Many schools now require students to perform a certain number of volunteer hours as a condition of graduation. Below is a list of organizations and/or events where kids may be able to earn community service credit.
Many nonprofit organizations have need, sometimes daily, for competent office help, usually filing, photocopying, answering phones, etc. You may wish to call some of the organizations mentioned below and find out what type of volunteer opportunities they have. If you have any experience in office work, or with computers or answering phones, be sure to mention that. Other opportunities may exist in helping a group plan or give a large event, which are usually fun. Web site addresses are included whenever possible - please be aware that addresses and phone numbers can change often and may not be accurate now.
Click here to access a printable PDF of Volunteer Opportunitites for Youth in LA.
AIDS Project Los Angeles
AIDS Project Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization working with people living with AIDS and HIV and other related issues. High school volunteers assist with mailings and office work and with phone banks Sunday - Thursday 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. They have many events throughout the year, the two biggest being the AIDS Dance-A-Thon in April and AIDS Walk L.A. in October and always need volunteers to work at the events as well as to participate.
Phone: (213.201.1600) for info about AIDS Walk only, call (213.201.9255)
American Red Cross (Los Angeles Bureau)
If you are at least 14 years old, you can volunteer and make a difference in your community. The American Red Cross offers a variety of volunteer positions, from helping out in the office to visiting the elderly. The Red Cross also has Youth in Action groups that meet on a regular basis. These groups focus on leadership development and project planning. Groups are in Burbank, Van Nuys, Santa Clarita, South Bay, Inglewood and East L.A.
California Science Center
If you are 16 or older, love science, feel comfortable working with the public and want to do something positive for yourself and your community, then consider volunteering at the California Science Center. You may assist in meeting and greeting arriving guests and school groups, or assist the museum's curators with plant and animal life, events, and clerical support. California Science Center is in Exposition Park.
Phone: (323.724.3623) / (323-SCIENCE)
Children Helping Poor and Homeless People
This organization is located in Venice, California and has many volunteer opportunities.
Phone: (310.840.4777) or (800.333.4349)
Education Through Music - Los Angeles
Education Through Music-Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing high quality music education to students in disadvantaged schools throughout Los Angeles County. Volunteers interested in working in the office can expect to assist with: creating social media content; mailings; filing and organizing; photography and videography; designing flyers, etc. Those interested in working with kids can be teaching assistants in our various after-school music programs, helping teachers take attendance, encourage and support students, and take inventory of instruments.
Contact: Anthonia Ibrahim, firstname.lastname@example.org
Weekend and evening meetings for youth aged 14 to 21 to learn about firefighters and paramedics and their equipment. Graduates of the program can ride along with firefighters and assist in non-emergency situations. To apply, contact your local Los Angeles City or County fire station. You can also write to city program at: The Los Angeles Fire Department Explorer Program Coordinator 200 North Main Street Los Angeles, CA 90012 USA, or you can fill out a form online at the County website at…
Friends of the Los Angeles River
Friends of the LA River is an organization that does a clean-up of the Los Angeles River yearly in May, and other studies and projects throughout the year.
Habitat for Humanity
Habitat for Humanity is an organization that sponsors homebuilding and coordinates volunteer teams to help the prospective home-owners do the work.
Phone (Los Angeles): (213.975.9757)
Phone (Valley): (818.897.0940)
Heal the Bay
Heal the Bay is a non-profit in Santa Monica dedicated to improving and cleaning up the Santa Monica Bay.
Phone: (310.453.0395) or (1.800.HEALBAY)
Housing Options for People to Excel. Working with the Low Income and Elderly United Community Assistance Program and the Venice Community Housing Corporation, offers 24 hour emergency care, shelter, transitional housing job training and counseling to low income/displaced families and individuals, the elderly and single mothers with children.
Learn about Latino culture and practice your Spanish as well! Seeking motivated men and women of any age looking to improve their Spanish skills through conversation. Volunteers will be matched up with students in South Central LAMP's ESL classes who wish to practice their English through conversation. Qualifications: Beginning to advanced level Spanish. Positive attitude and a willingness to learn. Time Commitment: One hour or more a week
Contact: Patricia Barry 323-234-1471
Fred Jordan Mission
Fred Jordan Mission is an organization dedicated to working with and feeding the homeless. They do big events around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. If you want to participate in a holiday event, it is important to sign up early. People have been turned away in the past.
Los Angeles Jewish AIDS Services
LA Jewish AIDS Services is a project of Jewish Family Services of Los Angeles and provides services to people living with AIDS. One of their ongoing projects is called Operation Chicken Soup. Twice a month, volunteers get together to cook and deliver about a week’s worth of food to clients of this program. Teenagers are welcome to participate and often do.
Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce
Sponsors many community service events throughout Los Angeles including the Foster Family Picnic and the Nissan Open Golf Tournament.
Los Angeles Mission
This is a homeless outreach program. High school volunteers may serve guests in the dining room Mon.-Sat. There are also large events at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Los Angeles Regional Food Bank
A non-profit organization that is committed to revitalizing Los Angeles by making it easy for people to get involved in their communities through volunteer service. They offer many community service events all year long, all over Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley. Their big event is LA Works Day, usually in June, a city-wide neighborhood cleanup event.
Los Angeles Youth Volunteering
Mayor Garcetti's Volunteer Corps Program
MEND stands for Meet Each Need with Dignity. It is a non-profit that helps people in need with clothing and food and other services. They have a store front office in the heart of Pacoima and also make home visits.
These are citywide cleanup days, always in October, sponsored by LAPD. Call the Community Police Station or Service Center in your area. Clean up days are different in each area.
Phone (West Valley): (818.756.8063)
Phone (The Central Bureau/Rampart, Crenshaw): (213.485.2651)
Phone (The West Bureau/Hollywood, Wilshire): (213.237.0083)
Phone (The South Bureau/Harbor, South Bay): (213) 485-4255.
Phone (Pacific division/Westside): (310.202.4524)
Weekend classes for youths aged 14 to 20 at the police academy teach basic law enforcement techniques. Graduates of the three-month program are assigned to local divisions to work parades, marathons and other community events. You can also apply by contacting the Youth Services officer at any LAPD station. If you are able to access the Los Angeles Police Department website, follow the links to youth programs, and then law enforcement explorer programs. The site lists phone numbers and contact persons for the 17 communities that have explorer programs.
Project Angel Food
Project Angel Food is a non-profit organization providing hot, nutritious meals to people with HIV/AIDS. Project Angel Food is funded almost entirely by private donations and relies on volunteers to prepare and deliver meals to clients. Orientation is held every Wednesday evening at their offices in the Hollywood area.
Rebuilding Together (with Christmas in April)
Rebuilding Together (formerly Christmas in April) is an organization that selects homes in South Central Los Angeles that need refurbishing and sometimes even rebuilding. Teams of volunteers are organized, along with professional builders, painters, carpenters and plumbers (as needed) and sent to different locations to do the work, all in one day (No experience necessary). The Fulfillment Fund has participated for the last five years. We have painted and landscaped both a school and four different private homes. It has been fun and rewarding for everyone involved. We will most likely have a team every year. In the meantime, the organization operates all year round preparing for this event.
The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council
Santa Monica Trails Council has regularly scheduled maintenance days for the many trails throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. These are always on Saturdays, and there are no cleanups in July or August. If you want to get a copy of their schedule just call
Phone: (310.589.2400 x123)
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
Youth aged 12 and up can be animal care givers working in the shelter, cleaning kennels, feeding and exercising animals and assisting kennel attendants with the public. Youth under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult.
The Starlight Foundation
The Starlight foundation is an international non-profit founded in 1983. Starlight grants special wishes to critically, severely chronic or terminally ill children, and provides entertainment and recreational activities for hospitalized pediatric patients.
TreePeople’s mission is to inspire the people of Los Angeles to take personal responsibility for the urban forest- educating, training and supporting them as they plant and care for trees and improve the neighborhoods in which they live, work and play. TreePeople plants throughout L.A. and trains individuals to organize tree plantings in their own areas. Their offices are at the corner of Coldwater Canyon and Mulholland Drive.
Volunteer Bureau of the City of Los Angeles
The Volunteer Bureau places high school students in non-paid internships in many city departments doing research, clerical work, computer programming and other duties over a semester or the summer. Class credit is available. Application forms are available at City Hall.
Volunteer Center of LA
Volunteer Center of LA is an organization that provides volunteers to other organizations. One event that they sponsor that you might be interested in participating in or working on is the Human Race. This is a 5K or 10K race/walk which is always in May. There are also other events throughout the year you may volunteer for. Opportunities are available all over Los Angeles.
Wheels for Humanity
Wheels for Humanity is a non-profit that renovates donated wheelchairs. Wheels for Humanity partners with churches, synagogues and other humanitarian relief organizations around the world to get these recycled wheelchairs to “the poorest of the poor.” They are located in North Hollywood.
INTERNET ONLY SITES:
CBS Los Angeles:
Article listing the best places to volunteer with your kids in LA.
This is a website to search for volunteer opportunities that has a special sections for kids and teens.
Reach Out and Read
Reach Out is another website to search for volunteer opportunities focused on literacy throughout Los Angeles.
Volunteer Match is a website where you can search for volunteer opportunities in your area.
LA Works is a website where you can search for volunteer opportunities in your area, and also by age, interest, and type of event.