A Little Bit of Your Time Goes a Long Way
Written By: Avra Kouffman Volunteer Orange County
Orange County is a great place to feel good and do good! This part of SoCal has various opportunities to volunteer with everything from libraries and parks, to senior centers and hospitals as well as nonprofits working on everything from hunger to homelessness. If you’re looking to make a change in your community, we selected eight organizations with flourishing volunteer programs. Pick your favorite and get started! You’ll be helping a worthy cause, meet like-minded people and broaden your horizons without having to leave town.
If you find yourself having a difficult time choosing just one volunteer program, check out Coastkeeper’s wide variety of volunteer choices. You can join beach cleanups in San Clemente and Huntington Beach, restore underwater eelgrass beds in Upper Newport Bay, grow your green thumb at Orange’s Coastkeeper Garden or help at the Costa Mesa headquarters. Whichever you choose, you’ll aid Coastkeeper in its mission to “achieve healthy, accessible, and sustainable water resources for the region.”
3151 Airway Ave, Ste F-110
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
As a warehouse volunteer in Buena Park, you’ll sort medical supplies, pack food and do the concrete work that helps kids worldwide. SueLynn Yoo of GCH said, “We’ve shipped to Lebanon for Syrian refugee relief and also to Malawi, Haiti, Latvia, Venezuela, and the Dominican Republic, all within the last two months.” Close to home, GCH’s We’ve Got Your Back program delivers 1,100 backpacks of food each week to vulnerable families in Orange County and Los Angeles.
8332 Commonwealth Ave
Buena Park, CA 90621
If you are one with the great outdoors, Joel Robinson is the man to contact. As head of Naturalist for You, Robinson’s mission is to connect everyone with local wilderness. Whether you’re a city slicker or an outdoorsman, NFY has a program to enjoy. Volunteers lead or sweep hikes throughout SoCal, with many in OC’s parks. If you’d like to help but don’t know buckwheat from sagebrush, no worries! “You can host our outreach booth at an event or help with photography and social media,” said Robinson. “Even using your iPhone to spread the word can help!”
14362-12 East Ladd Canyon Rd
Silverado, CA 92676
With programs designed to boost self-esteem and improve financial literacy, Girls Inc. helps girls become “Strong, Smart and Bold.” The nonprofit, which runs events like “Girls Meet the Workforce,” offers many ways to volunteer. Head to the Costa Mesa headquarters or work at teen outreach sites in Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Juan Capistrano, Santa Ana and Tustin. You’ll make a positive difference in a girl’s life!
1815 Anaheim Ave
Costa Mesa, CA 92627
Human trafficking is complex, so the OC Human Trafficking Task Force is all about collaboration. Law enforcement, victim service providers, nonprofits, faith-based groups and community members work together to help survivors, raise awareness and prevent trafficking. You can staff an outreach booth at the Orange County Fair or do something more time-intensive, like serve as an interpreter.
Welcome artists and teacher-types! Help kids learn through creativity while fostering a STEM-based component (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Use your time to volunteer at Santa Ana’s Depot for Creative Reuse Center. “Our mission is to foster the next generation of leaders and problem-solvers!” said Volunteer Coordinator, Kaitlyn Lam. “Whether it’s sorting materials or helping kids glue their creations together, we need people to get involved!”
1815 E. Wilshire Ave, Ste 906
Santa Ana, CA 92705
If you’re the hands-on type, you’ll find your niche at Habitat for Humanity’s construction sites! As their website states, Habitat encourages women and men to help “build homes, communities and hope.” They have a Women Build group for women who want to learn how to build a home. No one needs to start as an experienced builder to learn to help.
2200 Ritchey St
Santa Ana, CA 92705
You’ve probably seen Working Wardrobes’ stores, but maybe you didn’t know the story behind them. The nonprofit offers career training, job placement assistance and wardrobe services to the people it serves. Volunteers can help at the Irvine office or act as a personal shopper for clients looking for interview outfits.Volunteer Coordinator Khinsey Vong started out as a volunteer herself. “You’re benefiting someone with barriers,” Vong said. “You’re helping them transition to a better place in their life!”
1851 Kettering St
Irvine, CA 92614
Looking to Do Some Good in OC? Check Out These Nonprofits