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Top 10 volunteer opportunities in Santa Cruz County: August 2023

summer campers at Farm Discovery
Farm Educators for Farm Discovery are just one of the exciting volunteer opportunities found in Santa Cruz County this month.
(Via Farm Discovery)

The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County is the home for all things volunteering - whether you are an indidivual, a group, organization, or business. Since 1967, The Volunteer Center has matched volunteers to local causes, transforming our community for good.

August is upon us and our theme of the month is Education for All. This isn’t about textbooks or classrooms; it’s about everyday learning through connection, community, and hands-on experiences.

Let’s make this a month of meaningful impact. Together, we’ll strengthen our community, learn new things, and make a lasting difference. After all, the best part of learning is sharing what you know.

Here are the top ten local volunteer job opportunities that support education for all:

1. Hopes Closet

Hopes Closet Volunteers
Hope’s Closet volunteers that were celebrated at the 2023 Volunteer Center Be The Difference Awards.

Ongoing, Santa Cruz, CA

Hopes Closet provides gently used clothing to children and families in need. Each child receives a Bundle of Hope containing clothing, shoes and age-appropriate books and toys. Our goal is to provide these items in a dignified manner. Volunteers make it possible for Hopes Closet to reach our targeted community: Foster children, family shelters, Early Head Start, public health nurses, social workers, local hospitals, Pregnancy Resource Center, Siena House, Janus Perinatal, Center for Farmworker Families, and more.

2. Habitat for Humanity - Concorso Italiano

August, Seaside, CA

August Concorso Italiano is the world’s largest luxury and exotic Italian Car Show on August 19th. Volunteers are needed August 14th to 19th and to help raise funds to support Habitat for Humanity.

3. Seymour Marine Discovery Center - School Volunteers Inspire Youth to Protect Our Oceans

There's plenty to get one's hands on at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center
School volunteers at the Seymour Marine Discovery Center inspire youth to protect our oceans.
(Kevin Painchaud / Lookout Santa Cruz)

Ongoing, Santa Cruz, CA

Inspire the next generation by leading hands-on field trip activities and guided tours for school groups visiting the Seymour Marine Discovery Center. Become part of the Seymour Center’s outstanding team of School Programs Instructors and engage kids in the fascinating world of marine science. Help foster the desire to protect our oceans and take action for the planet. Volunteer School Programs Instructors commit to one regularly scheduled 3-hour morning shift every week during the school year (mid September through May). Shifts are available Tuesday through Friday.

4. Ventures - Support UndocuFund at a Virtual Event August 16

August, Virtual Volunteer

Looking to help raise community spirits? Need community service hours? Ventures is looking for volunteers to help make phone calls to thank donors who helped uplift and support low-income families. Volunteers must be 18 years old +, have a cell phone , be able to make calls for 2 hours, and have internet access to use Zoom

5. YMCA Camp Campbell - Cabin Leader for Outdoor School

Ongoing, Boulder Creek, CA

YMCA Camp Campbell’s Outdoor Science School engages youth in science while encouraging a love and respect for the outdoors. Become a cabin leader to join our team of mentors, guiding youth through educational activities, classic camp bonding experiences, and nature-inspired learning opportunities - high school students are encouraged to apply. Cabin Leaders spend 5 days in the redwoods (typically Monday-Friday) helping make outdoor school a positive and safe environment for students. To be a cabin leader you must be at least 15 years old, in 10th grade or greater, and in good academic standing.

6. Scotts Valley Art, Wine & Beer Festival - Support Animals and the BirchBark Foundation

August, Scotts Valley, CA

Who doesn’t like Art Wine & Beer?!?! Community, live music, food trucks, kid zone and our personal favorite DOG DAY!!! We need numerous volunteers for tableling at this event on August 19th and 20th. We will be asking volunteers to greet attendants, help run prize giveaways and you will probably pet a few pups, fill a few pup water bowls and meet like minded people.

7. Farm Discovery - Farm Educator
Ongoing, Watsonville, CA

Help kids learn about food systems, farming, animals and the environment as a Field Trip Docent. Local schools bring students to the farm and docents welcome school groups, help lead educational tours, and run educational stations at the farm working with 12-15 students at a time. Training and support are provided to all volunteers. You can also take fresh veggies from the farm home with you!

8. Boys to Men - Mentor Teen Boys

Ongoing, Watsonville & Santa Cruz, CA

Our mission is to build communities of male role models who, through consistent group mentoring, encourage and empower teenage boys to follow their dreams. We are seeking volunteer mentors to work with a Boys to Men team in the Watsonville and Santa Cruz schools. We work with Middle school boys who struggle with school, home life, discipline, and the challenges of adolescence. The ideal mentor is a man who can commit 3 hours per week for the school term. Some Espanol is a plus. Training and support are provided to all mentors.

9. Thursday Early Bird Volunteer for Meals on Wheels

Volunteers from Meals on Wheels in action.
(Via Community Bridges)

Ongoing, Santa Cruz County, CA

Are you an early riser? Can you lift 10 lbs? Do you like to start your day by giving back? Get your morning workout and help Meals on Wheels unload boxes from pallets at 6:30am on Thursdays! As a volunteer, you will help unload over 500 boxes and attach stickers. The process takes approximately 1 hour, and boxes only weigh about 7-10 lbs.

10. Baby and Toddler Wrangler for the Circle Family Center

Ongoing, Aptos, CA

Give parents and caregivers some time to recharge at pre-natal and post-natal yoga class and volunteer for child care! Volunteers needed on Mondays and Fridays from 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM. Volunteers who have experience with childcare and are comfortable engaging toddlers in creative play are needed! This is also a great opportunity for a teen (13 and older) to volunteer with a parent and gain experience caring for young kids. A background check is required for this project, so we ask volunteers to commit to coming on a regular basis.

Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County
(Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County)

What works for you?

The key to gaining all of these benefits from volunteering is to volunteer for a cause that means something to you. We each have different needs when it comes to volunteering. If you are not feeling moved to sign up by any of the opportunities listed here, the Volunteer Center will connect you with an organization that matches your interests and availability:

The Volunteer Center also helps nonprofit organizations find volunteers to support their work. Register as an Organization and let us match your cause to volunteers who care.


The Volunteer Center of Santa Cruz County (VCSCC) has been connecting individuals, organizations and businesses for good since 1967. Each year VCSCSC engages with more than 500 community partners and more than 15,000 volunteers who connect meaningfully to help more than 9,000 residents in need. In addition to volunteer engagement and placement, VCSCC administers 19 programs to support community need, seniors, families, youth, disaster response, and government partnerships to make Santa Cruz County a happier, healthier place to live. For more information, visit or find us on Facebook and Instagram.