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There’s a great tradition in Culver City of volunteering and donating to those in need and to the city as a whole. That caring spirit creates a strong community that benefits everyone. I know for our teen volunteers it can sometimes be challenging to find a way to complete service hours and give back. We hope you will be able to use this page as a jumping off point for volunteering. Please read through the tips below, take a look at the information linked to on the sidebar and check out our twitter feed, which is updated regularly with upcoming volunteer opportunities.
Are you helping because you believe in the cause? Because you think the activity sounds fun? Because your friends or family are helping? It could be because your school requires community service hours. Or you think it would look good on a college application. Guess what? All these reasons are good reasons to help. Find something that you like and care about. It could be the environment, the homeless, seniors, endangered species or anything else. The fact is, if you’re helping a cause you care about, it will be easier to get involved and to make a difference!
Identify what days, and times of days, as well as the first day and last day you are available. Identify how many hours you are hoping to volunteer each week and each month. Most organizations need to know when volunteers are coming in to do tasks.
In many ways, searching for a volunteer opportunity is much like looking for a job. You need to research positions, apply and when accepted, show up on time and work hard. When calling sites be sure to speak clearly. For messages, always leave your name and telephone number. If emailing, be sure to use correct grammar.
99% of volunteer jobs involve an application process of some kind. It may be as simple as signing a waiver for a beach cleanup. It can also be as intense as needing weeks-long training, or getting a fingerprint check and medical tests. It depends on the volunteer activity and position.
Be ready to track volunteering hours yourself. Use a spread sheet or a paper notebook, and write down the name of the organization you assisted, what you did, the day, and how many hours you contributed.
Finally, be sure to enjoy your time volunteering. You are helping your community be a better place!
No, not at all. Even if you only identify two hours a week that you are available, it's helpful for organizations and you. It is important to confirm your agreed upon hours with the organization. Before you make a commitment, take a good look at your schedule and your life, and make sure it’s a commitment you can keep. A good tip is that it’s easier to start slow and then add more than the other way around.
Do not show up at a site unannounced. Organizations do not have tasks sitting around waiting for volunteers. Contact your chosen organization at least three weeks before the date you want to start.
You will be responsible for your transportation to and from a site for volunteering. Start thinking about your transportation now. Will you take mass transit? Ride a bicycle? Walk? If someone is going to drive you, confirm with the person that he or she is available during the volunteer hours.
Be as specific as possible about what you need and can offer. You can mention some of the items above such as schedule and why you want to volunteer there.
If you are in High School do NOT have a parent, teacher or counselor call on your behalf. That tells the organization that you aren’t serious about volunteering yourself. Would you hire someone who sent their Mom to the job interview?
You will need to call and email several places to get an appointment for an interview. It may take 3-4 weeks or even more before you start volunteering even if you call right away. Do not think you are going to call a place today and be volunteering tomorrow morning. Keep track of the places you contact and who you speak to so that you can follow-up if you don’t hear anything.
You will need to go through an organization's formal application and orientation process. Always get the okay from the organization about your start date. You will have to be trained for just about any volunteering you want to do, but training will be counted as a part of your volunteering time by whomever may be interested in such (a university, a court, a school, etc.).
If you are under 18, you will have to get a parent or guardian to sign a permission slip permitting you to volunteer. You will get this permission slip from the organization that wants you to volunteer. If you are under 16, it will be harder to find volunteering opportunities. Many organizations won't involve anyone under 16 for liability reasons.
Volunteer South Bay-- While the Center is located in Torrance, they have a great Youth Service program with some cool programs such as their VolunTEEN Workshops and VIVA Summer Program.
Tree Musketeers—while this non-profit is located in El Segundo, it is known throughout the Southland as a unique non-profit that puts youth volunteers IN CHARGE of its programs and events. They even have a youth Board of Directors.
There are many national, state and local Days of Service which typically feature all-ages activities. Some include:
9/11 Day of Service
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service
Global Youth Service Day
Use the advanced search feature and 1) put in your zip code 2) narrow the “Distance from Location” to either “1 mile” or “5 miles” 3) Under “Great For” click on “Teens” and hit “SEARCH” Once you have your results it says “Sort By” and use the drop down menu to select “Distance” - this way you will get local opportunities.
Use the advanced search feature and 1) put in your zip code 2) use the “Distance” drop-down menu and change to “Within 5 Miles” 3) put in dates if you’d like and hit “SEARCH”
The Los Angeles-only volunteer database
Most folks use Idealist to find internships in college or jobs with non-profits after graduating, but they DO list volunteer opportunities as well, just not too many. Choose “Volunteer Opps” in the drop down menu under “What Are You Looking For?” and of course type in “Culver City” in the “Where?” box and hit Search.
Go to the Database
Big Sunday’s mission is to build community through community service here in L.A. Join their email list to get the latest news and updates about volunteer opportunities—all of which are ALL ages!
Join Big Sunday Email List
One of the largest global orgs for young people and social change. As many of their campaigns are “Do It Yourself,” be sure to check with a counselor or teacher if you’re Doing Something for community service hours and make sure they’ll be accepted.
Do Something Information
Their goal is to inspire, equip and mobilize youth to take action that changes the world and themselves through service. On the bottom right of the page below is a “Join Now” button—it’s free!
As a City Year AmeriCorps member, you’ll spend 11-months serving hands-on with students, supporting them both inside and outside the classroom. You will play a pivotal role in helping them reach graduation and beyond. You must be between the ages of 17 and 24 at the start of the next Corps year to apply.
Los Angeles Charter
It can be tough for youth and teens to find volunteer opportunities, Jayne’s website gives you lots of DIY service project ideas and some more links
Fine Out More Information