National Volunteer Week was established in 1974 and has grown exponentially each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. This signature week is an opportunity to celebrate the impact of volunteer service and the power of volunteers to come together to tackle tough challenges, and build stronger, more resilient communities. Each year, we shine a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve, recognizing and thanking volunteers who lend their time, talent and voice to make a difference in their communities.

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Get involved during National Volunteer Week (April 7-13, 2019)

SORT: Warehouse Warriors

You can directly support members of the military and their families by volunteering in the STEP warehouse. The STEP warehouse is a storefront of new and gently used items donated by the Southern California community. The warehouse is open to all eligible clients to browse and take what they need: clothes, bedding, home goods, and critical baby items - diapers, wipes, car seats (new), etc. The warehouse is designed to support their mission of building financial self-sufficiency and reducing financial hardship by increasing financial literacy, and alleviate some monthly expenses. Volunteers will be taking inventory of items in the warehouse, sorting new donations, and may be asked to help with cleaning. You'll be helping military families easily find the items they need most. Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: Comfortable clothing you don't mind getting dirty, dress in layers. Bring: Reusable water bottle. Physical Ability: Volunteers should be comfortable with bending, standing, and able to lift up to 20 lbs. About Support the Enlisted Project (STEP) STEP assists junior active duty enlisted members and recently discharged enlisted Veterans and their families in Southern California facing financial crisis achieve long-term financial self-sufficiency through counseling, education and grants to alleviate critical near term obligations.​

San Diego, CA

5/28/19 2:00 PM +more

GARDEN: Community Roots Farm

Activities will depend on what is happening at the farm seasonally and include prepping garden beds, harvesting produce, weeding, trimming shrubs, planting seeds, mulching, sorting seeds, watering plants, and installing irrigation. There are often build projects as well such as building garden beds, seedling tables, shaded awnings, creating community spaces, and much more. This is a great opportunity to be at the forefront of a locally grown, organic food movement that provides for food-insecure members of our community. Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: Be prepared to work outside. You must wear closed toe shoes. Dress in layers in weather appropriate attire that can get dirty. Bring: Water bottle with plenty of water - there is no drinking fountain on site. They will supply gloves, tools, sunscreen, and materials, but feel free to bring your own favorite tools or gloves as long as you understand you are responsible for keeping track of them. Physical Ability: They have a variety of activities for all skills and abilities. Please notify Bianca (volunteer@plantspeoplecommunity.org) if you may have specific needs and would like to make sure there are projects you can engage in. Waiver: Every volunteer is required to sign a waiver. Anyone under 18 must have waiver signed by a parent/legal guardian. Please also sign waivers for very young children attending with parents. Sign waiver here. ​Weather: Light rain will not cancel event. In the case of inclement weather, volunteers will be alerted via e-mail. About Botanical Community Development Initiatives Botanical Community Development Initiatives (BCDI) is working to improve lives by connect plants, people, and community. Community Roots Farm is a project of BCDI and is 1-acre urban farm located in an Oceanside neighborhood and grows food with community, for community. The sustainably-grown produce is served in meals to children in local state-funded preschools that are located in low socioeconomic neighborhoods where access to fresh food is lacking.

Oceanside, CA

4/24/19 10:00 AM +more

Fresh Market Distribution

As a volunteer, you'll support older adults in making healthy eating decisions and have the opportunity to interact with older adults and hear their stories. College Avenue is proud to offer bi-monthly farmer's market to its older adult members to give them easier access to fresh produce. Volunteers are needed to help receive the delivery of produce from the Hand Up Youth Food Pantry at JFS, set up the display using burlap and wooden boxes, distribute the fresh produce and re-fill bins as needed. The College Avenue Social Wellness Center is one of two thriving JFS older adult centers. Hundreds of participants enjoy daily meals, exercise classes, art classes, games, cultural programs, and live entertainment. This is a home away from home for many older adults. Physical Requirements & Important Notes Physical Ability: Ability to stand for the duration of the project and can lift bins that are 25-35 pounds. Attire: Closed-toe shoes are required. If weather permits, this project will take place outside. Bring: Sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses is recommended. About Jewish Family Service of San Diego Jewish Family Service is a client-centered, impact-driven organization working to build a stronger, healthier, more resilient San Diego. Since 1918, Jewish Family Service of San Diego has been a trusted community resource for individuals and families in times of need.

San Diego, CA

4/24/19 11:45 AM +more

IMPACT: Invasive Management, Plant Assessment, and Conservation Team

Looking for a unique volunteer opportunity? You can help improve habitat for wildlife at Mission Valley Preserve, a 52-acre wildlife preserve right in San Diego! Volunteers will help to remove non-native plant species, creating a healthy environment for the plants and animals that call our river home. This is the perfect opportunity to learn more about river ecology and witness a physical transformation of the landscape, which translates into improving our environment and the health of our River! Volunteer tasks include chopping, hauling, digging, trimming, and more. They are especially seeking volunteers with QAC/QAL herbicide application certification. All tools and supplies are provided. Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: Volunteers must wear closed-toe shoes (No sandals, Tom's or other flats. You must wear sturdy tennis or hiking shoes.) and long pants. Dress in clothes that can get dirty. Wearing long sleeves and a hat is highly recommended. Bring: Sun protection and water to drink. They will not have water on site. Location: Weekly meetings will be held at Mission Valley Preserve. Exact meeting location (North or South side of the River) will change depending on the needs that week. Exact address and location information are sent out within 1 business day of your sign-up. If you don't receive the location email, check your spam folder then contact the Opportunity Leader. Waiver: All volunteers must complete a waiver to participate in activities with the San Diego River Park Foundation. To save time at check-in, you may download and bring the completed waiver with you: Adult Waiver or Under 18 Waiver ​Physical Ability: Volunteers should be comfortable with hiking short distances, including navigating through dense vegetation and ducking under it. No experience necessary and all supplies will be provided. Weather: Light rain will not cancel the project. In the event of cancellation, volunteers will be notified via email. ​Note: There is no restroom or water fountain on site, please plan accordingly. ​Court-ordered volunteers are not allowed at this project. About The San Diego River Park Foundation The San Diego River Park Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of the San Diego River and creating a better quality of life for our community through the creation of a 52 mile river-long park system. Their programs, projects, and events are designed to connect people to our historic San Diego River and empower the community to steward and celebrate it.

San Diego, CA

5/2/19 9:00 AM +more

ENGAGE: Jam Sessions - El Cajon

Be a mentor to 1-4 teen/young adults with special needs, such as autism, while they learn to play music. Volunteer mentors provide encouragement, model expected group behaviors, give compliments, give directions, and help their mentees build friendships and practice social skills. Mentors are important because they help the students with special needs gain social skills (e.g. learning how to make eye contact, have a conversation, have self control, etc.) that are essential to living a meaningful life in their community. No matter your level of musical experience, you'll have a great time shaking a shaker, playing a drum, signing along and much more. Before and after the group, volunteers assist with set up (unloading musical equipment, setting up chairs, music stands, music books, etc.), process with the volunteer team after (complete a journal entry about experience and rate mentee responses), and tear down (load equipment). Project Requirements & Important Notes Physical Ability: Ability to lift and move musical equipment, chairs, etc. (They are able to accommodate weight restrictions) Note: We need volunteers with a great attitude, who are patient and comfortable working with their mentees one-on-one. About Banding Together Founded in 2009, Banding Together’s mission is to bring music opportunities to individuals with special needs in our community. This is accomplished through key objectives that include providing: music therapy scholarships, free Jam Session programs, mentorships, and instruments.

El Cajon, CA

4/25/19 6:00 PM +more

Canine Companions: Campus Cleanup

Canine Companions for Independence needs help cleaning their vans and around their campus to ensure a positive and clean environment for their graduate teams and dogs. Volunteers will be cleaning the vans used to transport their dogs for training. This will include sanitizing and vacuuming the crates in the vans. Other activities may include cleaning the dog crates, light gardening and clean up around the campus. Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: Closed toe shoes and comfortable attire Bring: A reusable water bottle, sunscreen, and a hat. Note: There will be no direct contact with the service animals. About Canine Companions for Independence Canine Companions for Independence is a non-profit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs at no charge to the recipient.

Oceanside, CA

4/26/19 9:00 AM +more

North Park Food Distribution Set-up

Help with the set-up of a weekly food distribution in North Park to low income community members. Each Friday evening New Vision Christian Fellowship serves food for free to the general public and needs volunteers to assist them with this worthy cause, and to help them better serve the community at large. Volunteer activities include: processing food for distribution, setting up the serving area, breaking down and stacking cardboard, and sorting out food unfit for consumption. Let the Team Leader know if you are comfortable using a pallet jack to move larger items. Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: Closed-toe shoes are required. Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing that may get dirty. Physical Ability: Volunteerwork may entail bending, light lifting (up to 20 pounds), standing (up to an hour), and interacting with hundreds of people. Weather: The food distribution will go on as scheduled regardless of the weather, barring extreme weather or enviromental conditions unlikely in our region. Religious Observance: New Vision is a Southern Baptist Christian Fellowship organization. Volunteers may choose to participate or opt out as desired in any prayer services that are observed. ​Note: All new volunteers are required to watch a 15 minute orientation video at the beginning of their shift. About New Vision Christian Fellowship We are a group of believers who long to express their love to God and to others. We've come to realize that we are broken people who have been restored by the healer’s hand. We acknowledge that we don’t know it all, but know the one who does. We invite others who have been broken to join us on a journey where we can discover the healers hand together and restore us back to a right relationship with Him and each other.

San Diego, CA

4/26/19 10:00 AM

North Park Food Distribution

Kickstart your weekend by helping with the setup, breakdown, cleanup and actual distribution of food to the community. Each Friday evening New Vision Christian Fellowship serves food for free to the general public and needs volunteers to assist them with this worthy cause, and to help them better serve the community at large. Volunteer activities include: sorting, separating, and bagging up food (fruits, vegetables, bread, pastry and other edible items), helping pass out food to the line, and assisting with breakdown and cleanup of the Fellowship Hall after the distribution has ended. Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: Closed-toe shoes are required. Wear comfortable loose-fitting clothing that may get dirty. Physical Ability: Volunteerwork may entail bending, light lifting (up to 20 pounds), standing (up to an hour), and interacting with hundreds of people. Weather: The food distribution will go on as scheduled regardless of the weather, barring extreme weather or enviromental conditions unlikely in our region. Religious Observance: New Vision is a Southern Baptist Christian Fellowship organization. A brief prayer service will be observed at 4:30PM, volunteers may choose to participate or opt out as desired. ​Note: All new volunteers are required to watch a 15 minute orientation video at the beginning of their shift. About New Vision Christian Fellowship We are a group of believers who long to express their love to God and to others. We've come to realize that we are broken people who have been restored by the healer’s hand. We acknowledge that we don’t know it all, but know the one who does. We invite others who have been broken to join us on a journey where we can discover the healers hand together and restore us back to a right relationship with Him and each other.

San Diego, CA

4/26/19 2:45 PM

Tributary Plant Surveys

Volunteers will gather point-in-time data to document invasive plant species and density in specific areas along tributaries that feed into the San Diego River to measure the health of the River and strategize future plans of action. This hands-on opportunity is a unique chance to see hidden natural spots in San Diego County, and a great way to make a difference for the future of the river and surrounding area. These annual plant surveys are critical to plan habitat restoration projects as part of the San Diego River Park Foundation's overall conservation strategy. Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: You must dress in long pants and closed-toe shoes. Shoes must be either tennis shoes or hiking boots--no Toms or other flats. Please dress in layers as the temperature can change throughout the day. Bring: A reusable water bottle and sun protection (sunscreen, hat). All supplies are provided. ​Physical Ability: Volunteers should be comfortable with hiking short distances, including going up and down embankments and ducking around under vegetation. ​Location: Exact address and location information are sent out within 1 business day of your sign-up. If you don't receive the location email, check your spam folder then contact the Opportunity Leader. Waiver: All volunteers must complete a waiver to participate in activities with the San Diego River Park Foundation. To save time at check-in, you may download and bring the completed waiver with you: Adult Waiver or Under 18 Waiver Note: The mapping app that they use is called MapplerK2. If you have a smartphone, please download the app before the activity. MapplerK2 is available on Google Play as well as the Apple App Store. No restrooms or water fountains will be available on site, please plan accordingly. Light rain will not cancel this project. About The San Diego River Park Foundation The San Diego River Park Foundation is dedicated to improving the health of the San Diego River and creating a better quality of life for our community through the creation of a 52 mile river-long park system. Their programs, projects, and events are designed to connect people to our historic San Diego River and empower the community to steward and celebrate it.

San Diego, CA

4/27/19 9:00 AM

ENGAGE: Jam Sessions - Carlsbad

Be a mentor to 1-4 teen/young adults with special needs, such as autism, while they learn to play music. Volunteer mentors provide encouragement, model expected group behaviors, give compliments, give directions, and help their mentees build friendships and practice social skills. Mentors are important because they help the students with special needs gain social skills (e.g. learning how to make eye contact, have a conversation, have self control, etc.) that are essential to living a meaningful life in their community. No matter your level of musical experience, you'll have a great time shaking a shaker, playing a drum, signing along and much more. Before and after the group, volunteers assist with set up (unloading musical equipment, setting up chairs, music stands, music books, etc.), process with the volunteer team after (complete a journal entry about experience and rate mentee responses), and tear down (load equipment). Project Requirements & Important Notes Physical Ability: Ability to lift and move musical equipment, chairs, etc. (They are able to accommodate weight restrictions) Note: We need volunteers with a great attitude, who are patient and comfortable working with their mentees one-on-one. About Banding Together Founded in 2009, Banding Together’s mission is to bring music opportunities to individuals with special needs in our community. This is accomplished through key objectives that include providing: music therapy scholarships, free Jam Session programs, mentorships, and instruments.

Carlsbad, CA

5/1/19 6:00 PM +more

Food Cycle Team

Help run the Solana Center's Food Cycle Program, turning food waste into a high-quality soil supplement, and closing the loop of organic waste! Volunteers help process and tabulate incoming organic material, maintain compost piles, and prep buckets to be returned to program members for more collection. This project is great for those that are not sensitive to the "ick" factor and want to get VERY hands on with waste reduction! The Food Cycle Program is a co-op where San Diego County residents and small businesses preserve their organic waste using the Bokashi method and then deliver it to Solana Center to be turned into a nutritious soil amendment that is distributed back into the community. This process reduces tons of waste sent to the landfill, reduces methane pollution, and creates a healthy soil supplement for San Diego gardens! Project Requirements & Important Notes Attire: Wear closed-toe shoes and clothing that can get VERY dirty. Physical Ability: This activity can be quite physically intensive and pretty messy! Must be able to wield a pitchfork, push a wheel borrow, and lift buckets of up to 30 lbs. Some accommodations can be made, please ask. About the Solana Center for Environmental Innovation ​Solana Center for Environmental Innovation is a San Diego-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on Zero Waste, composting, and water conservation. They mobilize the local community through innovative outreach and provide consulting services to businesses and jurisdictions in order to address the region’s most pressing environmental issues and enact impactful change.

Encinitas, CA

5/14/19 9:00 AM