10 Best Places to Volunteer in L.A. When it Isn't the Holidays
It seems as though the subject of volunteering always makes headlines during the holidays — but what about the rest of the year? Recently a friend reminded me that the key to happiness is being of service to others. It's easy for us to be so consumed by our daily routines that we forget about the importance of giving back — even if it's only an hour of our time. As summer approaches and more of us have more free time, here are some amazing organizations here in Los Angeles to consider volunteering for.
Courtesy the Trevor Project
1. The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is the only national, accredited suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization serving LGBTQ youth ages 13 to 24. Qualified volunteers and counselors work in various programs, including the Trevor Lifeline, a 24/7 phone line, in which volunteers answer calls from youth who might feel depressed or suicidal, or need a safe place to vent where they won’t feel judged. Volunteers also can be trained to answer texts and instant messages through TrevorChat/TrevorText, as well as to support Trevor’s safe, online community at trevorspace.org. Other volunteer opportunities include event coordinating, administrative work and community engagement. It's currently looking for volunteers for upcoming pride events. thetrevorproject.org.
Courtesy InsideOUT Writers
2. InsideOUT Writers
An IOW student is quoted as saying, “I have exchanged my weapon for a pen, my battlefield for a blank page." InsideOUT Writers is an organization whose mission is to reduce the juvenile recidivism rate by providing a range of services that evolves to meet the needs of currently and formerly incarcerated youth, using creative writing as a catalyst for personal transformation. Thirty-nine weekly classes are held in four juvenile detention centers in the Los Angeles area, with volunteer teachers leading each class. If you're an educator, screenwriter, poet, author or journalist looking to inspire change through creative writing, this is the organization for you. insideoutwriters.org.
Groceryships is an organization whose mission is to provide long-term health and wellness to low-income families and communities. It gives scholarships to families to buy fruits, vegetables and whole grains, in addition to offering classes on healthy eating and support groups for overcoming food addiction. Volunteering opportunities include health coaching, event planning and research, among others. groceryships.org.
Courtesy the Midnight Mission
4. The Midnight Mission
Located in the heart of Skid Row, the Midnight Mission is the premier provider of life-changing services to people experiencing homelessness. For men, women and children, it offers emergency services, 12-step recovery, family living, job training, education and workforce-development programs, in order to build the bridge to achieve the accountability and structure that homeless people need to be healthy and productive. Volunteer opportunities include serving meals, event preparation, tutoring, providing legal services, tax preparation and motivational speaking. Calling all lawyers, CPAs and psychologists, and anyone who loves to motivate. midnightmission.org.
Courtesy Best Friends Animal Society
5. Best Friends Animal Society
Sometimes the only thing a pet needs is your love and affection. There are hundreds of cats, dogs, kittens and puppies that need caring for in the Greater Los Angeles area. Best Friends Animal Society does everything from rescuing these animals and providing medical care to spreading the word about adoption and fostering under the coalition called NKLA (No Kill Los Angeles), preventing hundreds of deaths at shelters. Volunteer opportunities include participating in puppy play groups, administrative or clinical work, coordinating fundraisers and participating in mobile adoption events. bestfriends.org.
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