Why volunteer? Why me?

Here are lots of reasons to volunteer... to learn about an organization or business community that interests you, to help others, to learn about other people and to learn about yourself. Volunteering provides you with an opportunity to understand more about the community around you and allows you to meet new people and gain experiences you may not normally have. In addition, volunteering can contribute to community service hours, and is something you can put on your college or job applications.

Whatever your reason.. once you decide that volunteering is for you.. the next step is finding a place to volunteer! Check out our list of places in San Joaquin County where you can volunteer.

Here are some ideas for places to start looking (and make sure you use the local phone book or our Community Resource Directory to help you find some of these places!)

Local Food Banks and Homeless Shelters

If you live in or near a large community, chances are you will be able to locate a local homeless shelter or food bank. Most welcome volunteers, and will have a variety of activities and programs that you can become involved with.

State and Local Parks:

State and Local Parks may offer volunteer programs that include everything from educational programs to maintenance. You can contact a state park, or your city offices for local parks and recreation departments to find out what opportunities there are.

City Programs:

Cities are made up of many departments that provide a wide variety of opportunities for volunteering. When looking for an opportunity in your town or community, make sure you call each of the different departments. You can check your phonebook for a complete listing.

Public Library:

Your local library offers programs for reading, and during the summer, volunteers for story telling, tutors and general assistance are usually available. Some libraries have training programs for a wide variety of volunteer positions.


Hospitals often have volunteer programs to help patients inside and outside of the hospital. This is a good place to explore careers in the medical field while gaining work experience.

Senior Citizen Centers and Convalescent Hospitals
Many senior citizen centers offer volunteer programs to provide friendship and activities for senior citizens.

Animal Shelters:

Most local animal shelters are non-profit or government organizations and they welcome volunteers for taking care of the animals, cleaning the facilities and working with the public.

Public Organizations (Habitat for Humanity, Red Cross, United Way, Special Olympics, Salvation Army):

Many organizations require volunteers, and have training programs in various skills to encourage participation and assistance.

Environmental Organizations (Sierra Club etc.):

These organizations encourage volunteer support to assist with environmental activities. You may help by lobbying on conservation issues, leading hikes or other activities or by pitching in at a local Chapter Office.

Political Campaigns:

This is an election year, and there are thousands of opportunities to volunteer in political campaigns around the country. You can learn a lot by watching a political campaign (even if your candidate is not the winner!).


Many churches will have volunteer opportunities, and some will have other ideas on how you can get involved.. learn something.. gain experience and make a difference.

All you have to do.. is Ask!

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