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Family Friendly Activities in San Diego
San Diego is one of the more family-friendly cities in the United States. From the gorgeous year-round warm weather to the many exciting attractions around town, there are so many reasons people flock to the city. Here are five to consider on your next vacation.
No matter your age, San Diego’s pristine beaches are the perfect settings for a day of fun in the sun. With over 70 miles of shoreline, you and the kids can swim, build sandcastles, take surfing lessons or just spend the day sunbathing and resting up for your next big adventure. Some of the favorite beaches for families near San Diego include La Jolla Shores, a mile-long beach that’s a favorite for swimmers and surfers, and Shell Beach, where you can watch sea animals play.
The San Diego Zoo
The San Diego Zoo may be one of the more popular zoos in the United States. See the koalas in the Australian Outback exhibit or the giant pandas in their bamboo forest. Spot exotic creatures, like elephants, lions and gorillas, in the Africa Rocks exhibit, or hang out with the goats and sheep at the children’s petting zoo. The 100-acre zoo is home to over 4,000 animals, along with activities like the Fisher Price playground, special tours, summer camps and other attractions.
SeaWorld San Diego
After spending a day hanging out with the land creatures at the zoo, it’s time to head over to SeaWorld San Diego to spend a day with the marine life. The 190-acre park offers plenty of interactive exhibits that allow your family to get up close and personal with sharks, rays, fish and dolphins. Explore the park further to find rides, shows and Sea World’s beloved killer whales. Seasonal events are also happening throughout the year, such as the annual Christmas celebration.
You don’t have to be a Lego fan to have a good time at LEGOLAND California, but if your kids love those colorful little blocks, they’ll find it twice as nice. There’s a city built entirely out of Legos, along with 22,000 other models. There’s also an aquarium called Sea Life, a seasonal water park and over 60 rides and attractions. Don’t leave without meeting and greeting your favorite characters and collecting pop badges.
The New Children’s Museum
The New Children’s Museum is one of many museums in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter neighborhood, but if you have young children, it’s a great one to visit when you’re in town. Through hands-on activities, creative play and arts and crafts projects, kids can learn to use their imaginations in new ways. Some of the exhibits are suitable for certain age groups, like Wobbleand, a busy play space for ages four and under.
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Make your contribution to better government and a better community, put your personal values into action, and receive training and work experience to jumpstart your career by volunteering for the County of San Diego.
Volunteering with the County of San Diego is an opportunity to give back to your community or gain valuable job opportunity.
Congratulations to our 2021 Volunteers of the Year!
Annually, the Board of Supervisors recognizes the outstanding volunteers that dedicate their time and talents to various County departments. Watch the video of the awards ceremony!
What Volunteer Opportunities Interest You?
Additional volunteer opportunities are available with partners of the County of San Diego .
Find an Opportunity
County volunteers make a big impact.
- It adds up! Read the value of all of our volunteers in our annual reports .
- We recognize your hard work! Learn about the Volunteer Recognition Program !
For general questions and inquiries, please contact:
Marylyn Gines Clerk of the Board of Supervisors 1600 Pacific Highway, Room 335 San Diego, CA 92101 Phone: (619) 531-5700 Email: [email protected]
County News Center
Volunteer Opportunity Calendar
The calendar below makes it easy to find opportunities and events that are scheduled for a specific day and time. Please review these guidelines before volunteering in-person, especially if you are not fully vaccinated.
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10 Places to Volunteer in San Diego
There are many benefits to volunteer work, such as staying active, meeting new people, and achieving the fulfilling feeling that comes from giving back. If you are looking for volunteer opportunities in San Diego, there are dozens of charities and nonprofits throughout the county who rely on volunteers to achieve their missions.
While there are several high-profile charitable organizations in San Diego with volunteer opportunities, here is a list of 10 lesser-known places to volunteer that you may not have heard of before, all of which would benefit from your time and unique skills!
Gleaners for Unused Food
Gleaning is a food-gathering activity that goes back thousands of years, to when landowners would leave a portion of their crops to be harvested by the poor, rather than let it go wasted. Today, unused food from farms often ends in landfills. Gleaners in San Diego gather surplus food from farms, gardens, orchards, and yards, which is then donated to feed local residents who are food insecure. Check out the list of organizations looking for gleaners on the San Diego Food System Alliance website —there are organizations in various parts of the county, and even a group specifically for seniors 55 and over!
Fleet Science Center
If you love science and helping the public, consider one of the volunteer positions at the Fleet Science Center in Balboa Park. Positions include Museum Ambassador, Camp Counselor, Gallery Facilitator, Education Programs Volunteer, and more! It’s a great way to share your passions with like-minded visitors to the museum.
SD Refugee Tutoring
Help local refugee children in City Heights by providing one-on-one English and math tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Tutors also read and play educational games with the students, all of whom have been in the United States anywhere from one month to four years. Volunteers are not required to have any formal training aside from speaking English fluently and committing to tutoring at least once a week throughout the school year.
Mama’s Kitchen is a non-profit, volunteer-driven organization that prepares and delivers nutritious meals for San Diegans living with cancer, AIDS, or other critical illnesses who are too sick to shop and cook for themselves. They need volunteers to drive and deliver meals, kitchen workers, front desk managers, and volunteers to assist in the pantry, and at food drives and events.
I Love a Clean San Diego
I Love a Clean San Diego hosts cleanup events throughout greater San Diego County, resulting in the removal of half a million pounds of debris from neighborhoods, canyons, and the coastline each year. You can volunteer as an individual, or enlist your coworkers for a great team-building event.
Girls Inc. of San Diego
For 50 years, Girls Inc. has helped girls ages 8 to 18 learn essential life skills, explore professions in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), and view attending college as an attainable goal, despite the hardships they may face. They do this through providing mentoring relationships, a pro-female mindset, and research-based programming. Volunteers make a difference in the lives of under-served girls by serving as positive role models during one-hour program classes, or as operational volunteers who keep the organization running smoothly.
Home Start is a non-profit child abuse prevention and treatment agency, strengthening San Diego families since 1972. They address conditions that contribute to abusive situations, such as unsafe neighborhoods and poverty, while helping with self-sufficiency and emotional needs. Their mission requires volunteers in a variety of roles, such as administrative support, child care, psychological assistants, domestic violence advocates, and volunteers to offer free tax filing support during tax season.
Feeding San Diego
Working with farmers, manufacturers, and distributors, Feeding San Diego collects unused food to serve the nearly 400,000 San Diegans who are food insecure. Volunteers help with a variety of projects, including cleaning, sorting, and boxing food, and help with administrative tasks is needed as well. While you can volunteer on your own, this is another organization that encourages groups to come as a team-building or family-bonding activity.
Helen Woodward Animal Center
The motto of the Helen Woodward Animal Center is “people help animals and animals help people.” The no-kill facility provides educational programs, humane care and adoption for homeless animals, meals for the pets of low-income seniors and disabled military members with service dogs, pet encounter therapy, and other programs that benefit both animals and humans. They need volunteers in a wide range of roles including walking dogs, helping at events, or lending a hand in the home office.
For over 45 years, ElderHelp has provided services to help seniors remain independent and live with dignity in their own homes. Seniors are matched with volunteers who provide home visits and assist with grocery shopping, home safety inspections, accompanying seniors on social outings, organizing mail, and light home tasks such as gardening. They also provide transportation for seniors, and education for their caregivers.
If you are looking to give back by volunteering this year, any one of the above organizations would be grateful for your time and effort!
For more articles on healthy living in San Diego, visit Scrippsamg.com .
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12 Great San Diego Nonprofits to Volunteer With
Updated on September, 9, 2021
12 Volunteer Opportunities in San Diego
Research shows that giving your time and energy to charity can benefit your health and happiness. Studies find that helping someone else decreases stress levels by interrupting tension-producing patterns and replacing them with a sense of purpose, positive emotions and high confidence levels.
There are dozens of wonderful charities in San Diego County to volunteer with, whether your passion lies with helping the homeless, tutoring children, environmental work, the elderly, or fighting cancer. View the list below of some of our favorite nonprofits in San Diego.
The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
Just In Time for Foster Youth
At age 18, foster youth "age out" of the system. No longer receiving assistance, and without family support or a network to help them along to self-sufficiency, about 45% of those leaving foster care become homeless within a year. Only 10% will attend college and only 1-3% will obtain a bachelor’s degree. In addition, more than 70% of all state penitentiary inmates are former foster youth.
Just in Time for Foster Youth (JIT) is a San Diego nonprofit that engages a caring community to help transition-age foster youth (ages 18-26) achieve self-sufficiency and well-being. Through a combination of emergency support, essential resources, and caring personal relationships and guidance, JIT provides a reliable “extended family” that leads to dramatically different outcomes for the over 500 participants each year.
Some of their many services include providing financial support in emergency situations (including rent, bus passes, gas cards, grocery gift cards, clothing, and vehicle repair), help furnishing youth’s living spaces, providing laptops, printers, and school supplies to college bound students, career and money management mentoring, and much more.
How to Volunteer:
JIT counts on volunteers to provide the resources, relationships, and expertise for much-needed services to transitioning foster youth. You can volunteer your time in skills in various ways by visiting the link below.
San Diego Food Bank
Currently in San Diego County, 1 in 6 people; 1 in 7 adults; and 1 in 5 children are food insecure, meaning that little or no food is available at home, and those who are food insecure do not know how they will get their next meal. The Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank is the largest hunger-relief organization in San Diego County, serving an average of 370,000 people per month. Nonprofit partners include: food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, low-income daycare centers, senior centers, faith-based organizations, schools, and day centers for the elderly and disabled.
How to Volunteer:
Anyone 11 years or older can help in the warehouse, at food distribution sites, and at Food Bank events. Training is not required and you may volunteer one time, or on a regular basis.
San Diego Coastkeeper
San Diego Coastkeeper’s mission is to protect and restore fishable, swimmable and drinkable waters in San Diego County. They use community outreach, education and advocacy to empower San Diegans to guard their clean water and healthy ecosystem. Their team of scientists, activists, educators and lawyers work with the community and decision-makers to protect the waters in San Diego County.
In partnership with Surfrider Foundation, San Diego Coastkeeper hosts twice-monthly beach cleanups. You can also volunteer in their laboratory, at events, and more.
San Diego Rescue Mission
San Diego Rescue Mission is a non-profit homeless shelter and recovery center serving thousands of homeless, hungry, and poor women, men, and children in San Diego since 1955. Some of their programs provided are emergency shelters for women and children, a men’s residential rehabilitation program, a women and children’s residential program, a preschool, a recuperative care unit, transitional housing, work therapy, and more.
Ages 16+ can volunteer with the San Diego Rescue Mission in a number of ways, including Christmas meal outreach, at the thrift store or warehouse, at the transitional housing or recuperative care units, tutoring, and more.
Did you know children in low-income households are 15 times more likely to drop out of school if they cannot read proficiently by the fourth grade? In the U.S., 82% of disadvantaged children do not read at grade-level. Traveling Stories is a nonprofit that’s outsmarting poverty one book at a time by providing the literacy and money management skills kids need to be productive members of society.
Traveling Stories does this through their innovative StoryTent programs where kids read out loud with volunteers and earn “book bucks” for each book read. They’re even invited to negotiate for more bucks and can earn by reading outside the program. With their book bucks, kids can buy prizes.
Want to help? Join Traveling Stories as a volunteer reading mentor at a StoryTent in San Diego County or via their Virtual StoryTent, or host a fundraiser!
Serving Seniors is a San Diego nonprofit providing impactful programs and life sustaining services to seniors age 60+ living in poverty. Programs include meals, affordable housing, social and supportive services, lifelong learning, and health and wellness services.
Do you want to be the highlight of someone’s day? How about their whole week? Even though one hour may not seem like much to you, that hour means the world to the seniors. Volunteer opportunities include serving lunch, teaching a class, hosting a social activity, visiting, playing a game, and much more.
Emilio Nares Foundation
Emilio Nares Foundation (ENF) assists low-income families of children who are battling cancer. Their flagship program, Ride with Emilio, provides sick children with FREE transportation to chemotherapy and other important medical appointments. Without this service, many families were using public transportation, which could take up to 7 hours and also expose the immune-compromised children to an unsafe environment.
ENF also provides the children with snack bags of healthy, hospital-approved sustenance after their treatments in the hospital. Their Family Resource Center connects the families to resources for financial aid, employment, housing, food, and other vital community services.
To make an impact for the Emilio Nares Foundation, you can help fundraise, whether it’s through their Cheetah Charity Runner races, their annual "Challenge Hike", or through DIY bake sales, charity golf tournaments, or anything else you can think of to raise funds. You can even donate a vehicle!
Outdoor Outreach is a San Diego nonprofit whose mission is to connect under-resourced youth to the transformative power of the outdoors, helping them overcome risk factors like domestic violence, homelessness, immigration or refugee status, or involvement in the juvenile justice system.
Outdoor Outreache's programs provide opportunities for young people to surf, rock climb, paddle and more, engaging them in meaningful learning activities that promote a strong sense of self, belonging and resiliency. Additionally, the opportunity to build positive relationships with adults and peers introduces the youth to important protective factors like self-efficacy, social competencies and optimism for the future. Job training and employment provided through the Leadership Program add additional protective factors, equipping participants with transferable skills and competencies to overcome economic insecurity.
Outdoor Outreach does not require a minimum time commitment, but a volunteer orientation and background check is required. To learn more, visit the link below.
OG Yoga brings trauma-informed yoga, meditation and well-being to marginalized youth, adults and seniors facing homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, behavioral challenges, incarceration and reentry. OG Yoga's vision is to make yoga available through the systems serving those in need to transform lives, increase successful outcomes and build healthier communities.
You can help OG Yoga’s cause by hosting a fundraiser or attending one of OG Yoga's fundraising events. If you’re a yoga instructor and interested in how you can get involved, visit the link below.
In their effort to escape war or persecution, refugees experience a life-or-death struggle to reach a UN Refugee Camp. There they wait for years for approval to go to a safe home in San Diego, where they face further challenges. These include learning a new language, adapting to a new culture, and finding a way to support themselves. RefugeeNet is San Diego nonprofit dedicated to assisting refugees in that process. RefugeeNet helps new arrivals register for food stamps, Social Security, school enrollment, medical registration, driver’s licenses, finding jobs, and more. RefugeeNet also provides tutoring for about 100 young people three days a week.
Volunteer at RefugeeNet’s tutoring programs, where students learn individually and in small groups. Volunteers can also help collect and distribute clothing, household goods, and furniture.
San Diego Humane Society
With campuses in San Diego, Escondido and Oceanside, San Diego Humane Society takes care of almost 2,000 homeless animals daily, and provides services to enhance the human-animal bond in the community. They also have adoption centers inside select Petco stores throughout the county.
Volunteers are needed for a variety of roles, from animal care to touring guests around the shelters. To learn more, visit the link below.
More Volunteer Opportunities in San Diego
In addition to the 12 San Diego nonprofits listed above, there are dozens more San Diego charities making a difference in the world. Find the one that speaks to you and get involved! You can view more volunteer opportunities at the links below, or by visiting VolunteerMatch.org .
San Diego Habitat for Humanity
Father Joe’s Villages
The Ronald McDonald House
Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Diego
The San Diego Foundation
Meals on Wheels
Jewish Family Services
Second Chance Dog Rescue
Kitchens for Good
The Salvation Army
Autism Society of San Diego
Feeding San Diego
International Rescue Committee
International Relief Teams
The Rescue House
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18 Ways to Volunteer and Give Back in San Diego
From helping unhoused neighbors and at-risk youth to clothing drives, and more, there are plenty of ways to make a difference in america’s finest city..
Updated on 11/29/2022 at 3:45 PM
The holiday season is upon us, and with it comes that sense of goodwill and generosity that many of us feel towards our fellow humans. Hold on to that feeling all year by giving your time, money, or both to those who are struggling with food insecurity, poverty, illness, and those who need someone to talk to or just a kind shoulder to lean on. You can also make a difference in keeping our beautiful beaches and green spaces clean and enjoyable for generations to come.
Here in San Diego, sites like VolunteerMatch and HandsOn San Diego help you find volunteer opportunities that are the best fit for you. In that spirit, we’ve gathered 18 local nonprofits and organizations that are eager for volunteers this holiday season and all year long. And, remember, if you can’t commit your time, each of the sites below has a “Donate” button to make it easier than ever to help someone in need.
Bake for at-risk youth
Birthdays and cake go hand-in-hand and every child should know the feeling of having a cake, cookies, cupcakes, or other sweet treats made just for them on their special day. Founder Libby Gruender began Cake4Kids in 2010 after being inspired by a news story about a young foster child’s emotional reaction to receiving her very first birthday cake. Now, Cake4Kids partners with over 140 agencies that support at-risk children and young adults (ages 1-24) who are in foster care, group homes, homeless shelters, transitional and low-income housing, and domestic violence and human trafficking shelters. Volunteers purchase ingredients, bake and decorate the goodies in their own homes and deliver them to an assigned agency, which ensures that it reaches the birthday child. To volunteer to make cakes, you should be a reasonably decent baker and decorator and over 18, with a valid driver’s license and proof of auto insurance. Bakers 16-17 years old can participate as part of a parent or adult/child team. Want to contribute without baking? See’s Candies is having a “ yumraiser ” from now until December 2, with proceeds going directly to Cakes4Kids—perfect for the chocolate lovers on your gift list (or yourself!). You can also shop at AmazonSmile and .5% of your eligible purchases will go to Cakes4Kids.
Help the unsheltered
Every Monday night , volunteers from Streets of Hope gather on the sidewalk at the north side of the Smart & Final Parking Lot located at 720 15th Street downtown to offer food, water, toiletries, conversation, and friendship to the area’s unsheltered population. Every six weeks or so, volunteer hair stylists come to give free haircuts. They also need help with preparing resumes and training on applying for jobs online—all you need to bring is a laptop or smartphone (a separate two-hour appointment is set up at Monday Night Downtown for resume services). You don’t have to bring anything to Monday Night Downtown, but if you’d like to, the most needed items are bottled water, toiletries, and personal hygiene items; clothing (especially socks); and blankets. There’s no training or registration needed for Monday night events, just show up and pitch in. Email [email protected] if you’d like to sponsor Monday Night Downtown by making 100 sandwiches to distribute, or register to donate hair cutting or resume prep services. Shop AmazonSmile to contribute as well.
Be a mentor
Help shape a kid’s future for the better by becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County. “Bigs” are matched with “Littles” in their area who need stable, consistent mentorship and positive relationships with adults. Programs include the traditional one-on-one and group activities, where Bigs and Littles meet two to four times a month for two to five hours and participate in activities of mutual interest. There’s also Operation Bigs, for Littles with an active-duty military, veteran, or fallen parent, who need extra support during deployment or transitions, plus Hermandad, connecting Latinx youth with Latinx mentors, and Hand in Hand, providing deaf/hard children with deaf/hard of hearing Big Brother or Big Sister mentors to help them navigate communication barriers and confidently manage their way through the hearing world. Bigs must be at least 18 years of age, live in San Diego County, pass a background check, have a valid driver's license, insurance, and a social security number, and most importantly, commit to at least one year in the program.
Support families in need
Father Joe’s Village is the largest rehabilitation program for unsheltered families in San Diego, with over 900 men, women, and children living at the Village. In addition to serving more than 3,000 meals daily, volunteers provide homework tutoring, fitness and wellness instruction, adult education, including reading, math, language, and GED prep, along with dozens of other jobs, from administration to thrift store sales associates. Volunteers are needed in a number of Father Joe’s programs. To find the best fit, fill out a volunteer form , call 619-645-6411, or email [email protected] .
Build a better San Diego
San Diego Habitat for Humanity volunteers participate in building homes for qualified individuals throughout San Diego County, as well as providing a variety of outdoor general repair services to existing homes, veteran’s services, building playhouses for children, and affordable home ownership advocacy. Additional volunteers are needed to help run the Habitat ReStores , which sell new and gently used clothing, dry goods, and furniture.
Teach English as a second language
Laubach Literacy of San Diego is an all-volunteer, educational and charitable non-profit organization that offers free ESL classes for small groups or individuals at 20 locations throughout San Diego County, as well as free learning materials for both tutors and students on their website. The curriculum is based on the Laubach Way , a method of teaching English by tutors who do not speak the students’ first language. No experience is necessary to become a tutor—all necessary training is provided. In order to become a Laubach tutor, you will need to complete the half-day training, and complete and pass a background check, at no cost to you. Upon completion of training, Laubach requests a commitment period of at least six months.
Advocate for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors
The Center for Community Solutions volunteers provide survivors of sexual and domestic violence with in-person advocacy, emotional support, and help with making informed decisions during forensic examinations. They also share information and referrals for additional services, and act as a liaison between the survivor, local law enforcement, and medical personnel. Volunteers are required to complete a 65.5-hour Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) program as part of their onboarding. CIT is a California Office of Emergency Services -approved training that covers the state training requirement for both sexual assault and domestic violence counselors. CIT is currently offered virtually.
Find forever homes for animals
Studies have shown that pet ownership, or even just contact with animals can produce healthy results in humans, and connecting animals and people for their mutual benefit is the mission of the Helen Woodward Animal Center. A no-kill facility, the center provides adoption, medical, and boarding services for dogs, cats, small animals, and birds. Outreach programs include AniMeals , which delivers approximately 3,000 pounds of pet food per month to homebound seniors and people with disabilities; Pets Without Walls , providing preventative health care, vaccinations, and food to the dogs and cats who live with unsheltered families at San Diego’s industrial tent sites; and therapeutic riding for children and adults with special needs. Volunteer for anything from dog walking to event planning for this diverse organization.
Support people with mental Illnesses
Volunteers with NAMI San Diego give support to those struggling with mental illness through their Family and Peer Support informational helpline, by mentoring and advising adults in recovery from a mental health challenge as they enter or re-enter the workforce, or facilitating presentations of Ending the Silence (ETS), an in-school mental health awareness program for high school-age youth.
Give seniors a helping hand
Elderhelp gives seniors the solutions to help them live independently in their own homes for as long as possible by enlisting volunteers for companionship and tasks such as transportation to social events, appointments, errands, and grocery shopping; organizing mail and home; safety maintenance such as installing rails and grip bars; and light gardening.
Serving Seniors provides low-income seniors with hot meals served across six congregate dining sites and delivers to homebound seniors. They also provide affordable housing, social services, and case-management support, plus lifelong learning opportunities, including computer skills training and health and wellness services. More than 85% of their clients live below the Federal Poverty Level, and Serving Seniors provides their services free of charge.
Guardians Angels aims to help seniors residing in long-term care facilities feel less isolated and lonely. Volunteers are needed for one-on-one visits for conversation, walks, or other activities; leading games; coordinating pet, music and art therapy; and support groups for those dealing with memory loss.
Reduce food waste and insecurity
Here’s a shocking statistic— one in three San Diegans face food insecurity on a regular basis, and between 30-40% of food in the United States goes to waste . ProduceGood helps provide families with fruits and vegetables by bridging the gap to connect farmers and growers who have excess produce with those who need it through programs like CropSwap , a backyard and small farm harvesting program, and Market Share , where volunteers work with Jimbo’s grocery stores and generous farmers at San Diego farmers markets who donate unsold produce at the end of the day. Check the calendar of events . Volunteer opportunities range from picking fruit and vegetables to administrative and organizational activities and more.
Slash waste and learn how to fix stuff
Help Zero Waste San Diego spread their fix-and-save philosophy to reduce waste and combat our throw-away attitude towards consumer goods. Monthly hands-on clinics teach repair skills to those who want to fix their non-functional belongings such as appliances, electronics, computers, bicycles, toys, or clothing. Coaches provide guidance for assessment, disassembly, and possible repair, as well as workspace and specialty tools to help with restoration. Whether reconstruction is successful or not, everyone learns about how their item was made and how it worked. Sign up online if you would like to volunteer for clinics, behind-the-scenes, or remote work.
Keep our beaches and waterways beautiful
I Love a Clean San Diego holds two major coastal cleanup days annually, as well as monthly cleanup events targeting not only coastal areas but local creek beds, canyons, and open space parks, plus storm drain stenciling, clothing swaps, and education programs. If you’re looking for more than a one-time event, ILACSD is in need of part-time environmental educators and community engagement volunteer interns.
Help immigrants become U.S. Citizens
Formed in 2013 by members of Solana Beach Presbyterian Church, Pathways to Citizenship (formerly North County Immigration and Citizenship Center) provides assistance to immigrants who need support with the network of legal processes and cultural pathways to becoming a U.S. citizen. As Department of Justice Accredited Representatives authorized to practice Immigration Law, they aid in filling out and processing legal documents and applications, provide tutoring in citizenship, and help candidates prepare for U.S. history and civics tests and naturalization interviews, as well as ESL tutoring. In October 2021, Pathways to Citizenship celebrated their 100th client taking her oath and becoming a U.S. Citizen. Volunteers are needed for ESL and citizenship tutoring, document translation, social media posting, and more.
Support local Latinx organizations
The Chicano Federation provides child development programs, home-based support for parents of children up to age five, infant and toddler child care services, a child nutrition program, and other aid to families across socioeconomic, geographic, and ethnic demographics, including refugees who are seeking a safe and stable environment for their children. Other services include a child development center in Barrio Logan, as well as a housing program with below-market rentals, and a workforce and business development program. Donate to their annual Food Basket Drive or Covid-19 Kit Distribution Campaign , investigate employment opportunities , become a child care partner , or buy some swag to support their cause.
Nurture future women leaders
The Girl Scouts of America are best known for their annual cookie sales , but they are also one of the foremost leadership organizations for girls in the country—64% of U.S. women leaders—political, corporate and civic—were once Girl Scouts. With nearly two million Scouts worldwide, plus an additional 800,000 volunteers, opportunities to help range from becoming troop leaders, assistants, and administrators, to experts who share their special skills with area scout troops. Learn more on the San Diego Girl Scouts website .
Support the trans community
The Gender Advocacy Project provides support for trans community members with social groups, mental and physical health care, legal services, cosmetic services, and by connecting them with trans-friendly employers. Help out by becoming a group facilitator, manning the front desk, or serving as a member on legal, economic, event planning, media relations, or health care committees. Support the project by applying to volunteer or become a committee member.
Deliver meals to the housebound
Mama’s Kitchen was founded by a San Diego caregiver who organized a small group to prepare and deliver meals to a few neighbors who were suffering from AIDS and unable to shop for and prepare their own meals. Today, Mama’s Kitchen delivers three free meals daily to San Diegans and their children who are coping with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other devastating illnesses, as well as personal nutritional coaching. You can help by preparing food and bagging meals, but the greatest need is for kitchen staging volunteers and volunteer drivers to deliver meals, especially in North County. A two-hour volunteer orientation takes place two to three times a month.
The well-known meal delivery service, Meals-on-Wheels distributes meals six days a week (Sunday’s meal comes with Saturday’s delivery) to seniors 60 and over and their caregivers, as well as disabled veterans of any age. Meals range from $4–7, and free cat or dog food is available in a partnership with the Helen Woodward Animal Center . Delivery volunteers also perform a safety/wellness check of the client and report back if something seems amiss. Volunteer to deliver meals and assemble We Care packages .
Jewish Family Service delivers hot kosher meals to homebound older adults and younger disabled adults belonging to any and all faiths Monday through Friday, with frozen meals available for the weekends, as well as pet food upon request. Safety/wellness checks are also provided by the volunteer drivers. Volunteers are needed in a number of positions .
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- Live Well Every Day
Are you looking for a way to help your community live well? Volunteer your time and talents to help all San Diegans be healthy, safe and thriving.
San Diego Region
- American Heart Association – Advocate, teach, walk, host, and learn!
- American Lung Association, Lung Force Walk – Sunday, January 26 – Volunteers to help with set up, tear down, and general event logistics
- American Red Cross – San Diego/Imperial Valley – Daily, weekly, monthly volunteer opportunities for adults and teens
- Braille Institute - Range from short-term to long-term assignments in education, communications, technology, research and administrative work.
- City of San Diego – Volunteer opportunities with the City of San Diego departments
- County of San Diego – Discover volunteer opportunities in your area of interest with the County of San Diego
- Del Mar Community Connections - Drivers, bus hosts, community outreach, administrative work, teach a class or join a committee.
- Escondido Education Compact - Volunteer or internship opportunities available.
- Episcopal Community Services - Administrative support help for ECS offices, contact Deann at [email protected] or 619-228-2840 to learn more.
- George G. Glenner Alzheimer's Family Centers - Offering opportunities to volunteer in residential care communities and skilled nursing facilities throughout San Diego.
- HandsOn San Diego – Volunteer project calendar; Team Leader training and placement
- Jewish Family Service -Volunteer to deliver meals, keep older adults company, or help refugees feel more at home.
- Junior Achievement of San Diego County – Opportunities to volunteer in schools, teaching lessons about business to kids
- Retired & Senior Volunteer Program – Volunteer opportunities for older adults
- San Diego Oasis - Intergenerational tutoring or center volunteers, instructors, or ambassadors
- San Diego Padres Volunteer Team
- San Diego River Park Foundation - Garden, restoration, clean-ups, water quality monitoring, and more!
- San Dieguito River Park - Trail maintenance, restoration, trail patrols, and more!
- United Way of San Diego County – Education, income, homelessness, health, and internal United Way volunteer opportunity database
- Uplift - Work with students as a tutor or mentor or be a homeless advocate.
- Voices for Children - Court Appointed Special Advocates make a commitment to advocate for the needs of the child or sibling group with whom they are matched.
National databases that can be searched for local opportunities
- AllforGood.org – Volunteer database
- BoardnetUSA – Nonprofit board database
- Catchafire – Skill-based volunteer database
- Corporation for National and Community Service - Volunteer database
- Create the good/AARP – Volunteer database
- Idealist.org – Volunteer and intern database
- Taproot+.org – Skill-based volunteer database
- Volunteer.gov - Public service and volunteer database
- VolunteerMatch – Volunteer database
Professional Development and Capacity Building
- AmeriCorps Volunteer Infrastructure Program (VIP) – One-year service from an AmeriCorps member to support volunteer engagement capacity building; hosted by Jewish Family Services
- Nonprofit Management Solutions – Learning Circles for volunteer administrators
- Right Hand Events – For-profit that manages group volunteer projects for corporate clients
- USD Nonprofit Institute - Nonprofit Governance Symposium, City of San Diego Nonprofit Academy, Lean Six Sigma for Social Impact, Nonprofit Governance and Community Leadership Programs, San Diego Regional Climate Collaborative, and Leaders for Outdoor Equity.
- Volunteer Administrators Network (VAN) – Monthly roundtable discussions and networking
- BoardSource – Training and resources for boards and committees
- Points of Light – Resources for nonprofits, companies and volunteers to take action on causes they care about in celebration of a culture of service
- Learn How To Become - Tips for turning life's passions into a rewarding career.
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San Diego is one of the more family-friendly cities in the United States. From the gorgeous year-round warm weather to the many exciting attractions around town, there are so many reasons people flock to the city. Here are five to consider ...
San Diego party lines can be reached by phoning 1-619-372-4242 or (877) 648-8389, as of 2014. For gay or bisexual chat, 1-888-910-0303 is a go-to phone number for meeting partners or planning dates.
“The Flower Carrier” by Diego Rivera represents the struggles of the working man living in a capitalist society. Rivera, a communist, was concerned about the plight of the peasants in Mexico.
Volunteering with the County of San Diego is an opportunity to give back to your community or gain valuable job opportunity. Volunteers
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1379 nonprofit organizations near San Diego · 1. Hostelling International San Diego · 2. Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO) · 3. ASCENDTIALS · 4. Navy-
HandsOn San Diego strengthens communities through volunteer action and leadership development.
10 Places to Volunteer in San Diego · Gleaners for Unused Food · Fleet Science Center · SD Refugee Tutoring · Mama's Kitchen · I Love a Clean San Diego · Girls Inc.
More Volunteer Opportunities in San Diego · San Diego Habitat for Humanity · Father Joe's Villages · The Ronald McDonald House · Make-A-Wish
San Diego Habitat for Humanity volunteers participate in building homes for qualified individuals throughout San Diego County, as well as
VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES · American Heart Association – Advocate, teach, walk, host, and learn! · American Lung Association, Lung Force Walk · American Red Cross –
Best Volunteer Opportunities near me in San Diego, California · Feeding San Diego · Voices for Children · The Animal Pad · American Cancer Society · Reality Changers.
Volunteer Opportunities with Feeding San Diego · Food Sorting at the Distribution Center · Group Volunteering · Team Leader · Community Outreach Ambassador.
Features · Fire truck art · San Diego Fire-Rescue Volunteer Opportunities(link is external) · Employ & Empower logo. Employ + Empower Internship Opportunities.