Bay Area Offers Many Volunteering Opportunities

S. Zhou

Julia Hass and Katie Hoskins
November 4, 2011

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Miramonte Key Club

Key Club provides many volunteer opportunities on campus. The Key Club’s goal is to raise money for various charities and organizations like the Pediatric Trauma Prevention (PTP) organization. The club also raises money for itself in a local setting by working at festivals and food banks and selling American Apparel jackets to students.

Though the club does a lot of charity, it also has a social aspect.

“The best part of the club is going to the socials and meeting new people who enjoy helping others,” said junior Kimberley Cheng, the Treasurer of Miramonte’s Key Club.

The socials are fun gatherings of different divisions of Key Clubs from schools across the country. The next one will be held at Six Flags.

“Definitely join Key Club,” Cheng said. “It’s been a great experience for me.”

For more information about the Key Club at Miramonte, email the club leaders at miramontekeyclub@gmail.com.

Oakland Zoo

For students interested in animals, plants, conservation, and children, the Oakland Zoo is a great place to volunteer.

One option for teens at the Oakland Zoo is to become a Teen Wild Guide. The program consists of working in the Valley Children’s Zoo and teaching visiting kids about the animals in the exhibits. On Keeper Days, volunteers also have the opportunity to go into the exhibits with zookeepers and help enhance the exhibits.

Another option at the Oakland Zoo is working as a ZooCamp Teen Assistant and spending two weeks helping out at a children’s camp, where the kids get to explore the zoo and the animals.

“You make a lot of friends, and the kids are pretty cute too,” junior Madison McDonald said. “They’re so eager to learn about the animals in the zoo.” McDonald has volunteered at the Oakland Zoo for over a year and a half.

Teen Wild Guides also have the option of working in different environments in other states and countries.

“This year we are going to Borneo in Indonesia to learn about conservation and the environment,” McDonald said. “But the volunteers have also gone to Africa and the Sacramento Zoo.”

For more information on volunteering at the Oakland Zoo, visit www.oaklandzoo.org

St. Anthony’s

St. Anthony’s is a gratifying option for giving back to the community and provides a safe place where volunteers can have direct contact with the people they are helping.

“At lunchtime, the volunteers just sat down with the customers, and it didn’t feel weird at all,” junior Coco Pearce said. “We all got to know each other.”

Though most volunteer work occurs in the soup kitchen, they also have a free clothing foundation where clothes are donated and available for the homeless.

Individual volunteer programs are encouraged, and the different volunteer projects range from serving trays of food to guests, and sorting clothes for the clothing program, to skills based services. Volunteers are able to work individually with a regular shift or with a small team of friends.

While the location across the bay may not be optimal for Orinda residents, students can gather a group of friends to spend a single day working for the organization and give back to the community together.

For more information about St. Anthony’s visit stanthonysf.com.

Children’s Hospital

For students interested in the medical profession, volunteering at the Children’s Hospital in Oakland is an opportunity to get some hands-on experience.

“It’s definitely a viable option for community service, because it’s one of the best children’s hospitals around,” said junior Alaina Hyde, who volunteers at the Children’s Hospital.

There are many different jobs for volunteers, including bringing the coffee cart around to parents and visitors, doing art with patients and visitors in the waiting room, and participating in the reading program with patients.

Volunteers must be at least 16 and willing to make a weekly commitment, though some options on list of positions also require previous experience, like working with the staff and patients in the emergency department.

“My favorite program is the ‘Welcome Wagon,’ where you help families and new patients get where they need to be and feel welcome,” said Hyde.

While the program may seem ideal for aspiring medical students, the schedule can be demanding and rigid, which may not be ideal for some students already bearing a heavy class load. The hospital requires a commitment of 100 hours from its volunteers over a period of one year.

For more information about Children’s Hospital visit www.childrenshospitaloakland.org.

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