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Community Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteers are vital to the success of our community. Listed below are opportunities that are available at organizations in San Carlos followed by organizations in San Mateo County. There are opportunities available for individuals, groups, and students. 

The City of San Carlos provides this list to help community members find organizations seeking volunteers, but is not associated with nor responsible for the volunteer opportunities.

If you would like to update your organization's opportunity description, or if you would like to have your organization added to this list, please contact Brian Cary at


Organizations in San Carlos  

 Organization opportunity description  How to get involved 
Healthy Cities Tutoring Community volunteers are paired with K-8 students in all San Carlos public schools who are struggling to succeed in school. Volunteers provide one-on-one tutoring and mentoring to improve academic performance, engagement in learning, and self-esteem. Scheduling is flexible and tutors volunteer one hour per week, helping students with reading, math, homework, organization, and study skills. For more information and to access an online or mail-in volunteer application, visit the Healthy Cities Volunteer Page. For questions, contact (650) 508-7327 or
Museum of San Carlos History Those who live or work in San Carlos can become "San Carlos Villagers" who volunteer as docents for the museum. There is a $15 fee to become a docent or $20 to be an associate member who does not docent. To become a San Carlos Villager, visit the museum and fill out an application or access a mail-in application at the Museum’s San Carlos Villager page.
Peninsula Television Volunteers and interns can help with various projects, including sales, video production, event volunteering, post production, and office work. Those interested are welcome to volunteer once or for a full semester (school credit available). Visit Peninsula Television’s volunteer site for more information about volunteering and instructions on how to get involved. Contact or call (650) 637-1936 for more information.
San Carlos Elms San Carlos Elms seeks volunteers to work in the Memory Care Program, where they help residents and staff with activities, such as games, arts & crafts, reading,  and puzzles. Volunteers who play music, dance, or bring in animals with up to date shots are welcome. Volunteers work up to 4 hours per day sometime between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., and no more than 16 hours per week.  For more information, potential volunteers should reach out to Kathleen Sullivan at
San Carlos Hometown Days San Carlos Hometown Days is kicking off! San Carlos Hometown Days is a non-profit organization that hosts an annual volunteer-run community celebration. If you would like more information about dates and volunteering, visit the San Carlos Hometown Days website.
To volunteer to help at San Carlos Hometown Days, please email Adrienne Werner at . 
San Carlos Library

The library offers various types of volunteer role opportunities:

  • The "Collections Champion" volunteers support library staff in organizing and maintaining book collections.
  • Volunteers for the "English as a Second Language Conversation Club" facilitate discussion in a program where English and Second Language learners gather to practice spoken English.
  • "Checkmate" volunteers teach first grade children to play chess.
  • "Children’s Program Assistants" support children’s programs by prepping and supporting story time, crafts, STEM activities, and arts, support.
To apply to volunteer, go to the San Mateo County Libraries volunteer page, click on the San Carlos branch link, and click on the volunteer application under the “I would like to volunteer” heading. This page also provides information about opportunities that are currently open.
San Carlos Lions Club The San Carlos Lions Club seeks volunteers to help with service projects, such as work with Blue Star moms, Caring Cupboard, and eyeglasses collections. The Lions also welcome new members interested in ongoing service to the community. For more information about these opportunities and how to get involved, visit the San Carlos Lions Club website
San Carlos Together

Volunteers support San Carlos Together’s focus on community-building activities under the banner "Enhancing the City of Good Living Initiative." They work on projects including:

  • Maintaining the hanging baskets on Laurel Street.
  • Organizing the annual city wide garage sale.
  • Providing or raising funds for San Carlos Day of Service, Week of the Family, and 4-H to purchase emergency supplies for disaster relief.
For more information and to get involved, visit the San Carlos Together website or contact
The Family Tree Volunteers help with the operation of the Family Tree thrift store on Laurel Street. The store sells new and next to new merchandise and is supported by community donations. The Family Tree is an auxiliary to Peninsula Family Service, which is where 100% of its profits go. Potential volunteers have two training shifts, including one 3-hour morning shift and one 3-hour afternoon shift which are completed on days convenient to the trainee. Volunteers are asked to work two 3-hour shifts per month. To get involved, contact the Family Tree at (650) 339-2401, or Trudy Somrak at (650) 740-5704 or
The City of San Carlos  The City of San Carlos offers a range of opportunities with City departments, programs, events, and boards and commissions. For more information, visit the City Volunteer Opportunities Page. To get involved, fill out the City Volunteer Application.


Organizations in San Mateo County

Organization  Opportunity description  how to get involved

BUILD is a high school entrepreneurship program for students attending high school in Redwood City, Woodside, East Palo Alto, and in many underserved communities across the country. BUILD provides training and curriculum to volunteers who become mentors, who work 1-2 hours per week for the length of the academic year to teach small groups of young entrepreneurs skills and business fundamentals.

For more information, visit the BUILD volunteer webpage, and apply to become a mentor.
CALL Primrose CALL Primrose is a drop in food pantry that provides free, healthy groceries to low income people. They seek volunteers to work front desk shifts and to serve as pantry helpers who prepare grocery bags, store produce, and stock shelves.

For more information, visit the CALL Primrose volunteer website and email to get involved.

Center for Independence of Individuals with Disabilities (CID)

CID is seeking a volunteer receptionist who will screen calls, conduct intake, greet visitors, provide agency information, monitor the reception area, and perform other clerical functions. Volunteers work on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a few hours or the entire duration between 9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.

For more information or to get involved, contact the Office Mangaer at
CuriOdyssey CuriOdyssey is a science and wildlife center that offers opportunities to volunteer as wildlife interpretive guides, summer camp volunteers, conservation project volunteers, and Wildlife Department assistants. Visit the CuriOdyssey Volunteer website for more information about opportunities, commitment, and training, and to access the volunteer application.
Elder Wisdom Circle The Elder Wisdom Circle virtually connects Elders to young readers to provide advice seekers with personalized and free advice. Adults who are 60 or older can volunteer to offer guidance to young people.

For more information, visit the Elder Wisdom Circle website. Potential volunteers must complete an application and screening process, and can get started on the Offer Advice webpage.

Friends for Youth Volunteers mentors spend 2-3 hours per week over the course of one year doing fun activities with underserved youth in their communities in San Mateo County and northern Santa Clara County. To get involved, register and attend an information session. Contact Danny Almanza at with any questions.
Home & Hope Home & Hope seeks volunteers to help support programs that provide shelter and meals to homeless families. It is also looking for volunteers for seasonal projects and fundraisers. For more information about the opportunities and for instructions to get involved, visit the Home & Hope volunteer page.
HIP Housing  HIP Housing seeks volunteers to support the Home Sharing Program. HIP Housing's Home Sharing Program helps to match people who have a residence to share in San Mateo County with people seeking housing. Volunteers serve as Home Sharing Program Assistants and as Outreach Ambassadors. To get involved and obtain training, contact Laura Fanucchi, Associate Director at (650) 348-6660 x 303 or via email at
Life Moves

Life Moves offers a range of volunteer opportunities:

  • Provide Thanksgiving or Holiday dinner baskets.
  • Help with holiday parties and meals.
  • Serve meals at the Maple Street Single Adult Shelter in Redwood City and First Step for Families Shelter in San Mateo.
  • Cook and serve breakfast at the Opportunity Services Center in Palo Alto.
  • Work in groups on gardening projects, corporate engagement, in-kind donation drives and more.

Life Moves also offers a summer internship program for college students and camp counselor opportunities for high school students.

To find out more about holiday volunteer opportunities, visit the Life Moves Holiday Giving page. For more information and to sign-up for the serving opportunities, visit the LifeMoves Meal Program website. For more information and to get involved in the cooking and serving opportunity at the Opportunity Services Center, contact Lynnelle Bilsey at lbilsey@lifemoves. To apply or learn more about the internship program, visit LifeMoves internship information page. For summer camp counselor applications and information, visit LifeMoves Summer Adventure Camp website. For general volunteer information and questions, visit the LifeMoves volunteer website or send an email to
Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District  Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District offers roles as Trail Patrol and Preserve Partner/Outdoor Service Projects in its volunteerism in stewardship program, and roles as Nature Center Hosts, Outdoor Education Leaders, and Outdoor Activity Docents in its docent program. For more details about the opportunities and information about how to get involved, visit the Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District website. All programs require advanced training except for the Outdoor Service Projects, which allow for episodic involvement; find out more at the Outdoor Service Projects webpage.
Ombudsman Services of San Mateo County, Inc. (OSSMC)

OSSMC is seeking passionate and committed volunteers who want to make a big difference in the lives of seniors and adults living in long term care. Volunteers are trained as CA certified Field Ombudsen who support, protect, and advocate for all residents living in licensed long term care facilities. Those looking for shorter term commitments can volunteer and participate in party planning, tabling, marketing, and music and memory activities.

For more information and instructions for getting involved, visit the OSSMC volunteer website or contact Volunteer Coordinator Twila Dependahl at (650) 780-5705 or
One Step Beyond One Step Beyond provides services to people who have intellectual disabilities and are seeking volunteers for various programs and events. Volunteers can assist with the day programs (9-3 p.m.) and work with adults on activities such as art, cooking, and music classes. Volunteers also support fundraising events such as the tennis tournament in March, and quarterly “Clean Out” events where volunteers help with a deep clean of the program location in San Mateo. To learn more about the opportunities and to apply to volunteer, visit the One Step Beyond Inc. Volunteer page.
Packard Children’s Hospital Packard Children’s Hospital has five main areas of volunteer opportunities: mother and baby care; play and recreation; support services; education; and community work. Volunteers work with the hospital for at least six months, with one 2-3 hour shift per week. The volunteer website provides information about how to get involved and register for volunteer orientation, as well as more detail about the volunteer opportunities available. Contact Maureen Roskoph with any questions at or (650) 327-2080.
Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA

Volunteer opportunities are available for adults and youth ages 13-17. There are many volunteer opportunities available, including in:

  • Animal behavior and training.
  • Retail services.
  • Administration.
  • Adoption and animal care.
  • Veterinary services.
  • Community relations.
  • Remote opportunities.
  • Wildlife.

Adult volunteers commit two hours per week for one year and junior volunteers commit two hours per week for six months.

For more information, visit the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA volunteer website. To volunteer, fill out the volunteer application on the website and sign up for New Volunteer Orientation.

Peninsula Volunteers

Peninsula Volunteers seeks volunteers to help with programs that provide services and housing to support aging adults. At Little House, volunteers teach classes, provide administrative support, and coordinate transportation. At the Rosener House Adult Day Center for those with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, volunteers provide companionship and assist in leading classes and activities. Volunteers can also help with packing and delivering hot meals for Meals on Wheels for San Mateo County. Interested potential volunteers can visit the Peninsula Volunteers website or contact Ann Eisenberg, Community Volunteer Coordinator at (650) 272-5180 or
Rape Trauma Services  RTS supports and serves children and adults who have been directly or indirectly harmed by the trauma of sexual abuse/assault/harassment. Volunteers are needed to work in community outreach and fundraising . RTS provides training and opportunities for volunteer sexual assault counselors. Volunteer applicants must complete a screening interview, training, and an evaluation. Trainings are held every Spring, Summer, and Fall. For more information and to apply, visit the Rape Trauma Services website, or call Mary at (650) 692-7273 .
Redwood Symphony Orchestra  The Redwood Symphony Orchestra seeks Lobby Volunteers to help with ushering, will call tables, and ticket or snack sales. Concerts are roughly every other month and volunteers get free entry. There are longer-term opportunities, including website development, grant writing, and fundraising, and leadership hour opportunities for High School students. To get involved, check the dates of the concerts on the Redwood Symphony Orchestra website and contact Lobby Manager Lisa Pokorny at in advance to volunteer regularly or on any particular date.
Relay for Life 

Relay for Life has several one-time and short-term volunteer opportunities, including:

  • Accounting.
  • Activities and entertainment.
  • Fundraising.
  • Logistics.
  • Marketing.
  • Online and social communication.
  • Sponsorship.
  • Survivor and caregiver responsibilities.
For more information about these opportunities, contact Jennifer Highland at or at (408) 688-0129.

Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) of San Mateo & Northern Santa Clara Counties

RSVP seeks adults 55 or older to join its nationwide network that links the resources of older adult volunteers to the needs of the community. RSVP members serve at more than 50 local agencies, both public and not-for-profit, and provide essential human services that improve communities and lives. Scheduling is flexible and volunteers have control over how and where they serve. To find out more, visit the RSVP Mills-Peninsula website. To apply, fill out the contact information form from the Apply to be a Volunteer link and RSVP will send you information and an application in the mail. For questions, call (650) 969-7660.
San Mateo County Stormwater Pollution Prevention Program The County’s Stormwater Pollution Prevention program seeks volunteers to help clean up litter for Coastal Cleanup Day on the third Saturday of September. For more information and to sign up, visit the County’s Coastal Cleanup Day website.

San Mateo County

Office of Sustainability 

The San Mateo County of Sustainability has ongoing opportunities for volunteers to do monthly neighborhood cleanups and participate in the Sustainability Academy, which provides classes, workshops and socials for volunteers.

For more information, visit the volunteer page for the Office of Sustainability, and the Sustainability Academy webpage.

Second Harvest

Second Harvest has volunteer opportunities for both individuals and groups at its three facilities, and at some of its distribution sites. Volunteer activities include:

  • Sorting and boxing fresh produce.
  • Distributing food to communities.
  • Hosting food drives.
  • Helping out in the office.
  • Supporting the Turkey Trot event.
  • Serving as a nutrition educators or Health Ambassadors.
For more information, and to sign up to volunteer, visit Second Harvest’s volunteer website.