Published on November 15th, 2017 | by Chloe Forssell


Unique volunteer opportunities in Los Angeles

For many Samo students, the pressure from their parents and school to get involved and volunteer in their community forces them to work with companies that provide uninteresting tasks they don’t enjoy participating in. Whether you are looking to help make the world a better place or are desperately seeking a way to boost your college resume, there are many companies in our Santa Monica community that will allow you to rack up the volunteer hours and have a lot of fun while doing it.


School on Wheels, Inc.

Volunteering at School on Wheels provides teens with an enriching way to make a real difference in the lives of young children. The company provides academic tutoring to homeless children in the Southern California area, extending a hand to those living in shelters, cars, foster homes and on the streets. Their goal is to create stability in their chaotic lives, and be able to ensure that they will have the education to grow up and pull themselves out of homelessness. Volunteers tutor children both one-on-one and in groups, either in person or online. After an online orientation and on-site training, teens are matched with a homeless student in need of a tutor, and immediately begin the sessions. You can access the application process on the School on Wheels website (www.schoolonwheels.org). For those who love kids, are academic and want to make a difference, School on Wheels is a great volunteer opportunity.


Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles

Senior Smiles is an organization wishing to bridge the gap between the oldest and youngest generations while enhancing the lives of today’s elderly. Teen volunteers are trained to recognize signs of Alzheimers, strokes, visual/hearing impairments and other elements of a senior’s life, and are taught how to adjust to interact with those who are affected by a disease or impairment. The main duty of a volunteer, however, is to create a happy environment for the elderly by forming bonds with each other and the teens around them. Volunteers help to host events, play games and participate in arts and crafts activities while blossoming friendships with the seniors around them. After an in person training day, teen volunteers are matched with one senior to befriend and immediately begin to get to know, spend time with and brighten the day of their new partner. For those who want to enjoy themselves while learning about the lives of our older generations, Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles is a great volunteer spot to check out.





Groceryships is a company with the aim to live in a world in which every family has equal access to fresh and affordable healthy foods. Volunteers can work in a wide variety of departments, from fundraising, event coordinating, interning on long term health endeavours and working on graphic design. Teen volunteers also learn a great deal about the how to live a life of healthy cooking and how to support families in Southern California in being healthy in the currently unhealthy world. For those looking for a unique way to give back to the community in an information dense environment, Groceryships is a great place to look into.

West Los Angeles Animal Shelter

Do you absolutely love animals? Volunteering at the West Los Angeles Animal Shelter could be the perfect fit for you. The shelter is looking for volunteers from ages 16 and up who are looking to make a difference in the lives of abandoned and orphaned animals. The WLA Animal Shelter has a wide variety of animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, birds and many others. You may choose to work with any or all of their animal populations. Volunteers are also needed to assist with other important roles such as adoptions, kennels, greeting customers, photography, videography, playgroups, grooming, humane education, public relations and some office tasks. LA Animal Services requires a commitment of a minimum of six hours per month for six months. After one to three weeks, it will be determined if you are approved as a volunteer, in which case you complete the additional training sessions at the shelter and set a schedule with your staff supervisor. Just email them at their website (www.laanimalservices.com) or stop by their shelter on 11361 West Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064.


Cancer Society Discovery Shop 

Develop your retail merchandising, customer service and sales skills while making a difference. American Cancer Society Discovery Shops help support the fight against cancer through the sale of high-quality, gently used, donated merchandise. The store sells things such as jewelry, t-shirts, pants, shoes, handbags, kitchen equipment and many other things. Volunteers are always needed for a variety of meaningful opportunities like working in the store, providing customer service, receiving inventory and other duties. As a Discovery Shop volunteer you get to stay connected with your community, build relationships with other volunteers and Society staff members and know that you’re helping raise funds for cancer research and patient services. Discovery Shops allow you to develop your merchandising, customer service and sales skills, and participate in a unique retail environment, all while making a difference. Volunteer hours are

during retail hours, seven days a week. On site training is provided and required.


Cedar Sinai Hospital Volunteering

Are you interested in the medical field? Do you maybe plan on becoming a doctor or nurse in the future? Life-changing events happen every day at Cedars-Sinai. This includes becoming a volunteer. As a volunteer at Cedars-Sinai, you’ll help to shape an important chapter in someone’s life. You’ll be providing comfort, assistance and hope just by being there. By giving to others through volunteering, you connect with your community, create friendships and bring support and meaning into your life. It’s why, on any given day, they have more than 2,000 volunteers who stay with the hospital an average of four years. While volunteering you will be tending to patients, helping out nurses and handling paperwork. This opportunity is open to teens 14 and up; there will be an interview, orientation and training required.

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