Blog

The Holiday Volunteer Guide is Here!

Nov 2, 2022

Sponsored by Santa Cruz County Bank, the 2022 Holiday Volunteer Guide offers a way for everyone to get involved with the causes they care about the most. What is the best thing about Santa Cruz County? At the Volunteer Center, we all certainly agree – it’s the people! That’s because the Santa Cruz Community never … Read more

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Wellness Connect Fills a Gap: Stability and Security for Young Adults

Oct 5, 2022

Access to mental health services is a core underlying issue for many people experiencing homelessness. The Volunteer Center offers several programs to help alleviate this issue, the most recent of which is Wellness Connect. Funded by Santa Cruz County Behavioral Health, Wellness Connect provides prevention, early intervention, treatment, and recovery services for anyone over 18 … Read more

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We Need You: Volunteer to Change Lives as a Literacy Program Tutor!

Sep 21, 2022

What if I told you that, by volunteering about three hours a week, you can completely transform a family’s future?  With just three hours a week, you can help a family increase their earnings, help their children do better in school, and change lives for this generation and those to come.   Volunteer Tutors with the … Read more

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Overcoming Mental Health Stigma & Celebrating Potential

Jul 1, 2022

By Kelsey Turnbull-Pedrazzini, Community Connection Program Coordinator When asking one of our participants about the challenges they face with a mental health diagnosis, stigma is often one of the first answers. Stigma is the negative or discriminatory ideas others have about someone with a mental health diagnosis. Self-stigma is the negative feelings or shame an … Read more

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Summertime Outside Volunteering – Two VC Staff Pick Highlights

Jun 6, 2022

Highlighting the Homeless Garden Project: Where Everyone is Included — Written by Jeanée Ryan, Monterey Bay RSVP Program Specialist at the Volunteer Center It wasn’t a chilly Thursday morning, but the falling fog was consistent out on the farm and I felt relaxed and calm. I was happy to be outdoors. Volunteers, interns, and trainees … Read more

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Connect to Action Resources on Gun Violence

May 25, 2022

JOIN US IN OUR 14 DAY CHALLENGE TO HELP END GUN VIOLENCE! At the Volunteer Center, we believe the world changes for good when people come together and use data, resources and tools to take informed actions that solve problems.  We believe that it is time we all join together across every cause to solve … Read more

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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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