With the season of giving approaching, it seems to be the ideal time to consider community service opportunities. Here’s a look at our top five:
Description: “Anyone who has an interest in libraries and books” can volunteer at the County of Los Angeles Public Library. You may be sorting library materials, cleaning displays, lending a hand with children programs, or raising awareness and money for the library.
Why It’s Good: If you would like to do community service after school, this is a suitable option, especially if you particularly enjoy the environment of a library. People of all ages and a variety of skills can volunteer. This opportunity offers a lot of flexibility.
Description: Volunteers help run the food pantry and give out groceries to low-income families. Students ages 16 and older can volunteer independently on Saturday from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Those who are younger that 16 must volunteer with an adult chaperone.
Why It’s Good: St. Francis Center has been providing for Los Angeles since 1972. If you volunteer often, you will get the chance to directly interact with the families. It is not a long term commitment necessarily, although it can be, and you can look at the volunteer calendar to sign up for any of the dates available.
Description: Teens 14 and older may volunteer to be on the Adopt & Shop team. You may be responsible for cleaning, counseling for adoptions, socializing cats and dogs, taking photos of available pets, and uploading photos onto the website. One requirement is that you commit to eight hours per month at least for six months.
Why It’s Good: This requires commitment, but is a great opportunity to surround yourself in an environment you love and to help out with animals. Found Animals Foundation appreciates their volunteers and even features those with the most hours. As the website says, if you both care for animals and “want to make a difference in their lives,” then this is perfect for you.
Description: The Bresee Foundation facilitates student tutoring. They need volunteers who are 16 and older with basic English and Math skills to tutor younger children. You must commit to volunteering once a week for at least one semester. Volunteers may tutor Monday to Friday from 4 to 6 pm.
Why It’s Good: No higher degree or qualification is required, and you get the opportunity to teach elementary subjects to young students in Los Angeles. Though it is a greater commitment, you are given a very flexible schedule that allows you to choose which days you are free to help.
5) Do Good Bus
Description: When you volunteer to get on the Do Good Bus, the agency sends information regarding how long the ride will be and other logistics. Then you and others, who are likely strangers, are driven to one or more stops where you will be helping out. Their website explains that “each trip is different and the locations are a secret. You never know where you’ll end up and what you might end up doing.” The goal in this set up is to “allow volunteers to show up with an open mind ready to help.” They have public community rides every month, normally for four hours on a Saturday, and they also offer hosted rides for private groups.
Why It’s Good: This is an extremely unique opportunity. It would be ideal for someone who is okay with the “element of surprise” and who enjoys the chance to go and simply help out without any preceding problems in organizing—particularly if your ever-changing schedule does not allow for long term commitments.