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Finding Volunteer Opportunities
We would like to instill the value and fun of community service in
our family. We have four year old twins and would like to include
them in volunteerism this winter. Do you know of any volunteer
opportunities for our entire family?
If you can afford it, you might consider adopting a local
very-low-income family in need through Compass Community Services
(www.compass-sf.org). The organization can try to match you with a
family of specific genders/ages/#s of kids. It's not exactly an
''activity'' in the way you might have been thinking of, but your
twins might enjoy the process of shopping, choosing clothes/toys for
other kids, and thinking about what it means to not be able to buy
these things for themselves.
Have you tried calling your local senior center/ home care center?
Having children come through these facilities is like a breath of
fresh air. I have heard of small groups or classes go through with
magazines, songs or homemade treats (healthy of course) for the
Hi, I am a social worker (MSW) that is currently a stay at home
mom. My daughter is 10 mos old. While I am not ready to go back
to work yet, I was hoping to get involved in the community again
and do some volunteer work. I am looking for
recommendations/advice on places that are appropriate to volunteer
at with my daughter, as I dont have anyone that I can leave her
with at this time. Please let me know if you know of any
organizations in the East Bay (close to Emeryville) Thanks...
I'm the director at the Berkeley YMCA running all of the youth and family programs. I
wanted to let you know about a volunteering opportunity available to parents where they
can bring their children. We have many volunteers in our Childwatch room. Volunteers
work one 4 hour shift per week watching children in the Childwatch room along with the
paid staff. They read stories, feed and diaper little ones, play and provide
appropriate activities. This works to bring your child with you as long as your child
allows you to interact primarily with other children. There are lots of benefits to
doing this volunteer work, and if you are interested in hearing more about it, please
contact the volunteer coordinator. She can be reached at
510-665-3273. Good luck finding the right volunteering fit for
you and your family!
My moms club is looking for a group that would enjoy about 8-10
moms+kids volunteers near Valentines Day. We had signed up to
visit a nursing home, but they cancelled due to a virus that is
circulating. As such, we can't include any senior homes or
hospitals...and now we're looking for some other location that
might appreciate our volunteer efforts sometime in February. We
are trying to find something kid-friendly (ie. a local
firehouse in need of help? a library? other?). If anyone has
any ideas, please let us know. Thanks!
I am not sure which Mom's group you belong to, but the Monument Crisis Center
on Monument Blvd. in Concord is a great and worthy cause. They provide bags of
food staples for needy families (mostly the working poor and children),
tutoring for students and English as a 2nd language classes, counseling for
domestic violence. I take my 3 kids there once a week and we bag beans and
rice, diapers, make thank you cards for donations, etc ... I know that they
sometimes have scout troops in to help for short periods, so it might be worth
a check. Their number is (925)825-7751. What a great idea~!
One idea I've done with kids is to make and decorate heart-shaped cookies, and
bring them to a homeless dinner to serve on or near V-day. For serving, it
might be too much for all of you to go, but everyone can decorate and bake,
and then a few can go to serve. Depending on age, time, and interest, you can
do some of the steps ahead of ttime - make the dough, roll it out, cut it out,
even bake it, and just leave decorating to the kids. Or, purchase ready-made
plain sugar cookies, and decorate them.
Every cookie will be unique. Call around to find out who would appreciate the
You may want to try the Sophia Project in West Oakland.
Here's info from their website: They serve children and families who are at
risk of recurring homelessness and its effects. They draw their ''inspiration
and methods from the insights developed by Rudolf Steiner, founder of the
Waldorf School movement. The approach recognizes that within each person exists
a spark, connected to the wholeness of humanity. If this spark can be nurtured,
nourished and protected in the first five to seven years of life, there is the
possibility for the person to maintain a connecting thread to humanity through
childhood, youth and adulthood despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles.''
Keep up the good work!
My 15 year old son would like to volunteer in the hispanic
community. His grandparents are Mexican but live in another
state and he is feeling a longing to connect further with his
heritage while being of service to others - specifically
abuelos y abuelas. Please let us hear of your recommendations
He could try the Multicultural Institute, an after-school tutoring organization, or BAHIA
preschool, both in Berkeley.
My organization, Lawrence Hall of Science, has a grant for outreach to Hispanic
communities. For instance, we will be at the Dia de los Muertos event in the
Fruitvale on November 5. We take a crew to such events to lead hands-on
demonstrations, hand out information, talk to visitors, etc. Perhaps your son could
be part of our outreach team.
If you and your son are interested in learning more about this project as well as
other opportunities for teenage volunteers at LHS, please contact me at the email
Hi there -
I was recently thinking how much I would like to volunteer time
to hold babies that need the attention in hospitals, orphanages
etc. I did some web searches and there is such a thing as Baby
Cuddlers. There is a program in SF Childrens' Hospital. Does
anyone know of similar programs out here in the East Bay?
Wanting to cuddle
oh my, your services are likely welcome at many inpatient
hospital settings! the babies benefit and the nursing staff
(pediatric nurse I am) appreciates your assistance soothing
their patients as well. call children's hospital and kaiser
hospital, both of which are in oakland. think bigger hospitals
with an inpatient icu. good luck.
volunteers make the world go round
A friend of mine does this one half-day a week at Highland
Hospital. I think it requires some committment of time.
The Oakland Children's Hospital has one of these programs. At
least they used to. But the waiting list is very long.
Unfortunately, I think that is true of most facilities, as you
can imagine this is a popular volunteering program.
I know that the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Alta Bates sometimes has
who come in and hold the babies, give bottles, etc. During the month that my
were there, I didn't actually see very many volunteers though. I think they could
This is a great thing to do. I volunteered at Children's
Hospital in Oakland about 11 years ago in their intensive care
nursery and also on the regular unit. In the intensive care
nursery I held babies that really needed it. (Of course they
all needed it.) Some of them were born drug addicted or had
other problems. It was such a rewarding experience. Sometimes
I was with older kids, but I believe you can state your
preference to be with babies, or to be in the intensive care
nursery or not. They have a training for new volunteers. Call
them up and ask for the Volunteer Coordinator. Good for you
for giving your time in this most important way.
loved being with the babies who needed holding
I know Children's Hospital in Oakland has some people who do
this - when my 5-week-old son was there last fall, it was so
sweet to come back from a much-needed but guilt-inducing break
and have a nice little old lady tell me she'd been holding my
baby while I was gone. I think they may want you to start out
volunteering in other ways and work your way up to baby-
cuddling, but give them a call and see. The Volunteers Office
number is (510) 428-3471.
I am searching for info on organizations that allow small children to be
involved with their parents' volunteer efforts. I have an almost two year old and
have many parent friends & toddler friends who would like to get involved in
community volunteer work all together. Does anyone have organizations to
recommend, experiences to share, or tips to pass on? Thanks very much.
On Thanksgiving we signed up with Little Brothers-Friends of the
Elderly to visit seniors who were alone for the holiday. We
took our 2 and 1 year olds and we all had a great time at the
Laguna Honda Hospital. The elders loved being with the kids and
the kids loved being the center of attention. We will be
spending all holidays volunteering through this program.
I would like to do some volunteer work in some areas of skill
that I have. Namely, I am a certified Aesthetician and would
like to get involved in helping disadvantaged women who are
getting back into the workforce with makeup/skin care lessons.
Also, I love to read (used to do summer Shakespeare Rep) and
would like to do reading for the blind or visually impaired.
San Francisco has an organization called the Lighthouse,
however, they currently do not need any volunteers. Does anyone
have any suggestions on what organizations I might contact with
I just found a fabulous resource for anyone who wants to do some
volunteer work, but is not sure how to go about it. Its called
Community Impact, at www.communityimpact.org
CI coordinates fun and well-organized volunteer opportunities
for non-profits throughout the Bay Area. You can sign up for
any of the dozens of interesting volunteer events on their
website, such as arts & crafts with disabled kids, reading and
handing out books at literacy events, helping serve meals to the
homeless, tutoring at disadvantaged elementary schools,
restoring parklands, as well as behind the scenes stuff like
putting up flyers, assembling mailings and organizing offices.
You can volunteer as much or as little as you like, and there
are usually opportunities every night of the week as well as
mutiple weekend projects. If you want to do something for the
community, but don't feel like you can make a regular
committment, this is a great way to do somthing fun and flexible.
I would like recommendations of where our family of four
(two children 9 & 5) could volunteer our time doing community
service projects. We are not members of any church and are not
necessarily looking for a church to join. We just want to be
able to be involved in providing some good within the community
and teach our children the value in this. We live in North
Every year we volunteer at the Richmond Rescue Mission, either
to help with Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, or to help wrap
Christmas gifts for children. They are a Christian organization
but do not preach to you about it.
Call them, because their sign-up sheets, esp. for the gift-
wrapping sessions, books up fast.
You can use VolunteerMatch (http://www.volunteermatch.org). It's free, it's
easy and it uses your ZIP code to find an opportunity in your area.
On the search form you can check the box ''great for kids'' to find opportunities
that welcome kids.
An Active Volunteer
Go to www.volunteermatch.org. Plug in your zip code, then
click on ''refine your search'' to tell how far you are willing
to travel, and that you want opportunities suitable for kids.
They will come up with opportunities that match your
If you are specifically interested in helping at
homeless/shelter meals, get info at
(if this doesn't work, Google berkeley homeless meals, and
select the option starting Berkeley Free Clinic).
Has anyone volunteered for or do you know of (and can you
recommend) an organization that benefits children? I really
want to volunteer some time for kids, especially for an
organization that prevents/deals with child abuse. I have a
toddler and plan another baby in a year or so, so can only
volunteer for a few hours per week for now. Any recommendations?
You might want to check out communityimpact.org, a great
resource for one-time volunteer projects. Signing up for a
project through Community Impact is a good way to find out
if you like the type of work and organization before making a
longer-term commitment. I just checked their website and
they have lots of kid-related projects going all over the Bay
I highly recommend that you check out Parental Stress Service in
Oakland, they are a child abuse prevention agency that focuses on
teaching positive parenting skills. They have a hotline and are
in need of volunteers-- no previous experience necessary. You can
check out their website at www.psshelps.org, the volunteer info
is under ''giving'', or contact Debora Roca at (510) 893-9203 ext.
321 for more info.
I am planning to volunteer too! I just heard on the radio that if
you don't know what to do and can't commit many hours, you can
call or look up East Bay Volunteers (I think that's the name).
They will give you a list of activities and dates and you can
choose what you want to do, even if it's just for one day. I heard
this on the radio the other day. I hope I've given you the right
information. (If you do get in touch with them, maybe you could
post the info for other people like me?)
Try volunteeronline.org. I found TWO volunteer gigs and I only
had two 3 1/2 hour slots available each week while my toddler's
in preschool. I did a search by just typing ''Oakland'' and 800
listings popped up. I narrowed that down to things that caught
my eye and started making calls. In total, the search took about
an hour, the calls a little less, and after three meetings I
selected the orgs that had the most need for the skills I was
Go for it!
I am looking for opportunities in which my nine-year-old son
could volunteer his time this summer. I was thinking along the
lines of his working with younger children (reading stories,
helping physically challenged children...something similar) I
don't know whether anything like that exists for children as
young as 9, and I would certainly be able to supervise him, but
I would appreciate hearing about such an opportunity. Thanks.
I think there's something at the Albany library where older kids
read to pre-schoolers. You might want to call them.
I recently became aware of a web site called volunteermatch.org. Its
purpose is to match volunteers with volunteer opportunities based on your
geographic location. You type in your zip code and choose the type of
volunteer work that interests you (Animals, Children, Women, etc.) and it
will show you the opportunities available. You can also register your group
if you are in need of volunteers.
This site has won two 2001 "Webby" Awards for Best Activism Site and Best
Services Site. Most of the links that you will see may not be appropriate
for a teenager, but some will. Good luck!
this page was last updated: Dec 16, 2008
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