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Mental Health Awareness Month Spotlight – employment & job support are critical to mental health recovery

May 13, 2022

By Kelsey Smith, Career Services Employment Specialist Returning to work can be daunting for anyone who has taken time off, particularly those overwhelmed by anxiety, depression, or other mental health challenges. Community Connection provides holistic support for people with mental health diagnoses including day classes, family support, substance use recovery services, healthy lifestyle support, and … Read more

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Take Action for Earth Day

Apr 18, 2022

Earth Day 2022 is this Friday, April 22nd! Join the world’s largest environmental movement by taking action on Friday or any other day because every day is Earth Day! We have put together a guide of all the best environmentally focused volunteer opportunities and you can choose to volunteer at a one-day event or sign … Read more

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Local teens help us keep the beach clean – Join us every month!

Mar 18, 2022

With Spring’s arrival and the weather getting warmer, now is the perfect time to join one of YouthSERVE’s monthly beach clean-ups at Main Beach in Santa Cruz. In January, we hosted a beach clean-up that just so happened to take place the day after the tsunami warning in Santa Cruz. The waves had washed up … Read more

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How Can We Ensure Nonprofits are Supported & Thrive During Future Emergencies?

Feb 22, 2022

What an honor to represent our Center and the Nonprofit Sector in my testimony at a Joint Assembly/Senate Select Committee Hearing on the topic of  “Ensuring Nonprofits are Supported and Thrive during Future Emergencies”.  This invitation was extended because the incredible work we did together over the last 2 long years of Covid and Fire … Read more

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Take Action on MLK Holiday!

Jan 13, 2022

“And one of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change, and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses, that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.” — Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King … Read more

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Adopt A Family – It’s More than Just a Gift

Nov 18, 2021

I’ve been volunteering with the Adopt A Family program since I was in high school and we went down to the donation warehouse to “shop” from donated gifts and put together packages. That was 22 years ago (yikes!) but the program is still delivering holiday cheer to people experiencing hardship in our community. This is … Read more

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Listening to a Generation in Crisis

Oct 19, 2021

The last two years have impacted our community in immeasurable ways. The mental, emotional and physiological distress we’ve collectively endured is only starting to surface. For some of us, we brushed the dust off our shoulders as we jumped back into our daily routines…but for others, the crippling weight of anxiety, depression, trauma and fear … Read more

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A Special Safety Message to our Volunteers

Oct 14, 2021

Dear Amazing Volunteers, Time and time again this year, our community needed help and you answered the call. Sometimes to stay at home and wait patiently, making masks, phoning seniors and raising funds online to keep our community whole through those early days of COVID. During the fires you showed up in record numbers to … Read more

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Connect for Good Outside

Aug 5, 2021

It’s a clear-skied, beautiful summer in Santa Cruz County so far, and with so much uncertainty regarding the Delta variant and what activities are safe, there has never been a better time to volunteer outside.  Volunteering outside is the safest way to put your values into action, make a lasting impact and connect with your … Read more

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2021 Civic 50 – Prioritizing Investing in Strengthening our Community

Jun 17, 2021

This year’s list of The Civic 50 promotes National and Regional Companies that choose to make investing in strengthening our communities and civil society – giving, volunteering and voting – a priority. Receiving this award is not a vanity or popularity exercise; these companies are selected based on detailed data about their policy, practice, leadership, … Read more

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Elevating What Works to Support the Unhoused In Santa Cruz County

May 3, 2021

We are all aware of the struggles to house people in our community. Through a growing focus, learning, and coordination we have made monumental strides as a community towards rapid rehousing, and yet some people visibly and consistently fail to access or succeed in housing. For those working each day to help solve this issue, … Read more

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Volunteer Center Staff member holding the Volunteer Center Heart logo in her hand

Navigating the Criminal Justice System During a Pandemic

Apr 26, 2021

 While community programs were put on hold over the past year, two of our programs at the Volunteer Center, Friends Outside and the Court Community Service Program managed to keep their doors open during the entirety of these chaotic times. As restorative justice programs meeting the needs of men and women either facing incarceration or coming out of incarceration– family connections, livelihoods, personal safety, and autonomy were at stake. 

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picture of members of the Quail Hollow Volunteer Trail Crew

National Volunteer Week 2021- Volunteers Restore the Common Good

Apr 23, 2021

As we close out National Volunteer Week, we want to ensure that every volunteer in our community has received our full gratitude. THANK YOU to each and every person who helped sustain our community and our organization in the last year.  Santa Cruz County has weathered so much and at every turn, volunteers have been … Read more

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Support the Volunteer Center With a Lookout Local Membership

Mar 19, 2021

We are incredibly excited to share that we have teamed up with Lookout Local. Here at the Volunteer Center we have been so enthused by the fresh new brand of journalism they are bringing to Santa Cruz County. If you haven’t had a chance to check out their online content we encourage you to take … Read more

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Pause & Reflection For the 2021 Human Race

Feb 24, 2021

Nothing embodies the power and joy of connecting our community for good like the Human Race Giving Campaign! Each February it begins with the kick-off of a small group of determined and hopeful dreamers who come together across business, schools, faith, neighborhoods, service clubs and nonprofits to unveil a new look and theme for artwork, … Read more

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February Kindness- Helping Seniors Stay Connected

Feb 16, 2021

We are rolling into our week basking in the love and kindness displayed by our community in February. Throughout the past week staff, volunteers, and community partners distributed hundreds of handmade Valentine’s to local seniors living alone or in care facilities. Started as a project on Martin Luther King Day 2021, community members designed and … Read more

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Join Us as a Volunteer at County-Wide Vaccine Clinics

Jan 27, 2021

UPDATE FEB. 5th The County of Santa Cruz has opened a weekly mass vaccination clinic at the Watsonville Fairgrounds, clinics at the old City Hall in Watsonville, and a special clinic at Dominican Hospital on Feb 18th to provide vaccines to the latest community tiers. We are supporting this effort by mobilizing non-medical volunteers to help … Read more

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Debris Flow Evacuations and How You Can Help

Jan 25, 2021

With the impending high winds and expected storms to come in the next few days, Santa Cruz County community members living in areas identified at risk are currently being asked to evacuate due to the threat of debris flow and mudslides. We are working with the County of Santa Cruz to help staff the evacuation … Read more

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MLK Day 2021- Actions to Choose Hope Over Cynicism

Jan 14, 2021

The constant churn of disconcerting news can leave one disheartened. As we watched the images of violence at our capital unfold across screens over the past week, it is easy to feel we have lost control or are falling out of step with the goal to transform our communities towards greater kindness, generosity and rightful … Read more

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picture of sentinel article

Adopt a Family 2020- A Huge Success!

Dec 18, 2020

We are closing out our week with immense gratitude. As of today all gifts have been delivered to our partnering agencies for delivery to families, we’ve swept and cleared out the Adopt a Family Warehouse and we are putting the closing touches on this program for another year. Thanks to the outpouring of generosity unmatched … Read more

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