Current Volunteer Opportunities

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Youth/Women: Girls For A Change (GFC) empowers young women in middle school and high school to create social change in their communities. We are seeking women volunteers to guide girls through the process of identifying an issue in their community and then designing a project that creates change around that issue.

Each year they reach out to community members like you to support the girls as they create social change. Their biggest need is to fill the volunteer role of their Girl Action Team Coaches. Coaching with GFC means working with girls for 14 meetings, showing them they are important and powerful, and how to create change. The commitment is approximately 20 hours per month and includes one and a half hour meeting with the girls each week.  Spring session is mid January to May. They offer Coach training, staff support and coach manual to help guide you with your service. They provide the support you need to work effectively with girls in communities throughout the Silicon Valley. 

They are looking for powerful volunteers with a learners' attitude who believe in girls and the power they have to change the world! 

Timeline for being a coach:

  • Complete a GFC Coach application and a Coach interview, receive orientation packet and be fingerprinted.
  • January 19th from 9a-5p and January 20th from 9a-1p – Attend Coach orientation (mandatory for all volunteers).
  • January-May – Meet once per week with your Girl Action Team (fulfill 14 meetings)
  • June - Completion and Celebration with your Girl Action Team!

For an application and more information such as qualifications and benefits please go to or visit their website at and click on the Get Involved->Volunteer tab on the home page.

If you have questions or are interested in coaching with Girls For A Change, please contact Tanya Beat, SV Program Director, at 408-515-8147 or

Medical/Education: Fund Raising is needed for a series of Fun, Community events. In collaboration with the Santa Cruz Film Festival, a Community Awareness Campaign for Laughter Yoga in Santa Cruz is planned for the Spring. The program will consisting of Laughter Related Documentaries, Comedy Features & Short Films, Live Comedy, Laughter Yoga Demos and Education about the therapeutic benefits of Laugher. Your support will help mitigate the epidemic proportions of stress related illnesses in our community! (90% of all doctor visits are stress related complaints according to The Center for Disease Control & Prevention). Laughter Yoga is the cutting edge in Preventative Medicine, healing and sustained wellbeing, and it just happens to be a lot of fun, too! Please contact Grace at or call 831-421-9840 to take part in this important work.

Nature: UCSC Arboretum is looking for volunteers!
Volunteer orientation and training will be held on Tuesday, January 8, 2013, 9:30am - 12:00pm and continued Jan. 15, 22, 29, and Feb. 5, 12.

Volunteers are essential to the success of the revered Arboretum. The Arboretum will hold its popular classes starting January 8th and the next 5 consecutive Tuesdays from 9:30 a.m. to noon. Attendance at all classes is encouraged but not required.

The classes presented by Arboretum curators, staff, and volunteers provide an overview of the programs, projects, people and history of the Arboretum as well as an introduction to botany, horticulture, conservation, and propagation. Garden tours and viewing behind-the-scenes operations are part of every class.

Volunteer opportunities include gardening and weeding, nursery work, Norrie's Gift Shop, plant sales, Meet and Greet, fundraising events, and docent training for leading tours.

Meet great people of all ages and backgrounds, work in the beautiful gardens among world-class collections, and support an important community treasure!

Visit their website at and for more information email them at or give them a call at  831-427-2998.

Homelessness: Habitat for Humanity needs your help! The ReStore is located on the Westside of Santa Cruz and is a volunteer driven home improvement store stocked by donations from all over Santa Cruz County.  We are open for business on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of each week from 10 -5. We also take volunteers on Wednesday, which is our warehouse day. At the store you can expect to do a few different things from managing the floor, assisting with donation intake, and assisting people find what they want in the store. We have two shifts each day, one from 10 -2 to 1 -5. No experience is necessary. We are also always looking for people who would like to become more involved and be interns.

 Another opportunity is the Habitat for Humanity Blake Lane build site. We are currently building three town homes in Scotts Valley, right off of Scotts Valley Dr. The homes are about half way finished. We have volunteers at the site on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week. A typical day starts at 8:30 and ends at 2:30 with lunch provided at noon. All training and tools are provided on site, and no experience is necessary.  The only requirement for the Blake Lane Site is that participants be over 16 year s of age.  Duties can include: sanding, painting, hammering nails, helping with dry wall, working on the roof and many more jobs that go with building a home. We have an onsite construction manager that provides guidance and training for volunteers. Please contact Ginger Haggerty at or at 831.469-4663.

Children/Youth/Education: Youth N.O.W. provides a place for South Santa Cruz County middle and high school youth to catch, up, explore new ways of viewing the world or simply hang out. We have opportunities for you to serve others, build a skill and make a new connection. Volunteer are needed to assist in their tutoring and academic support programs and their creativity programs as well. Applications are available on line at Please contact Volunteer Coordinator, Missy Nielsen, at 831-768-7998.

P.S. Youth N.O.W. will provide transportation stipend and letters of recommendations to qualified students.

Nature/Environment: The California Native Plant Society is a volunteer group working to restore native habitat in the parks and protected lands in Santa Cruz County. Their program provides an opportunity for people to learn about the natural systems that surround them while helping to restore special and wild places. No prior work experience is necessary, just show up at the park. They welcome individual volunteers from 8 to 80 years, as well as special group projects. Wear comfortable layered clothing, bring something to drink, and lots of enthusiasm! They work rain or shine, but if things get particularly unpleasant, they will call it a day. Tools provided; bring gloves.
Contact: Program Leader, Linda Brodman 831.462.4041,

FUTURE PROJECTS: Mark your calendars!

December 22, 2012               10 am to 12 noon
Twin Lakes State Park

January 5, 2013                    10 am to 1 pm
Gray Whale Ranch State Park

January 12, 2013                 10 am to 1 pm
Quail Hollow Ranch County Park

January 26, 2013                 10 am to 1 pm
Quail Hollow Ranch County Park

February 9, 2013                 10 am to 1 pm
Quail Hollow Ranch County Park

February 23, 2013               10 am to 1 pm
Quail Hollow Ranch County Park

Children/Nutrition/Environment: Farm to School, a program of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers (CAFF), provides volunteers or interns the opportunity to help connect kids to local farms, support local agriculture, and teach kids about healthy eating practices. 

Volunteers can get involved with Farm to School in several ways:

  1. Visit schools on a weekly basis to get kids excited about healthy eating and local food systems
  2. Help develop nutrition education materials for elementary school students
  3. Help prepare boxes of local produce to be delivered to classrooms in the region

For more information or to sign up, check out their blog at or email them at!

Law: The Watsonville Law Center is currently looking for volunteers. The mission of the Watsonville Law Center is to provide low-income families and individuals equal access to justice by assisting them to understand, exercise and enforce their rights.

Volunteer Duties:

  • Conduct legal interviews at Legal Clinic appointments
  • Compile and present the client case to advising attorneys
  • Receive and deliver legal advice from the advising attorneys to the client.
  • Clinics are conducted on Tuesday and Thursday evenings (must be
    available at least one of these days)
  • Student will also undertake various tasks related to client cases

Most Legal Clinics take place in Watsonville. The WLC is open to sponsoring students for class credit. Qualifications Required:

  • Bilingual (Spanish and English)
  • 6 hours per week availability. Please contact Adriana Melgoza at or at 831-722.2845 for more information.

Women/ Children & Youth: The Walnut Ave Women's Center is offering training for several of their programs including their Child Advocate Program, their Family Literacy Program, their Domestic Violence Department and their Youth Department. Pre-registration is required so please contact Volunteer Coordinator Denise Gonsalves at 831-426-3062 to register or to simply learn more about the different programs. Visit their website at

Children/Youth/Women: Girls For A Change (GFC) empowers young women in middle school and high school to create social change in their communities. GFC is seeking for women volunteer coaches to guide girls through the process of identifying an issue in their community and then designing a project that creates change around that issue. Coaching with GFC means working with girls for 14 meetings, showing them they are important and powerful, and how to create change. The commitment is approximately 20 hours per month and includes one and a half hour meeting with the girls each week. They are currently recruiting coaches for Spring 2013. Volunteers must complete an application and attend orientation. To learn more information about this incredible opportunity, please contact Tanya Beat at 408.515.8147 or

Animals/Education: The Santa Cruz County Animal Shelter needs you!
Are you passionate about empowering youth and caring for the county's most needy animals? Then they need you! The Volunteer Center is launching a new program that trains volunteer leaders to supervise small groups of youth volunteers (ages 11-18) working at the animal shelter. Together, leaders and volunteers will offer dogs and cats some much needed TLC and provide basic training to the animals.  Without volunteer leaders, youth can't volunteer in the shelter and they miss out on this great opportunity to make life better for animals in our community. Leaders will develop resume-building leadership experience, and community references. Leaders should be responsible, mature and enthusiastic volunteers (20 years or older preferred) who can commit to a minimum six months of volunteering at either the Live Oak or Watsonville locations. Training will be provided. No advance experience is required. Volunteer leaders/mentors can lead a recurring shift as often as twice per week (typically weekday evenings or Saturdays), or as little as once per month. We hope you will join us for this exciting and rewarding volunteer opportunity to empower youth and support animals in our community.

Are you ready to step up as a volunteer in a leadership role? Please write to or call 831.427.5070 and ask for Laney.

Hunger: Each year Ag Against Hunger feeds over three million low-income people and distributes millions of pounds fresh nutritious surplus produce throughout the West Coast. Ag Against Hunger is looking for help with data entry in Excel. More new gleaning volunteers have come out this year than ever before! While that means they have been able to pick more food, unfortunately, they now need help keeping track of all their information. If you or someone you know would like to volunteer an hour or two, please call their office at 831-755-1480 or email Lindsay at

Elderly/Art/Culture: Sunshine Villa's philosophy of service encourages an active and independent senior lifestyle that supports residents' privacy and dignity. Sunshine Villa is always looking for volunteers who like working with seniors. Volunteers are needed to socialize with seniors with a word game, art, or any socializing activity. Seniors always love the company of young people. Contact Rachael Magyar at 831-459-8400 or at

Women/Youth: Siena House Maternity Home of Santa Cruz County provides an environment of support for women experiencing a crisis pregnancy. They provide a safe, secure, and loving home where women may live while preparing to have their babies. Volunteers are needed to help with administrative assistance, drive residents to appointments, hold babies, help residents with chores and cooking, teach classes/lead chapel, garden, and act as friends and mentors to the women. Contact Sharron Rudell at for more information. 

Youth/Social Services/Homeless: The Jesus Mary and Joseph Home is a long-term shelter for women, children, and terminally ill. Volunteers are needed to assist in children's activities (storytelling, playground, art groups), household cleaning, baking/cooking class, gardening, and administration. Flexible scheduling, but "must be peaceful and compassionate".  Contact Pat Gorman at or (831) 459-8046

Happy volunteering!

Student Volunteer Center
University of California, Santa Cruz

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