The community has been so supportive of our El Dorado Hills, CA orthodontic office and it’s only right we spread the love in return. That’s why the team and I are always dreaming up ways to help those in need like creating awesome t-shirts to support CASA El Dorado or challenging area dental offices to our annual pumpkin carving contest to benefit local charities.
We’re not the only ones who are dedicated to giving back either. Plenty of our patients participate in our efforts and many even find their own ways to lend a helping hand. There’s nothing that makes us happier than seeing our young patients embrace the spirit of making the community a better place at an early age.
There’s a reason why “Give” is a part of our “Live.Smile.Give.Repeat” motto. We’re firm believers in introducing kids to volunteerism because it teaches them powerful lessons and helps shape them into amazing humans. I remember when I first became involved with volunteering at our local hospital with my sister. After the hospital had taken such great care of our mom, it was a wonderful opportunity for us to give back and help others that were in need. Volunteering was eye opening and it took my small world view and life experiences and made them both a bit bigger. It helped me realize that “it” wasn’t all about me, and that the our ability to make someone’s day a little better is something very powerful that we have full control over. Now that school is back in, and you might have some volunteering hours that you need to fulfill, why not get involved in family and youth volunteer opportunities in Sacramento and the surrounding area? Not sure where to start? Jeffrey Kwong Orthodontics has your back! Here are some local EDH and Sacramento-area organizations where kids and teens can volunteer:
1. El Dorado Hills Community Services District (EDHCSD)– Various Locations, El Dorado Hills – Our beloved CSD has a variety of adult and youth volunteer opportunities in El Dorado Hills, including ongoing positions, as well as short-term and one-time activities. Kids and families can help with special events, senior citizen activities, adopt-a-park, sports, general services and more. Fill out a volunteer application and submit it to CSD Volunteer Coordinator Becky Vorster at [email protected] or at 1021 Harvard Way.
2. The Sacramento Zoo – 3930 West Land Park Drive, Sacramento – The Sacramento Zoological Society, a nonprofit organization, took over responsibility for the zoo in 1957. Since then, they’ve been in charge of fundraising to cover the cost of animal care, as well as conservation and education programs. The zoo is dedicated to conserving species and habitats around the world and is home to more than 500 endangered, native and rare animals. Visitors, members, donors and volunteers make their efforts possible. Teenagers, aged 15 and up, can become a general Sacramento Zoo volunteer, which includes greeting and assisting guests at the front gate, cleaning up the grounds, helping at special events and other special projects. Find out more or complete an application here.
There are also Sacramento Zoo volunteer opportunities specifically geared towards teenagers. They have a Zoo Teens program that runs from August through May for those ages 13 through 19. Zoo Teens are charged with using activity stations to inspire visitors to become better stewards of the Earth. They also help at special events, make animal enrichments and participate in I Heart Sacramento Zoo Day. Get the scoop here. Additionally, adolescents from 15- to 19-years-old can serve as summer camp counselors at the zoo. They teach children, ages four through 14, through songs and games, classes, tours and more. Stay tuned for applications to open for summer 2019 camp counselors!
3. El Dorado County Habitat for Humanity or Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento – Various Locations – Habitat for Humanity creates affordable housing for families in need. El Dorado County Habitat for Humanity has a variety of volunteer positions for people of all ages, as well as groups. Fill out the volunteer form here. Volunteers are needed for construction projects, the ReStore, fundraising, special events, office help and more. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento offers similar Sacramento community service opportunities, however, volunteers have to be 16-years-old and up to volunteer on a job site. Sign-up here.
4. Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services – 3333 Third Avenue, Sacramento (Family Services Campus) and 1951 Bell Avenue, Sacramento (Food Bank Services Campus)– Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services has tons of openings for people of all ages who want to help. Sacramento Food Bank volunteer opportunities for youth include food bagging and sorting (minimum age of 10). The Family Services campus has positions for kiddos too, such as volunteering at the demonstration garden (minimum age of 10), sorting and distributing parent and baby supplies in the boutique (10 and up), sorting, hanging, bagging and giving out donated clothing (minimum age of 10) and more. Browse the full list of volunteer opportunities.
5. Team Celebrate – El Dorado Hills – Team Celebrate is an awesome organization started by a high school student Lizzie Allison who also serves as the president. The nonprofit organizes personalized birthday parties for foster children in the Sacramento area with the help of volunteers and partners. There aren’t many things more magical than a birthday celebration and a lot of youth in foster care have never had one. Team Celebrate has El Dorado Hills, CA volunteer opportunities for kids through its Kid Ambassador Program. Youngsters can become a Birthday Hero by doing one of the following service projects:
- Hosting a wrapping party or supply drive at their school or church (gather supplies for a party or work as a team to assemble and wrap birthday boxes)
- Putting together a fundraiser with their sports team
- Donating their own birthday gifts to foster kids (ask guests at your birthday party to bring gift cards, toys or party supplies for the program in lieu of gifts)
- Creating birthday boxes with their Girl Scout or Boy Scout troop, church or school group (birthday boxes include everything needed for a birthday party, such as decorations, snacks, a box of cake mix and frosting, games, a handmade card and a present)
When kids complete their service project, they even get a Birthday Hero t-shirt, certificate of achievement and wristband. Visit Team Celebrate’s website for specifics.
6. Lend a Heart Animal-Assisted Therapy – Sacramento – This all-volunteer, nonprofit organization offers animal-assisted therapy services to different facilities and has programs in El Dorado, Placer, Sacramento, and Sutter and Yolo Counties. Volunteers visit places like hospitals, libraries, senior living and long-term care facilities, recovery centers and schools with well-trained therapy animals. Since kids 10-years-old and up can participate along with a parent or guardian, it makes for a great volunteer opportunity in Sacramento for families. You can bring the family cat, dog or rabbit if they meet certain criteria. Kids can apply to be a junior handler after going through the Lend a Heart training program or volunteer as a non-handler. Check out the steps to join Lend a Heart here.
7. Special Olympics Northern California – Multiple Locations – Special Olympics Northern California provides hope and enrichment to more than 22,780 children and adults with intellectual disabilities through sports, athlete health and education. The minimum age for most youth volunteer opportunities in Sacramento and the surrounding communities is 10-years-old. Minors between the ages of 10 and 15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. There are openings for day-of-event volunteers, as well as other positions. Volunteers are needed for scorekeeping, timing, presenting awards at competitions, assisting coaches during practice, lunch service and general office work. The El Dorado County program offers training and competitions in 10 sports, if you’re looking for something close to home. Search for upcoming events and opportunities here.
8. El Dorado County Library – Multiple Branches (including our very own El Dorado Hills Library) – The El Dorado County Library system has volunteer opportunities for teens and adults at its various branches. Positions range from providing assistance with special projects and events to re-shelving materials and pulling holds for patrons. Fill out an application. Note that teen applications will need the signature of a parent or legal guardian.
9. Marshall Medical Center – 1100 Marshall Way, Placerville – Kick off your volunteering career at a hospital like I did! Marshall Medical Center in Placerville has a year-round Junior Volunteer Program for teens aged 14 to 18. Volunteers greet and escort patient and visitors and offer assistance to patients, visitors and hospital staff for six hours per month on evenings and weekends. It’s a great chance to be a positive part of patients’ experiences and help them feel more comfortable. To join the program, teens will have to attend a volunteer information session with a parent or guardian, as well as an orientation program. The hospital also asks that volunteers complete a medical clearance, submit a letter recommendation form and do some department-specific training. See the full list of requirements and sign up here.
10. Front Street Animal Shelter – 2127 Front Street, Sacramento – The City of Sacramento’s animal shelter on Front Street gives shelter and care to abandoned cats, dogs, rabbits and other animals with the ultimate goal of finding them a safe and loving home. They also educate pet owners, administer a rabies control program, rescue animals and keep lost pets safe until they can be reunited with their families. Volunteers are always needed to help with morning cleaning, working in the pet food pantry, socializing cats, training the dogs, fostering animals, assisting with fundraisers, special events and projects, and more.
Teen volunteers, aged 12 to 15, can participate with the supervision of a parent or guardian. Teenagers 16-years-old and up can become a Sacramento animal shelter volunteer without adult supervision. Get the details and fill out an application online. Children under the age of 12 can’t volunteer at the shelter site but they can help the shelter with community projects like donation drives, putting together pet treat bags, and making cat mobiles and cat mats. Take a look at the shelter’s wish list to see the types of items they’re in need of.
11. Sacramento Valley Conservancy – Multiple Locations –The Sacramento Valley Conservancy is dedicated to preserving open space and protecting the beauty, diversity and character of the Sacramento Valley landscape. They have a number of Sacramento volunteer opportunities for kids and teens and there is no minimum age to get involved (volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian). There are service projects at Deer Creek Hills Preserve (Latrobe Road, Sloughhouse) twice a year where attendees help with trail building and maintenance, fence repair, sign hanging, pulling weeds and general cleanup projects. Contact the SVC program assistant at (916) 612-3719 or at [email protected] to sign-up. Every Saturday, there are also service projects at Camp Pollock (1501 Northgate Blvd, Sacramento) that involve weeding, native plantings, general lawn and native garden maintenance, painting, general maintenance and cleanup projects. Email [email protected] to register.
12. Triple-R Adult Day Program – Multiple Locations in Sacramento – Triple-R offers resources for families and recreation for senior citizens with memory loss through their adult day program, which is operated by the City of Sacramento. The program’s youth volunteer opportunities in Sacramento (Greenhaven, Midtown and North Sacramento) include activities such as games, cooking, crafts, music, walks, dancing, exercise and visiting with seniors to provide companionship. The minimum age for volunteers is 14. For more information, email Chantell Albers at [email protected] or call (916) 808-8375.
13. Fat Kitty City – El Dorado Hills – The Agee Memorial Wildlife Fund, Inc. is a nonprofit focused on helping animals through spaying, neutering, socializing and adopting. It also operates a sanctuary called Fat Kitty City, which is a 20-acre natural environment for abandoned and feral cats, as well as a few dogs. Fat Kitty City has an El Dorado Hills youth volunteer program. Kids can help clean the sanctuary, foster cats with their family, socialize specific cats, and assist with fundraising, creating adoption fliers and with adoptions at PetSmart or Petco. The organization is also looking for students who are talented at art or who have computer skills. Learn more here.
14. Soil Born Farms – 2140 Chase Drive, Rancho Cordova – Soil Born Farms is a center for health, food and the environment located on the 55-acre American River Ranch in Rancho Cordova. The nonprofit serves the Sacramento area, growing food, mentoring future farmers and youth, teaching people how to garden and cook, creating urban farms, preserving wild spaces, growing school gardens and improving access to fresh produce. There are lots of fun community service opportunities for children and teens in Sacramento and the neighboring communities. Volunteers can join the year-round garden team or participate in culinary arts, school garden support or fruit tree harvesting and care. The minimum age to volunteer is 10-years-old and kids under the age of 15 must be accompanied by an adult. Volunteer jobs change seasonally, so keep an eye on the schedule to see what opportunities are available.
15. Wellspring Women’s Center – 3414 4th Avenue, Sacramento – This daytime, drop-in program for low-income, homeless and vulnerable women and their children serves a healthy breakfast from 7:30 to 11:30am every weekday and a light lunch. Wellspring also has other services, including its Children’s Corner, which is filled with learning opportunities and activities for little ones, safety net services that provide women with necessities, counseling, social work, art therapy, parenting classes, case management and referrals. Wellspring takes up to 12 volunteers per day, ages 14 and up, to help prepare meals, serve food, work in the Children’s Corner, bag things like diapers and toiletries, and greet guests. To sign-up, contact Terri Tork at (916) 454-9688 ext. 202 or [email protected].
For even more opportunities, the City of Sacramento put together an outstanding resource that lists all of the organizations that accept youth volunteers broken down by interest. Take a look at the Youth Volunteer Directory and let’s make giving back a part of what we do daily!