens in between, for Tivnu volunteers at schools that need your help. During the year “something” might be assistance with reading or integrating technology with the education program. A lot of it will be showing young kids how to grow up to be the kind of person who cares about education, compassion, and responsibility. Tivnu values, every one.

Outside the Frame

“Lights! Camera! (Social) Action!” What does it take for a young person living on the streets to find their voice, to tell their story? It takes an organization like Outside the Frame, where Tivnu volunteers help with production, outreach, and publicity for screenings and discussions of OTF documentaries and short films. Because OTF and Tivnu both know: if you can direct a film, you can direct your life.

The Environment & Environmental Justice

Preserving Portland and the Pacific Northwest – it’s not only politics, it’s in our nature.

Rebuilding Center

Recycling is great. Our partners at the ReBuilding Center show what you can do when you take it one step further. By processing, selling, and supporting the use of salvaged and reclaimed materials, the RC strengthens the environmental, economic, and social fabric of local communities. From de-nailing boards to helping contractors find sustainable resources, Tivnu interns help make it happen.

Columbia Slough Watershed Council

Portland is shaped by the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers, but urban life in the city owes just as much of its identity to the sloughs and watersheds that flow through town. Tivnu interns at Columbia Slough Watershed Council take on restoration and stewardship of the river ecosystem with hands-on environmental science and community engagement. In one week you might gather data about conditions in the creek, conduct wildlife surveys, or put on restoration events to remove invasive plants and install native riparian vegetation.


Strengthening a working-class community and protecting the environment go hand-in-hand at Verde, where you might volunteer with a pioneering green landscaping program and help develop community projects. Tivnu workers might set up the classes on sustainable stormwater management, and the next day, swing a shovel to help with the local habitat restoration practicum. The next week it’ll be time to make calls for the training seminar on environmental and community advocacy, bringing heathy change to one of Portland’s struggling neighborhoods. With Verde and Tivnu, sometimes getting grassroots community to grow starts with getting native plants’ roots to grow.

Women’s, Gender & LGBTQ Issues

From a kindness at Our House to advocacy in the statehouse – help make Portland a welcoming place for all genders and sexual orientations.

Rose Haven

Trauma, abuse, and disruption of home life always threaten the course of a person’s life, but they don’t have to define it. Rose Haven is Portland’s home for support and services to help women and children regain stability in their lives. Rose Haven staff and Tivnu interns open the doors every day to welcome any woman who needs help, with legal advocacy, medical needs, resumé clinics, and more. Art workshops to help nourish the spirit of a scared kid or tired mom (or pet turtle!)? Tivnu interns do that too.

Q Center

Community doesn’t happen by accident — and neither do community centers. The Northwest’s largest LGBTQ center is also a place where community gets built one relationship at a time. And so when a member or a newcomer walks in the door, it’s especially important to see someone — a Tivnu volunteer, in fact — who is welcoming, enthusiastic, and can connect clients with the Q Center’s community resources, affinity groups, and social network. It’s how the Q Center and Tivnu make lasting impacts in the lives of everyone they serve, while creating valuable bonds with each other.

Our House

Care for people with HIV/AIDS has changed a lot since Our House Portland opened its doors in the bleak days of 1998. There are still Portlanders — like the 14 houseless or otherwise low-income residents — whose independence and accomplishments rely on the services and support they find at Our House. Tivnu participants join the team of volunteers who are available for a conversation, for help connecting with nursing and medical services, and sometime, just frying up breakfast. Each year, 700 residents and clients find that the compassion, collaboration, and respect that inspire Our House and Tivnu volunteers make life supported, independent, and lived well.



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