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Sunday, July 19, 2009

How to Relax in Busy Goleta

Try Volunteering at One of These Places

By Silvia Uribe

For some, summer means leaving town for near or faraway lands. For many others, it means great fun for the first week, relaxation for the week after that, and from then on, long and endless days without much to do or anywhere to go. If that's your situation, be bored no more. Turn off the TV, get into your most comfortable clothes, and dedicate a few hours of your week to doing something different, something new, and most importantly, something that others will consider of incredible valuable to them.

When I decided to write about what our great city offers in the way of volunteer opportunities, I wasn't expecting such a variety. These services benefit numerous members of our community, and also communities around the world. Like laborious bees working in their hive, many non-for-profit organizations and their volunteers work day in and day out to help their neighbors.

Goleta is such a busy town! Without much effort, I was able to identify 13 different categories of services here, and some of the organizations that provide them. I'm sure that one of them will pique your interest enough to make you commit a few hours a week to helping others. I have always worked or volunteered for nonprofits, and I know that it only takes one person to ask others to volunteer, and many will gladly do it. Do you know why? Because it gives us a warm feeling in our heart to know that we're able to make an immediate difference in someone's life.

Take this opportunity to entertain yourself and do something meaningful without too much effort. If you're a student and need volunteer hours, this is a perfect time to get them. Choose the category that best suits your interests. I organized them alphabetically. Just pick up the phone, make an appointment, and spend the rest of your summer giving a little of your time and effort to make a difference. If you are interested in a particular organization that's not listed here, please contact the Non-Profit Support Center, at (805) 681-1040, and ask them.


Santa Barbara Humane Society, 964-4777.

Developmental Disabilities

Jessie Hopkins Hinchee Foundation, 967-7777.

Emergency Relief

Direct Relief International, 681-4838.


Gaviota Coast Conservancy

Goleta Beautiful (parks/open space beautification), 685-7910.


Opportunity International (micro-loans), 967-4422.


Foodbank (non-perishable food), 967-5741.

Meals on Wheels (prepared meals), 683-1565.

Homeless Services

Homeless Resource Center, 692-4999 or 968-7006.


Habitat for Humanity, 692-2226.

Low Income

Community Kitchen (meals for low income/youth), 681-1260.


See International (vision care), 963-3303.

Goleta HIV Testing, 633-7006.

Special Needs

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic, 687-6393.

Senior Services

Friendship Manor (senior living), 968-0771.

Alpha Resource Senior Center (activities), 964-3800.

Youth Activities

YMCA - I.V. Teen Center, 569-1103 x32.

I.V. Youth Project, 968-2611.

Silvia Uribe is a freelance writer with a Latina perspective.

Cross-posted at the

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