Volunteering 101

How to Volunteer

  • Check available resources:
    • Internet
    • School
    • Go directly to the organizations and ask!
    • Community resources: go to resource centers, the library, community boards
    • Word of mouth (friends, classmates, co-workers, FCNI staff)
  • Get Involved!

    • Get in contact with the organization/company/business
    • Follow through
    • Pay attention to requirements/what's available
    • Time management 
    • Make a commitment

Note: all of the red words are links!

Volunteer opportunities in your area:

Santa Barbara: Lompoc: Santa Maria:

 ♦ Hope 4 Kids Preschool
 ♦ Partners in Education
 ♦ Girl's Inc. 
 ♦ Santa Barbara Zoo
 ♦ Fairview Gardens

 ♦ Good Samaritan Shelter
 ♦ Lompoc Family YMCA

 ♦ Humane Society
 ♦ Salvation Army

 ♦ Marian Regional Medical Center
 ♦ Good Samaritan Shelter

Click here for additional resources!

Hope 4 Kids Preschool

At Hope 4 Kids we believe that accepting volunteers is an essential part of serving our community. Volunteers range in age from Junior High School students who may be voluteering for community service or to complete a badge for a service organization through retired persons who want to make a difference. Our process includes an application, in-person interview, statement of health, TB test and additional background checks including a fingerprint clearance.

We treat our volunteers the same way we treat our staff: with respect, trust and confidence. As a volunteer, the expectation is that you will perform your duties to the best of your abilities and know that you are a vital member of our team. Volunteers are invited to staff meetings, retreats, conferences, workshops, and events. We are building a community of people who are committed to the mission of partnering with families to help chlldren reach their full potential. If you are called to this mission then we encourage you to apply now!


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Santa Barbara Partners in Education 

SBCEO believes that our schools’ success depends on the involvement and support of the entire community. The benefits of such involvement cannot be overstated: students receive more individualized attention, understand the connection between classroom curriculum and the “real world,” gain exposure to a variety of career paths and much more. Once a teacher or nonprofit staff person submits an online request, our volunteer managers work to find the best volunteer match for a particular classroom or after-school need. The more information you share about your personal interests, past experiences and skills, and even your geographic preferences, the better equipped we are to find the volunteer activity that’s right for you.


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Girl's Inc. 

Each year Girls Incorporated of Greater Santa Barbara has hundreds of volunteers who help us fulfill our mission of inspiring girls to be strong, smart, and bold. We seek people for on-going commitments and short-term projects. The following are just some of the volunteer opportunities available at Girls Inc. this year. Get involved!
FUNDRAISING EVENTS: Volunteers are needed throughout the year to support various fundraising events such as the She.Is.Beautiful 5k & 10k run in September, the Celebration Luncheon in late fall, the One Hundred Committee Luncheon in the spring, and other community events. HOMEWORK HELPERS & TUTORS: Volunteers are needed at both the Santa Barbara and Goleta centers to work one-on-one with the girls to encourage them to complete their homework, and lend a hand when needed. SPECIAL EVENTS: We need volunteers for several special events at the Santa Barbara and Goleta centers throughout the year. 
GYMNASTICS EVENTS: There are three gymnastics events per year where volunteer help is needed: the Annual Gymnastics Meet in March or April, and the Performance Showcase events in May and November. For more information or to volunteer contact Girls Inc. Gymnastics at (805) 963-4492 or gym@girlsincsb.org

HIGH SCHOOL–AGE VOLUNTEERS High school students in their Junior or Senior year can support girls in our community to grow strong, smart, and bold while getting credit for community service! Contact the center of choice: Santa Barbara Center: (805) 963-4017 or smeserve@girlsincsb.org / Goleta Valley Center: (805) 967-0319 or kwebster@girlsincsb.org


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Santa Barbara Zoo

If you love animals and enjoy working with people, the Santa Barbara Zoo is the place for you! Built largely by volunteers in the 1960's, the Santa Barbara Zoo is a success today thanks largely to the generosity of our volunteers. 


Do you… have an interest in animals and the environment? …have the desire and ability to teach others? Then the ZooTeen Program may be the place for you! ZooTeens create outstanding experiences that inspire people to change the world by supporting the Education, Guest Services, and Marketing departments.

Benefits include:

  • Earning community service hours.
  • Visiting behind-the-scenes areas of the Zoo.
  • Discounts in the gift shop and food court while volunteering.

Be sure to check out their link above in order to fill out the volunteer application and letter of reference!

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Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens

Every year, hundreds of people of all ages come to tour Fairview Gardens to connect with their food and the natural world. Join our team of passionate, dedicated individuals who make this possible.


College Students
Corporate Groups
Student Groups


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Santa Maria Valley Humane Society

We offer two volunteer shifts per day, 10am to 1pm, and 1pm to 4pm, Monday through Saturday. An orientation and training class is offered to new volunteers each month. Volunteers may work one or more shifts per week.There are many areas where volunteers can be of assistance: socializing cats and kittens, exercising the dogs, helping out in the office. Additionally, we often have outside mobile adoption and fundraising events where volunteer help is requested.

Begin by registering online at our Volunteer Hub or by filling out a volunteer application at the SMVHS front office. You will be contacted and invited to attend a Volunteer Orientation.  Orientations are held monthly and are open to anyone interested in volunteer opportunities at SMVHS. Orientation includes a presentation about the history of SMVHS, our Mission and Vision, animal success stories, and the many ways that caring volunteers can make a difference in the lives of homeless animals. The class will include a tour of the entire facility. After the presentation, if you have decided that the SMVHS is the right volunteer fit for you, you will be assigned to a specific job training class. A $25 materials fee will be collected at this time, which will cover the cost of a t-shirt, name badge and all training material needed for your volunteer service. This materials fee enables us to continue our volunteer program without taking any money away from the support and care of the animals. Following the volunteer orientation you will be scheduled to attend a training workshop. Workshops are offered for cat village and dog handling. Office volunteers are on an as-needed basis, consist of a personal interview and on the job training.


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Santa Maria Salvation Army

One of 56 Salvation Army social service agencies strategically placed throughout Southern California. Material and spiritual support is our standard - social services delivered with compassion is our model - anyone in need is the prerequisite. At The Salvation Army, our motto of "heart to God and hand to man" is put into action every day as we change lives, transform our community and remain a steadfast beacon of hope for those in need in Santa Maria Valley.

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Marian Regional Medical Center

The Adult Volunteer Program is for adults and/or students who are over 18 years old. New adult volunteers start service every month.

To become a volunteer, please complete this form.

The Volunteen Program at Marian Regional Medical Center provides a chance for students to serve and to learn more about working in a health care setting. Current high school students or those who are at least 14 years old are invited to apply. For the Summer Programs, we also accept incoming freshmen. The Summer Volunteen Program runs from June to August, and the School Year Program runs from September through May. The next opportunity to become a volunteen will be in Summer 2016, and information about the Summer 2016 Program will be available in April 2016.

To become a volunteer, please complete this form.

Our volunteers work in a variety of service areas. In fact, we currently have more than 40! Some of these areas are: 

  • Hospitality and reception services
  • Patient and family escorts
  • Patient care support services
  • Gift shop
  • Hospice
  • Extended Care Center
  • Spiritual Care
  • Mission Hope Cancer Center
  • Emergency Department
  • Pet Therapy
  • Children's Center

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Good Samaritan Shelter

Good Samaritan Shelter is working diligently to better assist those in need throughout the Northern County, thanks in large part to our volunteers! There are many ways to get involved, whether you have a few minutes or an entire day. Please read through the following volunteer opportunities and complete the form below. After you press "submit", our volunteer coordinator will be happy to contact you!

Food Service Teams
We need teams who are willing to prepare a "home" cooked meal as a group in the kitchen of one of our shelter facilities.
Hold a Hygiene Kit Drive
We are always collecting hygiene items for our shelters, warming shelters and street outreach. You can view a list of items needed HERE.
Street Outreach
We are always recruiting new volunteers to join our experienced team leads to reach our most vulnerable friends on the street, behind buildings, in the riverbeds.
We are always accepting help at the Santa Maria After School Program for At-Risk Children.


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Lompoc Family YMCA

Across Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, thousands of business leaders, community advocates, parents, teens and individuals who want to give back and support their neighbors volunteer at the Y. That’s because in our community we have the presence and partnerships to both promise and deliver positive, personal and social change.
With a focus on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility, Y volunteers give men, women and children of all ages and from all walks of life the resources and support they need to be healthy, confident, connected and secure.


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Additional Resources

Santa Barbara County Volunteer Opportunities


Other Opportunities


Animals: Santa Barbara County

Political Volunteer Opportunities: Santa Maria/Lompoc

  • Mag Nicola: District Attorney Office
312-D East Cook Street
Santa Maria, CA 93454
Telephone: (805) 346-7540

Political Volunteer Opportunities: Santa Barbara

  • Gordon Auchincloss: District Attorney Office 

1112 Santa Barbara Street

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Telephone: (805) 568-2300

  • For Victim Witness: Megan Riker-Rheinschild 
Telephone: (805) 568-2408
  • For Consumer Mediation: JoAnn Slattery 
Telephone: (805) 568-2303
  • For Clerical Aides: Leticia Castillo
Telephone: (805) 568-2462

Environmental Volunteer Opportunities: Santa Barbara


Beyond Foster Care: Need for Services Beyond the Age of 21

This survey is for California former foster, Independent Living Program (ILP) eligible probation, and dual status youth ages 22 to 35. The purpose of the study is to explore the experiences and need for services of California former foster, ILP eligible probation, and dual status youth who are between the ages of 22 and 35. Participation in the study would last about 20 to 35 minutes. You may choose to withdraw your participation at any time. Your answers will be confidential. The information will be kept in a secure database with no identifying information for the duration of the study. 

The findings of this study will be used to provide suggestions for programs and services that will improve long-term outcomes for former foster, ILP eligible probation, and dual status youth. 

Visit this link in order to complete the survey! 


Additional Resources

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