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Grow Your Oakland http://www.growyouroakland.org
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connect  volunteer

Oakland is the perfect-size city to give your time to: it's big enough to sustain a wide range of volunteer opportunities, and small enough to show the impact of your work. Oakland also has a long history of community activism and engagement (which we plan on exploring on this site in the future), a history to be proud of and a history to honor by keeping its spirit alive in the present.

Why bother? If you're reading this you probably have a lot to be thankful for: chill time, access to the internet, even your literacy. Volunteering your time and energy is a great opportunity to act on your gratitude. Check the links down below, find a gig that fits, and go give thanks for all your blessings.

Of course we think giving thanks is just the initial entry in a long list of reasons to give your precious time to your communities. Volunteering is ultimately at least a two-way street, in that you give and get: you make new connections, you explore new experiences, you challenge yourself and you learn. You also get to have an impact, and maybe save some of your therapy money because you are building something positive and that too is therapy—for free. And after you've been at it a while, you can even add the experience to your resume. See how lucky you are?

Take a look at these links, you can access city-wide listings or connect directly with a few of the organizations we love. Think about what you like to do—chances are there's a project that needs that very thing from you. Try different organizations 'til you find the one(s) that fit, and be patient—non-profits are stretched thin these days and may not be running as smoothly as you'd like. That's why they need you.


local listings

Though these listings are not comprehensive or locally managed, they do serve as a point of entry to some cool possibilities. We found listings for a pretty broad range of Oakland organizations, from The Crucible to Satellite Housing. There is some corporate sponsorship of these sites so they're not the best places to find more your more radical opportunities (though creating art with elders can be radical too).

search up-to-date listings for volunteer opportunities covering a wide variety of issues and interests

scroll down this page for loads of volunteering leads plus links to all kinds of important and interesting local info

search by location and area of interest

a few great projects, in case you're stumped

The Ella Baker Center's Soul of the City project, a new 'hands-on, hands-together campaign to create an Oakland that is safe, healthy, and balanced.' Get involved and grow this fledgling campaign!

OBUGS' mission is to build healthy communities by offering programs to children, youth and families in a network of school and neighborhood gardens, green spaces and farmers' markets. Help OBUGS improve the lives of inner-city children through your time, expertise, and dedication. Now celebrating 11 years, OBUGS has a formal Volunteer Department with positions available assisting with garden teaching, photography, book-keeping, YO!BUGS teen interns, special events, youth development, grant writing and much more. They would love to hear from you soon and welcome you into the OBUGS family, please email obug@obugs.org or call Emily or Marie at 510-465-4660 to get hooked up.

http://www.savethebay.org (check 'Get out on the Bay' tab)
Help restore East Oakland's MLK Jr. Shoreline—it includes some of the last remaining wetland habitat in the East Bay and is home to many species including the endangered California clapper rail and burrowing owls. Check out other Bay restoration events too, including canoe trips!

Second Start is an adult literacy program run by the Oakland Public Library. They seek volunteer tutors 'who have patience and are willing to view teaching as a two-way experience, understanding that we are all learners.'

City Slicker Farms encourages 'people from all walks of life to come work in solidarity with the residents of West Oakland to create a more just system of food distribution.' In other words, get to West Oakland and garden—West O has no grocery stores, we need to get vegetables on the plate there the DIY way.

Just Cause Oakland's mission is to create a just and diverse city and region by organizing Oakland residents to advocate for housing and jobs as human rights, and to mobilize for policies that produce social and economic justice in low-income communities of color. Their current 3R's campaign—Recognize, Re-Invest and Rebuild—addresses the impact of the national foreclosure crisis on Oakland, a situation directly impacting the lives of many local residents. Just Cause Oakland has a wide range of volunteer opportunities waiting for you right now—get in touch!

Keep Oakland Beautiful's mission is to engage citizens in taking personal responsibility for improving their community environments. Check the listings in the right sidebar for a monthly volunteer calendar and information on ongoing programs like Adopt-A-Creek, storm drain stenciling, and Creek-to-Bay Day.

The Oakland Public Conservatory of Music opens the world of music to all through access to quality instruction in a nurturing environment. They provide economical study in a variety of musical arts and can use volunteers for events and musical mentorship.

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