5 Best Summer Volunteer Programs To Stand Out (Bay Area)

Mapping out your summer plans for 2020? Try a summer volunteer program!

In today's blog article, you will learn summer volunteer programs in the Bay Area that you can participate in. These programs will your admission officers' heads and create interest in your college application.

Not sure why you should be volunteering this summer? Keep on reading!

Why You Should Give Back This Summer

They enhance your college applications.

College admissions officers will be interested in hearing more about your experience during your summer volunteer program (bonus points if you go abroad for your community service). These programs provide an insightful period in which you can learn a lot about yourself and may even potentially initiate the beginning of your charming college essay.

They promote self-growth.

As a high school student under the age of eighteen, deciding on a summer volunteer program gives you more responsibilities than just managing your own self. Volunteering will help you develop independence, flexibility, patience, and confidence. A summer internship or job will support establishing your experience among a pool of competitive candidates, but a summer volunteer program will refine and advance your soft skills. These are skills like communication, time management, teamwork, adaptability. Before you proceed with your technical skills (such as programming language or data analysis), you should concentrate on building your soft skills. Summer volunteer programs offer students a great opportunity to learn both hard and soft skills, depending on what the project is.

They help you disconnect.

In a time where social media and smartphones go everywhere with you, a summer volunteer program helps you spend your leisure time genuinely with the real people around you while focusing on being fully present wherever you are. It is a great chance for you to realize how much you depend on your smartphone or the Internet, and disconnect from this bad habit.

Now that you are conscious of some starting reasons on why you should join a summer volunteer program, we will present 5 Bay Are programs that you should pick from for your summer 2020.

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5 Summer Volunteer Programs In The Bay Area

HandsOn Tomorrow

A service-learning program for teenagers, HandsOn Tomorrow challenges students to proactively change their community, organize projects in their local areas, and become leaders in the Bay Area.

Each of HandsOn Tomorrow program spans over a two-week duration in which young student leaders travel to five commendable nonprofit organizations with varying objectives and vigorously participate in effective volunteering assignments.

During your two-week program at HandsOn Tomorrow, regular volunteer assignments are held Monday through Friday from 9:00 am - 3:00 pm. The concluding large-scale service projects occur on the final Saturday, usually from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm.

If you decide to attend a HandsOn Tomorrow program, you will receive 55 volunteer hours towards your college, high school club, etc.

Through the program, you will follow HandsOn Tomorrow volunteering curriculum where participants reflect on the difficulties that their local community encounters, learn how to be a dynamic presence in enacting impactful change, and grow leadership expertise that will successfully assist nearby charitable organizations and causes.

For summer 2020, HandsOn Tomorrow will be expanding to a total of eight locations in the Bay Area.

  • Palo Alto | July 6 - July 18

  • Marin (new) | July 6 - July 18

  • Walnut Creek | July 13 - July 25

  • San Jose | July 13 - July 25

  • San Mateo | July 13 - July 25

  • Fremont (new) | July 20 - August 1

  • San Francisco | July 20 - August 1

  • Sacramento (new) | July 20 - August 1

HandsOn Tomorrow programs cost of enrollment: $1,190 per individual

The summer volunteer program also offers need-based scholarships; you will be automatically redirected to the scholarship application if a need is noted.

To apply for the Bay Area program, fill out this form.

The Marine Mammal Center, Youth Crew

A global community of teens dedicated to ocean conservation, The Marine Mammal Center has locations in Sausalito, Monterey Bay, San Luis Obispo, and more for their Youth Crew volunteer program.

Youth Crew is an annual service-learning program intended for teenagers aged between fifteen and eighteen. Commitment requires participation from January through August, and volunteers accumulate an average of 120 hours of service hours for animal care and education.

This volunteer program is especially appropriate for the students that are interested in veterinary science, marine biology, environmental education, conservation, and other related fields.

Youth Crew accepted volunteer candidates will receive proper training to assist in daily tasks concerning marine animals from January through May. You will undergo further education in June to become youth counselors for The Marine Mammal Center education programs.

Through the curriculum with Youth Crew, you learn a combined experience of rehabilitating marine mammals, engaging with visitors, and encouraging future marine enthusiasts. After completion of your first eight months as a Youth Crew volunteer, you will be eligible for the Youth Crew Alumni with further opportunities like advanced workshops, field trips, providing assistance at awareness events, and more!

The Marine Mammal Center, Youth Crew cost of enrollment: $50 registration fee

If you are hesitant about enrolling in this time-intensive service-learning program, they hold four informational sessions in the Fall where all applicants and parents are strongly encouraged to attend to learn more.

*Unfortunately the application period is currently closed for this program. They will open again for the next application round in summer 2020 so prepare your required application, teacher recommendation, and waiver beforehand!

If you have questions that are not answered through their informational page, you can contact the Program Lead at youthcrew@tmmc.org.

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Golden Gate National Parks Volunteer Program

With collaborative efforts of the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, the National Park Service, and the Presidio Trust, the Golden Gate National Parks Volunteer Program provides an easy and fun opportunity for students and parents to make a difference.

The program offers a wide variety of choices when it comes to the time that you are able to commit, to whether you want to volunteer individually or in a group. Golden Gate National Parks Volunteer program does not require any prior experience and will offer all necessary training, tools, and guidance.

They have options of:

  • Weekly volunteer programs

  • Internships

  • Corporate volunteering

  • Park academy

  • Group volunteer projects

We will focus primarily on their weekly volunteer programs that allow for more flexibility in your summer schedule.

Their weekly volunteer programs are intended for either individuals and small groups of less than five people. You can decide from six potential voluntary projects:

  • Beach Programs: cleanup, maintain and restore beaches

  • Habitat Restoration Programs: restore and monitor critical habit

  • Historic Gardens Programs: revitalize and steward historic gardens'

  • Historic Landscape Programs: preserve historic structures and cultural landscapes

  • Native Plant Nursery Programs: propagate and cultivate native plants

  • Trail Maintenance Programs: repair and construct trails

Check out their weekly volunteer programs through this page, to get more details of each available program.

Golden Gate National Parks Volunteer Program cost of enrollment: $0

Leader In Training (LIT) Program

Develop your leadership skills with Cupertino's Leader In Training (LIT) Program this summer 2020. The curriculum trains participants to be better prepared for their life in college as well as grow their collaboration skills with other students.

Volunteers are expected to conduct themselves to the same standards as regular staff members would, lead various activities, and actively participate in the summer program. Further advantages of the LIT program include:

  • CPR/First-aid training

  • Acquiring service hours

  • A priceless experience where you develop important skills that will help with prospective employment

  • Network with the Cupertino community as official representatives

The volunteering program provides students with the opportunity to work alongside the Cupertino's Recreation Leaders and build their leadership skills through a week-long in-service training. The training will also help students prepare for their designated volunteer assignments.

Leader In Training (LIT) Program cost of enrollment: $50 for Resident/$60 for Non-resident

If you are interested in applying for the program, applications are to be submitted on Monday, April 29th in the Quinlan Community Center.

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UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Volunteer Program

At the University of Berkeley, you can volunteer at the Botanical Garden. Volunteers at the Garden educate the public visitors, maintain the collection, grow plants to be sold, research, help with special events, and more.

With its wide range of responsibilities, students will learn flexibility and independence through this volunteer program. There are ten potential roles that you can voluntarily participate in:

  • Garden ambassador: welcome visitors

  • Docents: lead tours for school children and adults, develop and staff educational events, and design programs that you will present in school classrooms

  • Roving ambassadors: a friendly face that provides information and supports the safety of plants and visitors throughout the Garden

  • Propagators: propagate and grow plants sold at the Garden shop and monitor plant sales

  • Garden Shop: responsible for stocking and selling gift items and books in the Garden Shop, welcome visitors, and share general information about the Garden its plants

  • Horticulture: assist the Horticultural staff with Garden maintenance

  • Special Events: travel with the Garden team to local community festivals where we introduce and raise awareness about the Garden, help with fundraising programs

  • Curation: make plant labels, clean seeds, help collect and prepare specimens for research and herbarium, and collect data on Garden plants

  • Library: update and maintain the Myrtle Wolf Library and the Garden's reference library and archives

  • Fall and Spring Plant Sales: a big bi-annual plant sale that is an important source of revenue for the Garden

Through volunteering at UC Berkeley's Botanical Garden, you have the choice of helping in positions that you find interesting and that will teach you responsibility and self-sufficiency. Moreover, if you are particularly interested in this area of study and the university itself, this volunteer opportunity presents itself as a great potential essay or conversation with the admission officers.

UC Berkeley Botanical Garden Volunteer cost of enrollment: $0


These are some starting volunteer programs that you can look into for your summer 2020 and if none of them interested you, there are plenty of other nonprofit organizations with different missions that may appeal to you!

For example, if you are curious about learning more about STEM or engineering, look up possible volunteer opportunities in those areas of interest. Be sure to do your research now to make sure that you complete any necessary documents or applications before their designated deadlines.

Overall, these volunteer projects and programs are a great way for you to practice self-independence prior to college, make your application stand out to the admissions team, and help you connect with your local community in a meaningful way.

Take a look at the top personalized summer pre-college programs that high school students can enroll in last week's blog!

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5 Best Summer Volunteer Programs To Stand Out (Bay Area)
7EDU Impact Academy 7 July, 2021
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