Weekend Highlights

Published April 7, 2014
Our Community

Doing Good: Where Kids and Families Can Volunteer

by Taryn Zier

There are heroes among us. They work each and every day to ensure that families in our community have what they need to survive and flourish.

It’s not an easy task. But it is helped tremendously by the people who volunteer and support them. We have some great ideas for how your family can help out. Find a special nonprofit that appeals to you, and have fun together making a difference. 

PREGNANCY & BABY

Eastside Baby Corner    

1510 N.W. Maple St., Issaquah WA 98027            
425-865-0234; www.babycorner.org; ebc@babycorner.org      

Who Can Help: Ages 7 and older.

What They Do: Eastside Baby Corner makes a positive difference in the lives of children and families in need by collecting and purchasing children's items and distributing them, free of charge, through agencies supporting families in east King County. The organization serves as a diaper bank, clothing bank and food source for more than 500 kids each week.                      

How You Can Help: Volunteers either sort incoming donations or fulfill orders for children. Donations of clothes, toys, furniture and diapers can also be made. Check the website for donation times and items they accept.

Details: Kids younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult. Weekly shifts are available. Sign up for opportunities online. 

Wellspring Family Services' Baby Boutique       

1900 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle WA 98144 
206-902-4270; www.wellspringfs.org; cdixon@wellspringfs.org           

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: Baby Boutique at Wellspring Family Services provides free children's items such as clothing, shoes, diapers, toys and equipment to families in King County who are homeless. Every year, free supplies are provided to more than 3,000 children.

How You Can Help: Volunteers help sort, clean and hang donations, stock and manage the store and provide support to donors by helping unload donations. Donations of new and used baby, kid and teen clothing, shoes, equipment, toys and books can also be made.

Details: Children younger than 14 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Volunteers are asked to make a commitment of at least six months. Volunteer shifts are two hours in duration. Donations are accepted during regular business hours.               

HEALTH & WELLNESS

Atlantic Street Center  

2103 S. Atlantic St., Seattle WA 98144 (office)   
206-329-2050; www.atlanticstreet.org; volunteerinfo@atlanticstreet.org        

Who Can Help: Ages 13 and older.

What They Do: Atlantic Street Center has been helping kids and families thrive for more than a century. They are one of just a few nonprofit organizations in the Seattle area that serve individuals at every stage of life, from toddlers to grandparents. Primary service areas include early learning, youth development, family support, counseling services and case management through the Seattle Youth Violence Prevention Initiative.

How You Can Help: Teens can assist middle school youth with homework assignments and daily learning activities, offer homework help and reading support for elementary school students and their parents during Family Study Time, sort and organize baby clothes and donations at the Baby Shoppe or volunteer at Atlantic Street Center's Summer Academy, a four-week educational support program that includes academic instruction along with enrichment activities.

Details: Volunteer opportunities, as well as volunteer application documents, can be found on Atlantic Street Center’s website.

Boys & Girls Clubs of King County

603 Stewart St., Suite 300, Seattle WA 98101 (office)
206-436-1800; www.positiveplace.org

Who Can Help: High school students, age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: Boys & Girls Clubs of King County give kids a place to call their own, where they can have fun, get a hot meal, be creative, be a part of a team, get help with homework or just hang out with friends. The 13 locations throughout King County create space for children and teens to learn, create and attain their best in academics, athletics and more.    

How You Can Help: Youth volunteers support the various clubs in many ways, from helping kids with homework to providing mentorship to coaching ballgames.

Details: Volunteers do not need to be club members, but must pass a background check. Contact your local Boys & Girls Club directly to talk about your interests and availability.

Catholic Community Services of Western Washington 

100 23rd Ave. S., Seattle WA 98144 (office)        
206-328-5953; www.ccsww.org; info@ccsww.org         

Who Can Help: High school students, age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: Catholic Community Services of Western Washington serves and supports poor and vulnerable people through the provision of quality, integrated services and housing. They provide services to everyone regardless of their race, sex, marital status, family size, political ideology, age, religion, national origin or veteran’s status.

How You Can Help: The Youth Tutoring Program is an after-school educational enrichment program for students in grades one through 12 living in low- and mixed-income housing communities in Seattle. Volunteer tutors help provide the youth with a safe and positive environment to explore learning and experience academic and personal success. The Volunteer Chore Services program offers opportunities for families to help out with chores and yard work for King County seniors. Learn more about the plethora of current volunteer opportunities at Catholic Community Services by visiting their website.

Details: Volunteer tutors must be active high school students (or have obtained their high school diploma or equivalent), complete the formal application process and be interested in making a difference in the lives of youth. Teens older than 16 who have parental permission can volunteer on their own.

Childhaven        

316 Broadway, Seattle WA 98122 (office)            
206-624-6477; www.childhaven.org; info@childhaven.org      

Who Can Help: High school students.

What They Do: Childhaven is a leader in therapeutic child care for the youngest victims of abuse and neglect. In three King County locations, they intervene during the most critical period of brain development for children – one month through 5 years – with therapy, social interaction and emotional support. Parents and caregivers also get support.                              

How You Can Help: Through an Amazon.com wish list, donors are able to purchase items to create birthday packages for Childhaven children. Or, shop with your kids on Childhaven's online list of items that teachers use to provide therapeutic care to nearly 400 children and families each year. Volunteer opportunities include classroom helpers and the teen Youth Board, which raises money to help fund Childhaven programs. 

Details: Classroom helpers must be 18 or older and commit to at least one two-hour time block a week for a minimum of six months. The Youth Board is a year-long commitment for high school students. Applications for 2013-2014 will be available on Childhaven's website in April.           

Compass Housing Alliance         

77 S. Washington St., Seattle WA 98104 (office)               
206-357-3100; www.compasshousingalliance.org; volunteer@compasshousingalliance.org   

Who Can Help: Age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: The Compass Housing Alliance provides a range of services and housing options to people struggling with homelessness and poverty in the Seattle area, including emergency and transitional housing and permanent affordable housing for families with children.

How You Can Help: Volunteers can help prepare and serve meals at Compass's shelters. Families can also schedule to bring dessert to the meals. Donations of hygiene items (toothbrushes, toothpaste, soap, etc.), socks, new warm hats and gloves, and twin sheets are also needed.

Details: In most cases minors are allowed to volunteer at Compass Housing Alliance as long as they are accompanied by a parent or guardian. Call to make an appointment to deliver donation items.  

Family Support Center of South Sound 

201 Capitol Way N., Olympia WA 98501               
360-754-9297; www.fscss.org; cindym@fscss.org         

Who Can Help: Teens, age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: The Family Support Center is a nonprofit community resource center offering a variety of services and programs for children and families in the heart of historic downtown Olympia. Programs include homeless family services, parent resource services, parent education and supervised visitation.               

How You Can Help: Volunteers are needed as greeters and overnight hosts at the Family Support Shelter, which provides emergency shelter for families with children younger than 18. Families can also volunteer their time to cook a home-style meal or plan a craft night at the shelter. In-kind donations of diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes, bus passes, laundry vouchers and hygiene items are also needed.       

Details: Volunteers must be 18 to sign up by themselves, but children are welcome to volunteer with parents. The volunteer greeter position runs from 5 to 7:30 p.m. each night; the overnight position from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Volunteers are provided with training, access to staff and 24-hour on-call support during their shifts.

First Place          

PO Box 22536, Seattle WA 98122             
206-323-6715; www.firstplaceschool.org; jscoggins@firstplaceschool.org        

Who Can Help: Ages 15 ½ and older.

What They Do: First Place serves families in crisis by providing education, housing and support services, enabling families to achieve permanent stability. The organization offers elementary education at First Place School, health and mental health programs and housing assistance.

How You Can Help: Once-a-week volunteer opportunities in the classroom include teacher's aides, mentors and tutors. First Place also collects new and gently-used clothing, school supplies, hygiene/personal items or household items, as well as books and classroom supplies.            

Details: Classroom volunteers have set schedules from September through June. Donations can be delivered by appointment during regular business hours.

Friends of Youth             

13116 N.E. 132nd St., Kirkland WA 98034 (office)             
425-869-6490; www.friendsofyouth.org; volunteer@friendsofyouth.org

Who Can Help: Ages 13 and older.

What They Do: Friends of Youth has spent the past 62 years meeting the needs of youth in crisis, and providing safe places and emotional support to those in challenging circumstances.   

How You Can Help: Families can donate essential supplies – diapers and formula for young mothers, healthy snack bags for homeless youth, or new clothes and household items for foster youth. Check the website for a wish list of current needs. Teens can also assist in the following ways: providing childcare, as dinner donors preparing meals for the shelter, at the administrative office with creative projects and at events throughout the year.

Details: To sign up for a volunteer position, complete the online volunteer application. Interested families are encouraged to call or email for more information.

International Rescue Committee - Seattle          

100 S. King St., Seattle WA 98104 (office)            
206-623-2105; www.rescue.org/us-program/us-seattle-wa; volunteersea@rescue.org             

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: The International Rescue Committee offers lifesaving care and assistance to refugees forced to flee from war or disaster. At work today in more than 40 countries and in 22 U.S. cities, the IRC helps to restore safety, dignity and hope to millions who are uprooted and struggling to endure.                     

How You Can Help: Become a "Friend of the Family Mentor" and help a newly arrived refugee family adapt to their new home and culture. Your family can warmly welcome a family into the community by serving as a friend, guide and advocate. Activities may include home visits, going on outings, playing board games, assisting kids with homework and helping with everyday tasks.               

Details: This volunteer position involves an average of two to four hours per week, with flexible days and times. A minimum six month commitment is required. The refugee families reside primarily in South King County.

Mary Bridge Children's Foundation       

PO Box 5296, Tacoma WA 98415               
253-403-1599; www.multicare.org/foundations/mary-bridge; mallory.beckingham@multicare.org    

Who Can Help: Children of all ages.

What They Do: The Foundation raises funds and community awareness for Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital & Health Center (the designated Level II pediatric trauma center for the children of Western Washington), and to assist the hospital in achieving its mission of providing care for all children, regardless of a family’s ability to pay.                         

How You Can Help: Families may make in-kind gifts of toys for the children at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital.

Details: Toys should be new, unwrapped and must not have a violent orientation. For a list of recommended toys, check out the online Mary Bridge toy wish list. Donations are accepted at the front desk of the hospital (317 Martin Luther King Jr. Way in Tacoma).              

Rescue Mission               

425 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma WA 98402 (office) 
253-383-4493; www.rescue-mission.org; volunteer@rescue-mission.org         

Who Can Help: Ages 7 and older.

What They Do: The Rescue Mission works with people at all stages of addiction, homelessness or other life challenges, offering services, support and facilities for people in Pierce County. The Rescue Mission operates two facilities that provide meals to those in need – the family shelter, Adams Campus, and the men's shelter, Good Neighbor Café.

How You Can Help: Volunteers can work in both of the kitchens, helping to clean, prepare and serve meals to the clients.               

Details: Visit the Rescue Mission website to register and to pick specific volunteer events to attend.

Solid Ground    

1501 N. 45th St., Seattle WA 98103 (office)         
206-694-6700; www.solid-ground.org; suem@solid-ground.org            

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision. 

What They Do: Solid Ground works to end poverty. Based in Seattle's Wallingford neighborhood, the organization’s 30 programs and services, which provide shelter, food, transportation and other basic services, help nearly 60,000 families in King County overcome poverty and build better futures each year.

How You Can Help: Solid Ground's Lettuce Link program coordinates a giving garden at Marra Farm in Seattle's South Park neighborhood. Volunteers are needed to help with gardening projects that generate more than 17,000 pounds of produce each year for local food banks.

Details: Volunteer shifts are from two to four hours in duration. They occur on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from March through November.

Volunteers of America 

2802 Broadway Ave., Everett WA 98201 (office)               
425-259-3191; www.voaww.org; volunteers@voaww.org        

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: A leader in human services, Volunteers of America has remained at the forefront of serving our community's most vulnerable populations by providing basic needs. Volunteers of America food banks in Everett, Greenwood/North Seattle, Mill Creek and Sultan distribute emergency food to families, children, seniors and individuals with disabilities.                               

How You Can Help: Volunteer as a family at the food bank Community Volunteer Nights. Volunteers sort food donations and repackage bulk food into individual client sizes. Other special events and projects needing volunteers can be found online.

Details: The Everett Food Bank Community Nights happen on the last Thursday of each month. The Greenwood Food Bank Community Nights happen the second Friday of each month. Space is limited, so register online ahead of time. 

YMCA of Greater Seattle            

909 Fourth Ave., Seattle WA 98104 (office)        
206-382-5000; www.seattleymca.org  

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: The YMCA of Greater Seattle strengthens communities through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. Founded in 1876, the Y reaches more than 200,000 people of all backgrounds, abilities and financial circumstances annually through 13 branches, two overnight camps and more than 200 program sites throughout King and south Snohomish counties.                        

How You Can Help: Families and youth volunteers help with a variety of activities and special events. For example, Healthy Kids Day is an annual community event each spring that is free to the public and requires lots of volunteers. Special projects with parents and kids might include making thank you cards for donors, helping staff with various daily tasks at the branch and more.          

Details: The Y accepts volunteers of all ages, although kids 14 and younger must have an adult with them. Volunteers do not have to be YMCA members. Contact your local Y's “Volunteer Champion” to talk about your interests and availability.

HUNGER

FamilyWorks    

1501 N. 45th St., Seattle WA 98103         
206-694-6727; www.familyworksseattle.org; avad@familyworksseattle.org            

Who Can Help: Ages 12 and older.

What They Do: With the combination of a food bank and a family resource center, FamilyWorks offers people in Wallingford and surrounding neighborhoods a unique opportunity to nourish and strengthen their bodies, minds and spirit in a positive, supportive environment.                  

How You Can Help: Food bank volunteers help with individual packaging of bulk food, sort, bag and distribute food to customers and clean up the warehouse. 

Details: A minimum commitment of two hours per week is requested.

The Food Bank @ St. Mary’s      

611 20th Ave. S., Seattle WA 98144         
206-324-7100; www.thefbsm.org; volunteer@thefbsm.org     

Who Can Help: Ages 7 and older.

What They Do: The Food Bank @ St. Mary's, located in Seattle's Central District, provides groceries to those in need through a walk-in food bank and home delivery program.                           

How You Can Help: Volunteers help with various projects, such as sorting food donations, distributing food to customers, picking up donations and delivering groceries to homebound residents.               

Details: Kids need to be at least 16 to volunteer on their own, though younger volunteers can be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers need to be able to stand, bend and grab items with their hands, and should be comfortable working in a busy, sometimes loud environment.

Food Lifeline    

1702 N.E. 150th St., Shoreline WA 98155              
877-404-7543; www.foodlifeline.org; volunteer@fll.org          

Who Can Help: Ages 6 and older.

What They Do: Food Lifeline stocks the shelves at 275 food banks, meal programs and shelters throughout Western Washington. The 35 million pounds of food secured from restaurants, grocery stores, farmers and manufacturers feeds 745,000 people every year. Food Lifeline is the local member of the nation’s largest hunger relief organization, Feeding America.                             

How You Can Help: At Community Volunteer Night at the Shoreline warehouse, volunteers help sort, label and repackage food for distribution to local food banks, meal programs and shelters.   

Details: Community Volunteer Nights happen every Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. Online reservations for these events are required, and they can book up fast.

Hopelink            

10675 Willows Road N.E., Redmond WA 98052 (office) 
425-869-6066; www.hope-link.org; volunteerwithus@hope-link.org 

Who Can Help: Ages 7 and older.

What They Do: Hopelink offers an integrated array of programs that enable families in crisis to make progress toward and achieve self-sufficiency, including food bank help, emergency family shelter and a family development program that aids those at risk of homelessness. Hopelink emergency service centers are located in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Shoreline and Sno-Valley.                               

How You Can Help: All Hopelink centers accept volunteers, who stock and sort food donations and offer general food bank help.

Details: An adult guardian or chaperone is required for volunteers ages 15 and younger. Volunteers are expected to make a three-month or more commitment.

Northwest Harvest        

PO Box 12272, Seattle WA 98102 (office)             
800-722-6924; www.northwestharvest.org; volunteer@northwestharvest.org              

Who Can Help: Anyone third grade and older.

What They Do: Northwest Harvest is the only nonprofit food bank distributor operating statewide in Washington with a network of more than 350 food banks, meal programs and high-need schools. The organization provides more than 1.7 million meals every month to this network.

How You Can Help: Volunteers help by sorting and packaging food at the Kent warehouse or by sorting, packaging and distributing food to clients at the Cherry Street Food Bank in Seattle.

Details: Youth 15 and younger must bring an adult to volunteer with them.

PCC Natural Markets Food Bank Program            

Various locations in the Greater Seattle area    
206-547-1222; www.pccnaturalmarkets.com/community; communityrelations@pccsea.com 

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: PCC Natural Markets supports dozens of neighborhood events and celebrations through sponsorships and food donations. The PCC Food Bank Program is one of PCC's community outreach efforts – bulk food is purchased at wholesale prices and donated to 10 local food banks.

How You Can Help: Volunteers help package the bulk food into family-sized portions at work parties, so that the food can be distributed to partner food banks. These work parties occur throughout the year at food banks located in Edmonds, Issaquah, Kirkland, Redmond and Seattle.

Details: No special skills are necessary. Young volunteers can earn school community service hours. Registration is not required; simply show up at the food bank at the scheduled time (times and locations are available online). Large groups should contact PCC for more information.

Teen Feed         

4740 B University Way N.E., Seattle WA 98105 (office) 
206-522-4366; www.teenfeed.org; volunteer@teenfeed.org 

Who Can Help: Ages 10 and older, age requirement varies for different opportunities. 

What They Do: Teen Feed works with the community to offer hot nutritious meals, basic needs items and support to homeless youth and young adults. Teen Feed's Meal Program is held from 7 to 8 p.m. every day in Seattle's University District and on Fridays in Auburn.                            

How You Can Help: Youth can serve on the volunteer meal teams, which provide food, prepare and serve the meals and clean the kitchen. "Ally volunteers" assist with organization, set-up and break-down of the basic needs closet, guest registration, and meal preparation and clean-up.

Details: Meal team volunteers must be 10 and older. Ally volunteers are youth ages 18 and younger. Volunteer orientation is required for service. To learn more, visit the Teen Feed website or call 206-229-0813.

EDUCATION

Communities In Schools of Washington              

1010 S. 336th St., Federal Way WA 98003 (office)            
253-248-1991; www.ciswa.org; info@ciswa.org 

Who Can Help: Age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: In more than 200 communities across 27 states, Communities In Schools works closely with schools and other partners to get young people the things they need to learn, grow, and stay in school, including after-school help and family services. The 12 affiliates in Washington include Seattle, Federal Way, Auburn, Kent, Renton and Tacoma.                             

How You Can Help: Volunteer opportunities vary, as the programs are tailored to the needs of the individual communities. Youth might volunteer as peer mentors or tutors for younger students, get involved in community service initiatives, such as Puyallup's March Gladness where 32 schools work on a service project, or help at a special event, such as collecting school supplies for a "Stuff the Bus" campaign. 

Details: Contact the Communities In Schools affiliates individually to see about youth volunteer opportunities. For a list of affiliates, visit www.ciswa.org/contactus.

Page Ahead       

1130 N.W. 85th St., Seattle WA 98117 (office)   
206-461-0123; www.pageahead.org; info@pageahead.org      

Who Can Help: Age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: Page Ahead is the leading provider of children's literacy services in Washington, serving more than 55,000 children in need every year. The nonprofit offers new books for children, literacy support for families and reading resources in schools throughout King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties.

How You Can Help: Teens can apply to become story time volunteers, who read to preschool and kindergarten classes, sing songs and create simple crafts with kids during the school day. Youth can also sort books or help with administrative work at the office, or organize a drive for new children's books (helpful book drive resources can be found on Page Ahead's website).            

Details: Story time volunteers must commit to a full school year (applications are due in the summer). Current volunteer opportunities can be found on Page Ahead's website.

Team Read        

PO Box 94042, Seattle WA 98124 (office)             
206-252-0069; www.teamread.org; mrmassey@seattleschools.org     

Who Can Help: Anyone eighth grade and older.

What They Do: Team Read helps Seattle's public elementary school students achieve reading success. Pairing youth tutors with second- and third-grade students who are reading below grade level in 12 elementary schools across the city, Team Read helps the students’ reading, comprehension and vocabulary.

How You Can Help: Volunteer coaches tutor their students after school to not only improve their students’ reading skills but also serve as meaningful role models. High school coaches can satisfy community service hours, earn hourly pay or deferred college tuition. All eighth-grade coaches are volunteers. Younger children can host a book drive for Team Read.

Details: Coaches must have a minimum 2.7 GPA, good attendance and behavior record, complete an essay and have three signed references. Applications are accepted twice a year, in September and December. Tutoring sessions begin between 3 and 3:30 p.m. and end between 4:30 and 4:45 p.m. on either Mondays/Wednesdays or Tuesdays/Thursdays.

World Vision’s KidREACH           

PO Box 9716, Federal Way WA 98063 (office)                    
www.worldvisionusprograms.org; bboyd@worldvision.org 

Who Can Help: Ages 16 and older.

What They Do: KidREACH is a program of the Christian humanitarian organization World Vision, based in Federal Way. The program offers a free after-school program for children and youth who are struggling academically and/or socially with one-on-one mentoring and tutoring at more than 25 sites throughout the greater Puget Sound area.                    

How You Can Help: Volunteers work two hours a week with struggling students. During a typical tutoring session, the duo will enjoy a snack, read, work on homework together and play an educational game that increases basic math and reading skills. Younger children can host a school supply drive.   

Details: Volunteers must submit an application and pass a background check. For information on how to host a drive for World Vision, visit www.worldvision.org/bringit.

SPECIAL NEEDS

Camp Korey      

28901 N.E. Carnation Farm Road, Carnation WA 98014 (office)  
425-844-3100; www.campkorey.org; mhutchinson@campkorey.org   

Who Can Help: Ages 16 and older, age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: Camp Korey serves children with serious and life-altering medical conditions and their families at no cost. Year-round recreation programs specially designed to support the medical needs of campers let them just be kids and have fun.                       

How You Can Help: Volunteers assist with housekeeping or work with a chef to prepare, serve and clean up during family weekend camps. Kids of all ages can help with special events throughout the year, such as the Carnation 4th of July parade, fall festival in October or organic gardening. Families can also fulfill items on Camp Korey's online wish list, such as camping coolers and sunscreen.

Details: Assisting the chef requires a current flu shot, application, background check and King County food handlers’ card. Event volunteers younger than 16 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian.

Encompass        

1407 Boalch Ave. N.W., North Bend WA 98045 (office) 
425-888-2777; www.encompassnw.org; lisa.yeager@encompassnw.org           

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: Encompass is a children's and family-services organization with programs that nurture typical and developmentally-challenged children, enrich families in all their diversity, and inspire community throughout the Snoqualmie Valley, Issaquah, Sammamish and the greater Eastside.                       

How You Can Help: Youth volunteers can help with various events, including Encompass summer camps and local community festivals like the North Bend Block Party on July 20, 2013. Family Night volunteers interact with children and families in the program on select Friday nights at the Si View Community Center in North Bend.               

Details: Volunteers must fill out an application form and receive a background check.    

Little Bit Therapeutic Riding Center       

18675 N.E. 106th St., Redmond WA 98052)       
425-882-1554; www.littlebit.org; jeffrey@littlebit.org              

Who Can Help: Ages 14 and older, age requirement varies for different opportunities.

What They Do: Little Bit's mission is to improve the bodies, minds and spirits of children and adults with disabilities through equine-assisted therapy, and to be an educational resource for the therapeutic riding profession, both regionally and nationally.                          

How You Can Help: Program volunteers assist riders by grooming and tacking horses before class, supporting riders while in class, leading horses and putting them away after class. Younger kids can help clean saddles, weed or help with events. Check the website for current volunteer opportunities.               

Details: Program volunteers must be at least 14 years old and attend volunteer training. Program volunteers commit to at least one regular two-hour shift for the length of a 14-week session.

Outdoors for All              

6344 N.E. 74th St., Seattle WA 98115 (office)     
206-838-6030; www.outdoorsforall.org; volunteer@outdoorsforall.org            

Who Can Help: Ages 13 and older.

What They Do: The Outdoors for All Foundation provides year-round instruction in outdoor recreation for people with physical, developmental and sensory disabilities. Outdoors for All’s year round programming includes snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross country and downhill skiing, cycling, hiking, river rafting, canoeing and kayaking, day camps, water skiing, rock-climbing, camping and more.

How You Can Help: Volunteer cadets serve as assistants to a primary instructor, helping children and adults with disabilities with outdoor recreation activities. Volunteer junior camp counselors help out at day camps, which provide an active environment for children with and without disabilities.                 

Details: The cadet and junior camp counselor volunteer opportunities are for youth ages 13 to 15; other volunteer activities require youth ages 16 or older. Volunteer orientations typically take place the third Wednesday of each month.

OUTDOOR FUN & LEARNING

Bike Works        

3709 S. Ferdinand St., Seattle WA 98118              
206-725-9408; www.bikeworks.org; info@bikeworks.org         

Who Can Help: Children of all ages.

What They Do: Bike Works is an innovative organization centered around bicycles that combines youth development, community engagement, bicycle recycling and a social enterprise bike shop to help build a sustainable and healthy community. Each year, Bike Works collects more than 4,000 bicycles to refurbish or recycle. Bikes are then used in bike riding and bike repair programs, sold in the Community Bike Shop, which helps fund programming, and given away to schools and nonprofit partners.                               

How You Can Help: Donate whole bicycles, miscellaneous parts, bike frames and accessories or gear to be recycled or reused through Bike Works programs. Bike Works is especially in need of kids’ bikes.     

Details: Donations are accepted at the Columbia City shop during business hours, Tuesday through Sunday, or at recycling and disposal stations in north and south Seattle, Shoreline, Tukwila and Issaquah.

Girls on the Run of Puget Sound              

1265 S. Main St., Seattle WA 98144 (office)        
206-528-2118; www.girlsrun.org; anna@girlsrun.org  

Who Can Help: Ages 16 and older.

What They Do: Girls on the Run is a positive youth development program that combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self-respect and healthy lifestyles in pre-teen girls.                    

How You Can Help: Volunteer coaches and co-coaches work directly with third- through fifth-grade girls by leading them through fun and active lessons each week while helping them prepare for a non-competitive 5K event. Volunteer running buddies run (walk, skip or hop) with a girl during two 5K experiences: on-site at the practice 5K and at the actual race.

Details: Co-coaches volunteer about four to six hours a week for 10 weeks. Running buddies must commit to being at the practice and 5K runs. Both require background checks.

Nature Consortium        

4408 Delridge Way S.W., Suite 107, Seattle WA 98106 (office)  
206-923-0853; www.naturec.org; volunteer@naturec.org        

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: The Nature Consortium fosters vibrant communities and inspires people in the Puget Sound area through art and environmental action. They provide year-round youth art classes, urban forest restoration and the annual Arts in Nature Festival.                               

How You Can Help: Volunteer work parties happen several times per week to restore habitat in the West Duwamish Greenbelt, located in West Seattle. Volunteers plant native plants and trees during the fall and winter and remove invasive species and mulch year round. Saturday events include live music.

Details: Volunteers of all ages are welcome, but a youth waiver must be signed and those younger than 13 must be chaperoned. Each event, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is supervised by a trained staff or volunteer lead. Tools and gloves are provided.

Urban Artworks                               

815 Seattle Blvd. S., Suite B7, Seattle WA 98134               
206-292-4142; http://urbanartworks.org; info@urbanartworks.org 

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with parent supervision.

What They Do: Urban Artworks empowers and restores youth and communities through public art. Staff members believe engaging marginalized youth in creating murals enhances positive life skills, increases community attachment and beautifies neighborhoods. The program employs, educates and empowers at-risk youth ages 14 to 18, fostering an environment of positive recognition, support and teamwork. Most of their referrals come from King County Juvenile Court, where youth have multiple barriers to success as well as criminal histories.

How You Can Help: Families can get involved by collecting art supplies (paints, brushes and rollers), plywood in good condition, step stools and ladders, paper towels, masking tape, butcher paper and computer paper, healthy snacks and other items. As well, Urban Artworks is always looking for fun, energetic and creative people to help with events or to volunteer in the office.

Details: Visit the Urban Artworks website to learn more about donations and volunteering.

Washington Trails Association 

705 Second Ave., Seattle WA 98104 (office)       
206-625-1367; www.wta.org; trail_teams@wta.org     

Who Can Help: Ages 10 and older.

What They Do: The Washington Trails Association works to protect hiking trails and wild lands, takes volunteers out to maintain trails and promotes hiking as a healthy, fun way to explore the outdoors.                         

How You Can Help: Youth volunteers can participate in one-day work parties throughout the Puget Sound area. Youth-specific work parties provide a unique opportunity for young people to learn about trail maintenance while meeting other people. High school students can spend a week on the trail during a "Youth Vacation," when they learn about building and maintaining hiking trails in a teamwork-oriented environment. 

Details: Kids younger than 14 must be accompanied by an adult. After five work parties, volunteers earn their very own green hard hat with their name on it. Teens can earn up to eight community service hours each day. Youth Vacations are for students ages 14 to 18.                                  

TEEN SUPPORT

The Ruby Room               

1634 11th Ave., Seattle WA 98122           
206-439-7575; www.rubyroomseattle.org; info@rubyroomseattle.org              

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with adult supervision.

What They Do: The Ruby Room provides formal attire to teens in financial need. The organization also provides leadership and education through volunteer opportunities and workshops. The Ruby Room is run entirely by volunteers and just celebrated its 10-year anniversary.                         

How You Can Help: The Ruby Room accepts formal dresses, shoes, jewelry, wraps and purses that are no older than four years old and in good condition. Volunteer opportunities, often as personal shoppers, vary depending on the number of high school students signed up for assistance.   

Details: Children 12 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. To donate gowns and accessories, visit the Ruby Room website to learn out about upcoming dress drives.

YouthCare         

2500 N.E. 54th St., Seattle WA 98105 (office)     
206-267-3076; www.youthcare.org; volunteer@youthcare.org              

Who Can Help: Ages 16 and older.

What They Do: For nearly 40 years, YouthCare has been a leader in providing services to Seattle’s homeless youth, including outreach, basic services, emergency shelter, housing, counseling, education and employment training. YouthCare has six sites serving the greater Seattle area.                     

How You Can Help: Volunteer opportunities include serving a meal at the James W. Ray Orion Center in Seattle, or helping with deep cleaning or yard work at one of the YouthCare sites. Families can also host a critical supplies drive (current needs listed online) or make an individual donation of warm clothing and supplies.                       

Details: A typical volunteer commitment is at least six months. Donations are accepted at YouthCare’s office during regular business hours.


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Seattle's Child's "Connect" family Directory was created so that parents, grandparents and people working with kids may easily discover and connect to the many businesses and nonprofits of interest to families in our community. Browse the pages of the directory to discover new opportunities for your family to have fun, help out in the community, learn and get support.

SOCIAL ACTION

Another way to volunteer as a family is to get involved in advocating for children with nonprofits that specialize in this sort of thing. Here are a few of our favorites:

Children’s Alliance

206-324-0340; www.childrensalliance.org

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with parent supervision.

What They Do: Children’s Alliance is an advocacy organization working to protect kids by changing laws, to serve kids by making sure that programs and policies work, to put kids first by securing money and to advocate for kids by holding lawmakers accountable. Current campaigns focus on early learning, covering all kids with health insurance, ending childhood hunger and improving foster care.

How You Can Help: Parents and children can help by telling their personal stories to lawmakers and asking them to enact laws or fund programs that are important to them. Call 360-786-7573 or visit www.leg.wa.gov to find your local representatives. Visit the Children’s Alliance website to learn about their legislative agenda.

Want a speaker about kids' issues and advocacy at your community event? Looking for tips about how to spread the word about kids' issues in your community? Contact Emijah Smith, community organizer, at emijah@childrensalliance.org.

Committee for Children

206-343-1223; www.cfchildren.org 

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with parent supervision.

What They Do: For more than 30 years, Committee for Children has developed research-based curricula for social-emotional learning, bullying prevention and child abuse prevention. It is best known for its Second Step: Skills for Social and Academic Success curriculum for early learning through grade eight, which teaches skills for learning, empathy, emotion management and problem solving.

How You Can Help:  Some schools cannot afford the curriculum. Families or groups could fundraise to buy a curriculum kit and donate it to a local school. To learn more about kit costs and how to make a donation, visit Committee for Children’s website.

Mockingbird Society

206-323-5437; www.mockingbirdsociety.org

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with parent supervision.

What They Do: Mockingbird Society is dedicated to building a world-class foster care system in Washington that ensures the care, support and resources necessary for children, youth and families to thrive. Staff and volunteers advocate for a reform of the foster care system based on the personal experiences of children, youth and families. The staff includes young people with backgrounds in foster care or homelessness who comprise the Mockingbird Youth Network and provide the content for their award-winning newspaper the Mockingbird Times

How You Can Help: Get tips on the Mockingbird Society website for talking with your legislator about the issues. As well, young people can sign up to be part of the annual Youth Advocacy Day (February) and meet elected leaders in Olympia. Contact Brooklyn@mockingbirdsociety.org to learn more.

Washington Toxics Coalition

206-632-1545; www.watoxics.org 

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with parent supervision. 

What They Do: Washington Toxics Coalition works to keep toxic chemicals out of homes, schools and workplaces. Children’s health and safety is a major area of emphasis. Recent successful efforts include establishing strong requirements for makers of children’s products to disclose harmful chemicals in products from pacifiers and toys to cribs and car seats, helping persuade the legislature to ban the hormone-disrupting chemical BPA from children’s food and beverage containers and sports bottles, and advancing legislation to phase out heavy metals and some toxic flame retardants. This year’s priority is passage of the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act to ban another cancer-causing flame retardant. 

How You Can Help: Families can help by joining the coalition and by writing letters to the editor or blog posts in favor of the Toxic-Free Kids and Families Act, going to the state capitol with members of the coalition, volunteering at Wednesday phone banks, lending a hand around the office or helping at events. Learn more on the “Take Action” section of the website. 

Wellspring Family Services

206-826-3050; www.family-services.org 

Who Can Help: Children of all ages, with parent supervision. 

What They Do: Wellspring Family Services builds emotionally healthy, self-sufficient families and a non-violent community in which they can thrive. By addressing the overlapping issues of mental health challenges, domestic violence and homelessness, staff members get at the source of instability for families. Last year they served more than 9,000 children, adults and families in King County. 

How You Can Help: An easy way for children to get involved is the Kids Helping Kids Campaign. Children can start a penny drive, host a lemonade stand or bake sale, celebrate their birthdays with a benefit party for homeless kids or dream up their own way to collect donations. Learn more on the “Events & Campaigns” section of the website.