(credit: Sam Forencich/Getty Images)

(credit: Sam Forencich/Getty Images)


Volunteering for a cause you are passionate about is a win-win. While you are doing good for others and the community, you are also boosting self-confidence and life satisfaction. As summer approaches and busy school schedules tend to lighten up, finding an organization to volunteer for as a family nurtures lifelong relationships. The Orange County community values its volunteers and welcomes their support to keep beaches and wetlands protected, engage with senior citizens, feed the homeless and cuddle a homeless kitty cat. Here are five exceptional and upstanding organizations to check out.
(credit: shutterstock)

(credit: shutterstock)


Monthly Beach Cleanup
Orange County Coastkeeper
22083 Pacific Coast Highway
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
(714) 850-1965
www.coastkeeper.org

A beach cleanup is ideal for all ages and families. Every second Saturday of each month from 9 to 11 a.m., Orange County Coastkeeper organizes a volunteer-based beach cleanup at Huntington State Beach Tower #2. By removing trash from the coastline, volunteers along with Orange County Coastkeeper are helping to protect the local beaches and waterways keeping them “swimmable, drinkable, fishable and sustainable.” Overall, clean beaches in the OC promote healthy ecosystems, a positive community and a strong local economy. Orange County Coastkeepers welcome volunteers to visit its website to sign-up or sign waivers for kids under 18 years old. It’s encouraged to bring your own trash bags from the grocery or stores — one more way to maintain zero waste.

(credit: QUIQUE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)

(credit: QUIQUE GARCIA/AFP/Getty Images)


Help The Hungry!
Family Assistance Ministries
1030 Calle Negocio
San Clemente, CA 92673
(949) 492-8477
www.family-assistance.org

Family Assistance Ministries (FAM) helps families and individuals in Orange County in need of food, shelter and medical assistance. Last year, FAM served more than 50,000 people, and 40 percent were minor children. The goal of this non-profit is to help these people become self-sufficient. Currently, FAM is seeking local volunteers (must be accompanied by an adult if under 16 years old) to assist with the food pantry, which is located in the warehouse in FAM’s San Clemente office. Volunteers will sort food, stock shelves and refrigerators, pack bags and distribute food. Volunteers must attend an orientation before enlisting.

(credit: Robert Kneschke/shutterstock)

(credit: Robert Kneschke/shutterstock)


Visit Seniors At Vintage Newport Senior Living Via Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles
393 Hospital Road
Newport Beach, CA 92663
(323) 247-8213
www.seniorsmiles.org

If your heart is open and you have an unconditional and patient manner, volunteering with seniors could be just the right job for you. Founded by Jill-Pizitz Hochstein, the non-profit organization Sydney Cooper Senior Smiles is named after her late grandfather, with the hopes of helping the elderly stay engaged in life while bonding and forming friendships and companionship with the young. This organization works with Vintage Newport Senior Living and seeks to train and educate volunteers of all ages on the needs of senior citizens. Once volunteers have gone through the training, which includes recognizing and understanding age-related disabilities (i.e. dementia, Alzheimer’s stroke and physical impairments), he or she will be paired with a senior who would benefit from activities and companionship. Sign up online to join one of the training sessions.

Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities For Kids In OC

(Credit: Ian McGregor)

(Credit: Ian McGregor)


Habitat Restoration Stewards
Bolsa Chica Land Trust
5200 Warner Ave, Suite 108
Huntington Beach, CA 92649
(714) 846-1001
bclandtrust.org

Bolsa Chica is one of the last standing wetland ecosystems in Southern California. Today it is overseen by the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, an organization that works to preserve its future. The Land Trust offers a variety of volunteer openings to help and work on the land. Become a Steward or Jr. Steward by meeting on the third Saturday and/or first Sunday of the month from 9 a.m. to 12 noon (rain or shine). Volunteers will be responsible for restoring the sustainable native habitat of the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve, including state grasslands and Coastal Sage Scrub. This hands-on volunteering requires long pants, closed-toe shoes and sunscreen. Plan on learning about the natural habitat, clearing out weeds, planting native species and getting a little bit dirty.

(credit: Arizona Humane Society)

(credit: Arizona Humane Society)


Make A Difference In An Animal’s Life
Orange County Humane Society
21632 Newland St.
Huntington Beach, CA 92646
(714) 536-8480
www.ochumanesociety.com

For those who have a love for cats and dogs and with a flexible schedule, the PAWticipate volunteer program through the Orange County Humane Society could be your community service match. From cat cuddlers to dog walkers, the Orange County Humane Society has an on-going need for volunteers (18 years old and older, with current health insurance). Cats and kittens who live at the shelter are in need of loving hands a few hours a day to clean cages, to feed wet food, and of course cuddle these little critters. Dog walkers are also needed if you have a few hours to spare 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. While these volunteer spots are adult-specific, fostering or adopting a pet is a family affair.

Related: Best Volunteer Opportunities For Animal Lovers In OC

Sheryl Craig is a writer with a passion for interesting finds and treasures in Los Angeles. She has a background in journalism and public relations. A mother of two daughters, Sheryl integrates her healthy lifestyle into raising her children. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.