Volunteer experience looks great on your résumé, provides exposure to industries of interest, can count as academic credit, and provides the chance to enrich the lives of Orange County residents. This summer, consider volunteering at a local nonprofit.
Orange County has a vibrant nonprofit sector, which supports thousands of jobs, improves the lives of underprivileged residents, preserves the region’s natural beauty and provides personal development opportunities for local students.
Among the organizations seeking volunteers are these 10 local nonprofits.
Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC)
Affiliated with UC Irvine, CHOC Children’s is among the nation’s leading children’s hospitals, providing specialized care in such medical specialties as cardiology, oncology, neuroscience and orthopedics. The hospital offers volunteer opportunities at its main location in Orange as well as its Mission Viejo branch. Activities include greeting and directing visitors and families, providing clerical support, and supporting the well-being of pediatric patients. Volunteering at CHOC requires a minimum commitment of at least one year and 100 service hours, and their greatest need is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, attend a college student volunteer information session on May 15 or June 5.
Discovery Cube OC
Formerly known as the Discovery Science Center, DiscoveryCubeOC offers more than 100 hands-on science exhibits designed to encourage interest in natural sciences among local schoolchildren. The organization also sponsors the annual Cal State Fullerton Pumpkin Launch. Volunteers are needed to run exhibits or assist with field trips. A volunteer application is available online.
Environmental Nature Center
Supporting nature education for Orange County residents of all ages, the Environmental Nature Center in Newport Beach has provided intern, service-learning and academic project activities for a number of CSUF students. Volunteers are needed to assist with the annual spring and fall fair events, maintain the grounds, serve as docents, and complete marketing/public relations internships. For more information, check out their volunteer page.
You can volunteer on-campus at the Fullerton Arboretum, which provides 26 acres of diverse natural habitats for the enjoyment and education of students, faculty and staff, alumni, and the local community, as well as regular nature education programs. Volunteers are asked to complete an interest form online.
Habitat for Humanity Orange County
The lack of affordable housing is a major economic and social concern in Orange County and is the focus of Habitat for Humanity Orange County, which supports local neighborhood revitalization, affordable home construction, home repair projects for underprivileged residents, and housing projects around the world. Volunteers are needed to work on construction and renovation projects, assist construction volunteers at work sites, and operate ReStore home improvement stores and donation centers across the county. To get started, attend an information session and then sign-up online.
International Surf Lifesaving Association (ISLA)
Drowning is a major problem around the world, including in Southern California. ISLA, co-founded by Mihaylo entrepreneurship alumnus Henry Reyes ’10, advances water lifesaving worldwide through a lifeguard certification program and international advocacy. To volunteer on an international humanitarian mission, visit their development projects page. Interested in an administrative internship at the nonprofit’s headquarters in Huntington Beach? Fill out their contact page to get in touch.
For many young people, a college education is the gateway to a rewarding career and personal development opportunities. But a college education is out of reach for many of the 1,200 low-income children and young people in Fullerton’s Garnet neighborhood. When the JOYA Scholars program began in 2009, the five-block area east of the 57 Freeway had only one student eligible to attend college. Today, local young people are attending Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and local community colleges through the assistance of tutors, mentors and campus visits conducted by volunteers. If you would like to make a difference in the life of a local student, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
A large 1920s Spanish colonial revival house in Downtown Fullerton conserves the heritage of the Muckenthaler estate while facilitating arts and culture exhibits, performances, and education for North Orange County. The center has supported internship and service-learning opportunities for Cal State Fullerton students, including arts education and communications projects. For more information, contact the center at 714-738-6595.
Orange County Coastkeeper
Preserving the beauty and ecosystems of Orange County’s 42 miles of coastline is a priority for many local residents. Orange County Coastkeeper restores local wetlands and beaches, spearheads clean-up projects, advocates for the preservation of the natural environment, and operates a sustainable garden in Orange to encourage local residents to adopt drought-tolerant landscaping. Volunteer opportunities include monthly beach cleanups, garden maintenance, coastal restoration and monitoring, and clerical responsibilities. A volunteer form is available online. Internships in the legal, educational, advocacy and public relations fields are also available.
The Fullerton Arboretum includes an 1890s Victorian home that was the residence of George Clark, one of the region’s first medical doctors, and his family. The restored home is a field trip destination for local schoolchildren and is regularly visited by CSUF students and alumni. The Victorian Society hosts history-related programs on the second Thursday of each month and sponsors docents to lead tours of the Heritage House. Volunteers are needed to serve as docents, assist with events and support the society’s digital communications. For more information, contact Jorice Maag at email@example.com.
For More Information
For more on opportunities in the nonprofit sector, visit Mihaylo’s Gianneschi Center for Nonprofit Research, which provides training and networking, at SGMH 5271 or online.