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Volunteer Opportunities in Orange County, California

 
 
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Pretend City Children's Museum 
 
 
 
Pretend City Children's Museum is the first educational facility of its kind in Orange County, representing a small interconnected city. The non-profit museum builds better brains through whole body learning experiences, educational programs and over 15 permanent exhibits. Each exhibit empowers children to learn about and meaningly connect with and expand their world.  Irvine
Council on Aging, Orange County 
 
 
"Linkages – provides case management, information about community resources, and services for frail and functionally impaired adults aged 18 years and older, to prevent or delay premature or inappropriate institutionalization. FAST – Financial Abuse Specialist Team. FAST is a partnership comprised of public and private multi-disciplinary professionals who volunteer their time to facilitate comprehensive services to victims of financial elder abuse. Ombudsman Services – Long-Term Care Ombudsmen protect the rights of the 26,000 older adults living in nearly 800 nursing and board and care homes located throughout Orange County. HICAP – Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Program. HICAP provides Medicare beneficiaries with education and counseling regarding Medicare, supplemental health insurance and HMOs. Caring Connections Friendly Visitor - Provides regularly friendly visit contacts to assigned clients (see brochure). Continuing Education Program – Accredited continuing education programs are presented to allied professionals and the community, featuring topics and issues critical to the support and care of our older adult population and those who serve them. Speakers are also available for community, corporate and professional presentations."  Santa Ana
American Cetacean Society, Orange County Chapter 
 
 
"The American Cetacean Society (ACS) works to protect whales, dolphins, porpoises, and their habitats through education, conservation and research. For it is by educating the public about these amazing animals and the problems they face, that we can best protect them. The Orange County Chapter of the ACS was formed in 1977 by Peter Bryant, Mike Hickey, Dave Beeninga, Dennis Kelly, Barbara Britten, Ganell Baker and others. There are currently approximately 90 members. Become A Naturalist - The Naturalist Training Class is held every year, usually during the month os October and November. There is a fee for the class that includes a one year student membership in ACS/OC. Orange County Chapter Naturalists accompany whalewatch cruises to help educate passengers about the ocean and its inhabitants."  Costa Mesa
Aquarium of the Pacific 
 
 
"Take a journey of discovery through the world's largest ocean at the Aquarium of the Pacific. Meet more than 12,500 animals as you explore sunny Southern California and Baja, the frigid waters of the North Pacific, and the colorful reefs of the Tropical Pacific. Come face-to-face with, and even touch, the ocean's ultimate predators in Shark Lagoon. Join us on a Behind-the-Scenes tour. Experience AnimalVision 3-D, a film that combines stunning state-of-the-art 3-D technology and digital animation while providing important environmental messages for all ages. For a current listing of events before you visit, check out our Upcoming Events page. Save time by purchasing your Tickets Online, or become a member of the Aquarium and enjoy one full year of free admission plus numerous other benefits. Every purchase made at the Aquarium helps support our mission to instill a sense of wonder, respect, and stewardship for the Pacific Ocean, its inhabitants, and ecosystems." Banquet facility can hold up to 2500 people. Their Aquarium on Wheels will travel to your next birthday party!  Long Beach
Assistance League 
 
 
"Assistance League members make a difference in so many ways, providing physical, financial and emotional support to their local communities. Each chapter, auxiliary and guild tailors its programs to meet the specific needs of its community. In addition to the usual programs, many chapters provide day care services, literacy, tutoring and reading programs, dental care for children, docent programs, convalescent hospital programs, children's theater, family service counseling, cultural enrichment programs and hearing, sight and speech centers.... Chapters of Assistance League continue to fulfill the philosophy of volunteer service across the United States through the gift of service to their communities. We are a nonprofit, nonpolitical, nonsectarian organization serving the emotional and physical needs of children and adults of all ages regardless of race or creed."  Anaheim, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Long Beach, Orange, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Tustin, Whittier
Balboa Performing Arts Theater Foundation 
 
 
"The Balboa Theater will be an artistic jewel on the Balboa Peninsula where audiences will enjoy superlative performances of theater, musical theater, dance, classical and jazz music, cinema and children's programs. With an audience capacity of 350 and a beautiful state-of-the-art proscenium stage, the Balboa Theater will attract audiences who value the intimacy and atmosphere of a small venue supported by the highest standards of technology in sound and light equipment."  
Beckman @ Science 
 
 
"Our children's future will be filled with incredible, advanced technologies -- the likes of which we can only dream of today. And it is highly likely that many of these new technologies will be discovered or developed right here in Orange County. Science literacy, therefore, will no longer be an advantage, but an absolute necessity for success. The goal of Beckman @ Science is to prepare Orange County's children for tomorrow's world by making science a core subject throughout their entire elementary school education. The Beckman @ Science program was established through a generous grant from The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, with a primary purpose of assisting Orange County elementary schools in the enhancement of science education. This funding will stimulate schools to teach science as a core subject in grades K-6, so that a passion for scientific exploration can be passed on to a new generation of curious minds. For many it will be the beginning of a lifelong affinity for things scientific. For others, it will be a wondrous start to a life dedicated to extending the boundaries of science and technology. The program operates in five main domains: (1) Providing professional development for elementary, K-6 teachers (2) Offering materials support for teachers using science kits (3) Working with individual school districts through our incentive grants program (4) Evaluating the success of the program and student achievement (5) Educating the community about the need for science education through community outreach" See also Arnold O. Beckman, Ph.D., Beckman Coulter, Inc., Heritage Exhibit, The Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation.  Irvine
Big Brothers & Big Sisters of OC 
 
 
"Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County has been helping disadvantaged, high-risk boys and girls in Orange County make the difficult transition into adulthood for more than forty-six years. There are currently over 150 children in our community who are waiting for a Big Brother or Big Sister; they are desperate for that special person to enter their lives and make a difference. In the last 10 years, we have served over 13,000 at-risk children in Orange County and have seen amazing changes take place in their lives."  Tustin
Blind Children's Learning Center 
 
 
"Blind Children's Learning Center develops the full potential of blind, visually impaired and deaf/blind children and youth to lead independent lives.... The Blind Children's Learning Center is a non-profit organization, we never turn away a child because of inability to pay. This is only possible with the help of donations! You many make donations through cash, in-kind gifts, memorials and bequests, special events and corporate/foundation funds. The Center also offers volunteer opportunities - to work directly with the children or on a special project or committee."  Santa Ana
Braille Institute 
 
 
"Library: Talking Books, Braille Our Library Services makes information accessible through our collection of more than 916,000 volumes on cassette or in braille. Information for new and current patrons is provided. Braille Press Services More than 13 million pages of braille were transcribed, printed and distributed last year. Public Education Free services for people wanting to learn more about blindness, including educational seminars, a selection of free literature and videos, a speakers bureau and technical advisement to the TV and film industries. Programs and Services for an Independent Lifestyle From Child Development programs to classes in independent living skills to Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, click here to find all of our programs and services for people who are visually impaired. Mobile Solutions A schedule of where our traveling display of Braille Institute programs and services will visit next. Vistas Looking for useful everyday items that make life easier for those with little or no vision? Then the new Vistas catalog is for you!"  Anaheim
California Concert Artists 
 
 
"California Concert Artists are Professional Artists In Residence at Irvine Valley College."  Irvine
CARE Capistrano Animal Rescue Effort 
 
 
"As each dog or cat arrives into the programs of CARE, all necessary veterinary care is provided by CARE. All animals are checked by one or more of the Veterinarians helping CARE with a hands on check up including internal parasites, fleas, and ear mites. Each is given treatments and immunizations should they be required. Cats and kittens are checked for both feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukemia. Dogs and puppies are checked for heartworm, and all animals are treated accordingly. Many of our pets come with AVID microchips installed to assist in identification should a disaster strike and they become separated from their new homes. To reduce the pet overpopulation problems, all dogs and cats are spayed/neutered prior to placement into their new permanent homes. Today all of our dogs and cats are placed with CARE foster families, if one is available. Foster families are CARE volunteers who generously open their homes to animals in need. The cats and dugs are provided with a caring, nurturing atmosphere to facilitate their well-being. While in foster care, we gain an understanding of the animals' needs and their personality traits and share this information with potential adopters. Foster homes work with adoption coordinators to match the animals with suitable permanent families. All supplies such as food, dishes, and collars are provided to the foster family by CARE. CARE needs additional foster homes that can provide homes for medium to large size dogs."  San Juan Capistrano
Computers2Schools.org 
 
 
"Image Arts Foundation started its Computers2Schools program in August 2001 after founder Chris Pflanzer noted his daughter's elementary school did not have enough computers for teachers to incorporate technology into their curriculums.... Computers2Schoools collects tons of equipment at each of its events, but not everyone can make it the day of the event. Our program relies on a continuous stream of product. Here is what we can use: *Pentium-level PCs and Macs, servers *Working 15" and larger CRT and LCD displays *Laser printers *Keyboards, mice *Projectors *KVMs, hubs and switches *Power cords, cables, connectors, etc. Aside from computers, we welcome donations of products that would be useful in any office, such as paper, toner/ink cartridges, binders, paper towels, etc."  Buena Park
Court Appointed Special Advocates of Orange County 
 
 
"Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Orange County is a non-profit organization that serves children who, for their own protection, have been removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Judges refer the most serious cases of child abuse and neglect to CASA so that one volunteer can spend time each week with one abused child, build a relationship and bridge the fear that comes with going through the court-dependency process. The unique one-on-one relationship that forms between the volunteer and dependent child is often the only stable, positive relationship the child has. In a sea of social workers, attorneys, therapists and caregivers, it's the court appointed volunteer who is a consistent and caring friend and advocate for the child. Volunteer advocates are a powerful voice for children, advising the court about what the child needs and wants. While providing emotional support and the stability and nurturing every child deserves, they make recommendations that are in the child's best interest."  Santa Ana
Dial 2-1-1 
 
 
"Info Link Orange County to Launch New Health and Human Services Hotline Info Link Orange County has launched its free 2-1-1 phone service effective today, June 30, 2005. Specially trained operators will be able to tell callers where they can get a variety of health and social services, such as emergency housing, food for their family, help overcoming substance abuse, finding a runaway teen, or reporting suspected child abuse.... DIAL 2-1-1 today for – 1/ Referrals to human care resources o Food o Shelter o Child Care o Services for persons with disabilities o Resources for Older Adults and their caregivers o Alcohol and drug services o And much more… 2/ Volunteer Match 3/ Service Providers wanting to be included in our comprehensive database."  
Extra Hands for ALS 
 
 
Available throughout Orange County. "Extra Hands for ALS exists to assist people with ALS and their families, raise public awareness of the disease, energize the ALS community, and introduce young adults to community service.... Through Extra Hands for ALS, high school and college students volunteer to help people with ALS and their families by doing chores and errands or just providing company for the homebound. Students also organize and participate in ALS public awareness events designed to teach their peers and communities about the disease.... Extra Hands for ALS is designed to benefit people with ALS, volunteers, and the ALS community at large. Through this program, young people have the opportunity to connect deeply with an issue and the people it affects, to become involved in their communities, and to explore possible career paths in healthcare and social services. ALS families directly benefit from the services of the volunteers. Additionally, the program is intended to expand the circle of people who are actively involved with ALS and thereby unite and invigorate the nationwide ALS community." Kara Eastman, Program Director.  
German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County 
 
 
"German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County (GSROC) is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating and re-homing purebred German Shepherd Dogs that have no where else to turn. We are an all volunteer organization with no paid staff. We are funded entirely by private donations and receive no government support. Dogs for adoption are housed in foster home situations and in private boarding facilities. Currently, we do not own our own kennel facility, but our dream is to have one some day so that we can eliminate the tremendous expense associated with boarding the dogs while they wait for their forever families.... Through a careful screening process, we place loving dogs into forever homes with compassionate individuals and families. We begin with an Application, which tells us more about an individual’s experience level, lifestyle, other pets, preferences, etc. so we can recommend dogs that best fit the home. Prospective adopters are encouraged to meet various dogs and to bring all family members and existing pets to meet the dogs they are interested in. Once 'the' dog has been selected, we perform a routine Home Visit to ensure the dog will be safe from any hazards, poisons, or dangerous situations. At this time, we advise the adopter if there are any repairs or corrections that need to be made prior to the dog coming home. Adopters pledge to love and care for the adopted dog throughout its entire lifetime. In the event an adopter is no longer able to care for a dog, we insist it come back into our rescue safety net for re-homing. Due to financial and logistical limitations, we do not place dogs outside of the Southern California area."  Newport Beach
Goodwill of Orange County 
 
 
"The mission of Goodwill Industries of Orange County is to provide people with disabilities and other barriers the opportunity to achieve their highest levels of personal and economic independence."  Anaheim, Brea, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Lake Forest, Orange, Santa Ana, Westminster
Habitat for Humanity, Orange County 
 
 
"Habitat for Humanity of Orange County believes that everyone can and should have a simple, decent place to live and grow into all that they can be. Habitat for Humanity is a home ownership program that instills pride and encourages hope by offering a constructive means for families to break the cycle of poverty. Habitat brings together volunteers, families and supporters who want to make a difference. You too can help Habitat build stable families, safer neighborhoods and caring communities. Join us in this exciting mission by picking up a hammer, joining a committee, and/or making a contribution and together we will tackle the challenge of substandard housing. Choose a topic for volunteer opportunities. "  Santa Ana
Orange County Food Bank 
 
 
"TODAY: Community Action Partnership of Orange County Food Bank is housed in a 35,000 square foot warehouse, which includes a huge commercial refrigerator and freezer capable of handling over 20 truck loads of perishable foods. Community Action Partnership of Orange County Food Bank distributes 17 million pounds of food annually. In addition to the 24,000 people that the Food Bank serves directly each month, it provides food and personal care items to 300 non-profit service organizations, such as social service agencies, churches, shelters, soup kitchens and senior centers. These organizations serve the homeless, disabled persons, seniors on fixed incomes, the unemployed and the working poor. TOMORROW: Community Action Partnership of Orange County Food Bank anticipates entering into a long term lease for a warehouse at El Toro MCAS. The potential exists for Community Action Partnership of Orange County to receive this warehouse free-of-charge for the Agency’s Food Bank operation. Such an opportunity would permit the Food Bank to significantly expand its services. "  Garden Grove
Orange County Rescue Mission 
 
 
Featuring The Village of Hope, The House of Hope, New Life Men's Shelter, Hope Family Housing, The War on Hunger Vehicle, The New Life Medical Clinic, and The Technology Education Vehicle. "Providing hot meals and warm beds to the homeless on the street.... Giving men a pathway to self-sufficiency.... Helping homeless mothers to turn their lives around.... Bringing job training to homeless men and women.... Feeding motel children and homeless families.... Caring for the sick and keeping kids healthy.... Giving families practical help to build a real home.... Keeping families together in life-changing programs.... And that’s just the tip of the iceberg."  Santa Ana
Red Cross, Orange County Chapter 
 
 
"The Red Cross is committed to saving lives and easing suffering. This diverse organization serves humanity and helps you by providing relief to victims of disaster, both locally and globally. The Red Cross is responsible for half of the nation's blood supply and blood products. The Red Cross gives health and safety training to the public and provides emergency social services to U.S. military members and their families. In the wake of an earthquake, tornado, flood, fire, hurricane or other disaster, it provides relief services to communities across the country. The Red Cross is America's most trusted charity, and it needs the support of compassionate Americans to succeed."  Santa Ana
Salvation Army 
 
 
Career Services, Family Services, Drug/Alcohol Rehabilitation, Emergency/Transition Shelters, Youth Centers, Thrift Stores and Disaster Services.  Anaheim, Buena Park, Costa Mesa, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, La Habra, Lake Forest, Orange, San Clemente, Santa Ana, Westminster
Save Our Beach 
 
 
"Save Our Beach is a non-profit 501(C)3 corporation ID# 35-2176382 dedicated to improving the water quality along the Southern California coastline." Hosts monthly beach cleanups in Seal Beach, and educates the community about cleaner oceans & beaches.  Seal Beach
South Coast Repertory 
 
 
Across the street from the Orange County Performing Arts Center in Costa Mesa. A wonderful playhouse with both a smaller and a larger stage. "Segerstrom Stage: SCR's 507-seat theatre offers five subscription plays and A Christmas Carol during the holidays. It has been the site for award-winning productions of the classics and new work by renowned contemporary playwrights such as Pulitzer Prize nominees Richard Greenberg and Amy Freed.... Julianne Argyros Stage: This 336-seat theatre, designed by renowned architect Cesar Pelli and inspired by theatres on Broadway and in London’s West End, has a proscenium stage, mezzanine, balcony and box seats. It is the site of contemporary classics and new work, in a four-play subscription season, plus the holiday show La Posada Mágica/The Magical Journey.... Become a part of the theatre world without ever stepping on stage! Our team of over 500 volunteer ushers assists SCR with nightly operations such as taking tickets, assisting patrons to their seats, giving out programs, selling concession items and selling award-winning scripts and SCR signature merchandise in our Theatre Shop. See an entire season of theatre free-of-charge while mingling with theatergoers from all over the country." See also: SCR Education & Outreach.  Costa Mesa
Southern California Blues Society 
 
 
"The Southern California Blues Society was formed in 1982 as a non-profit 501(c)(3) public benefit corporation to keep the blues alive. Its purpose is the education, presentation and preservation of blues music as an original American art form for the next generation through teaching, publications, festivals and concerts.... The Blues Society’s purpose is to promote,preserve and advance the culture and tradition of blues music as an American Art form. Willie Dixon shared these ideals and worked with the Southern California Blues Society to establish this scholarship. In honor of the late Willie Dixon, the Southern California Blues Society will present a scholarship to a deserving college undergraduate or graduate student based on their area of studies,scholastic achievement and financial need."  Malibu
Surfers Healing 
 
 
"Israel and Danielle Paskowitz are the founders of Surfers Healing. Their son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with autism at age three. Like many autistic children, he often suffered from sensory overload--simple sensations could become overwhelming, even painful. The one thing that seemed to calm him was being in the ocean; even as a baby Isaiah loved to swim and splash in the shallows. Israel and Danielle’s two other children are Israelah 16 and Elijah 9. Isaiah is now 13. In an inspired moment, Israel, a former champion longboard surfer, borrowed a large board built for tandem surfing. Putting Isaiah on the front of the board, Israel sat behind him, paddling and steering from the back. They spent the day catching waves and surfing together. The impact it had on both Isaiah and Israel was profound. 'There was something about the ocean that calmed him', recounts Israel. 'Being in the water seemed to soothe his overloaded senses.' More importantly, surfing together had created a new closeness between Israel and Isaiah.... Today, the day camps, which are free to participants, are attended by over 200 people and receive media coverage from the likes of People magazine and HBO television. Says Danielle, 'This all started out as a means to share something really meaningful to us with other families of autistic children. It’s amazing to see how much joy this has brought not just to the kids, but to the families as well.' Currently, day camps are being held in Southern California, New York and Hawaii. The hope of the foundation is to continue to expand so that one day, surf camps could be offered to autistic children all over the world." Need surf & beach volunteers.  San Juan Capistrano
Volunteer Center of Orange County 
 
 
"The Volunteer Center Orange County is the essential partner in improving quality of life in Orange County by connecting community resources, increasing volunteerism, and building professional capacity in nonprofit organizations."  Santa Ana
© Keith Weber
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