Department for Persons with Disabilities
A Catholic Charities Agency in the Diocese of Paterson
Providing Help...Creating Hope
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Volunteer Opportunities

"PEOPLE NEED FRIENDS" is a volunteer program that started over 20 years ago to provide friendship to adults with developmental disabilities, many of whom had no families. Today DPD has over 100 active volunteers and has several components, but no matter what the capacity, all of our volunteers add so much to the DPD and to their friend's lives.

How can you help?

Become an individual volunteer - Many volunteers are matched with an individual friend and they do things together such as go to Mass, go out to eat, movies, shopping, sporting events, exercise, all the things that all friends enjoy doing together. Some go to family events, go home with them for holidays or maybe just for a day for dinner. Some see their friend once a week and some once a month. That is entirely up to you and what you are comfortable with.

Become a general volunteer - General volunteers are general friends that come to one of our many programs for cooking, crafts, games, sing-a-longs, Bible discussions, or other activities or talents you can share which would be enjoyed by several people or all in the home.

Run a class for several programs – We have several volunteers that run a general program once a month for a few people from several homes. Classes have been in yoga, exercise, art class, cooking club, craft day and many others.

C.A.R.E volunteer - Another group of our volunteers are for young adults who need to participate in a confirmation project or school service project. Students assist with setup and cleanup of our C.A.R.E. program which runs the second Monday of the month. C.A.R.E or Catholic Adult Religious Education is program of spirituality.

Gruenert Center volunteers – Gruenert Center is a workshop servicing 55 adults with developmental disabilities in Lake Hopatcong NJ. Volunteers can assist in many ways running craft projects, assisting with ceramics, general maintenance or just coming and being a friend. Gruenert Center operated Monday through Friday from 10AM to 4:00PM.

Pet Therapy volunteers – If you have a service dog, there is no better way to serve than brightening the day of one of our group home residents with a visit from your special friend. All pets me be certified pet therapy dogs, (our doggy background check).

Saturday at the Center volunteer – Saturday at the Center is a twelve week program running in the spring and the fall that gives young adults aging out of the school system an opportunity to meet, socialize and have some fun. DPD is always looking for volunteers to assist in this program and is the perfect opportunity for young adults to help in a structured setting.

Girl Scout volunteers – Many girl scouts have completed their Silver Award by doing a special project or event for the people we serve in our programs. One of our best events was a country line dancing event where all of our residents got t shirts and an evening of country dancing and entertainment.

Boy Scouts – Eagle Scouts – DPD has its own boy scout troop #1968. Any boy scouts wishing to do special events with DPD we are always open. DPD has also had an Eagle Scout Project here on our property for the past Twenty years. They have been a tremendous help.

What to do Next!

If you are interested in becoming part of the “People Need Friends” program and have time and or talent to share, there are many ways to get in touch with us.

Call (973) 406-1103 or
Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

We look forward to having you join the DPD Family!

Click on the link below to download the application today!

All of our volunteers must go through a thorough background check and training when working as an individual volunteer.


Click here to download the Volunteer Application

Click here to view our opportunies on