In neighborhoods across the US, a need for community involvement is cropping up from all generations, but it differs according to generation.
While the older generations are feeling a keen sense of loss of community of their cities, the younger are feeling a driving need to become more invested in both involvement and community service.
But where do we get started?
Within our own neighborhoods in Long Beach, there’s many opportunities to be a part of the local fabric.
Long Beach has a great sense of its identity from area to area, and an immense interest in its continual improvement. For those wanting to be a part of its community, here’s a small sampling of some local groups that would benefit from volunteers and attention from the city’s inhabitants.
Operation Jump Start
Operation Jump Start is an educational community program in Long Beach that helps low-income students with bright
minds get into college and stay in school for the duration of their degree. Beginning in 8th grade, OJS students receive guidance from a team of mentors, tutors, and counselors to provide them with the resources they need to graduate from high school, get into and graduate from a four-year college, and get a ‘jumpstart’ on a productive life. All of the students come from the Long Beach Unified School District.
Volunteers come in to help in two different ways. As a mentor, volunteers act as a source of support and stability, encouraging students along in the program to reach their potential. Volunteers can also help by tutoring students, and assisting in the OJS office. To get involved, visit the Operation Jump Start page for details and a form to get in contact with their team.
For those with fruit and veggies in their yards that don’t use all of the produce, SoCal Harvest has a rather unique solution. With volunteers that will come and pick the fruit for you, this group will take the excess fruit to Long Beach food banks, ensuring that the food is used by those who truly need it. Their Facebook page also encourages community events that foster a culture of local produce and sharing.
If you have some fruit that you’re not using in your front or back yard, or feel up to a few hours of picking produce as an act of community service, you can contact them at [email protected].
Zoey’s Place Rescue
If you need a little pick-me-up during the week, kittens might fit the bill. Zoey’s Place Rescue is a Long Beach based no-kill shelter for cats. Working with difficult to place cases, this small non-profit diligently connects their furry visitors with families. Zoey’s Place Rescue is run entirely off of donations, so above all else this is where you can be helpful to the organization as a means of community service. The money from donations keeps the kittens and adult cats healthy, and provides Zoey’s Place the funds to connect with people and find homes for the animals. Adoption is their end goal every time, so if it’s in your heart to take a new friend home, you can rest assured the cats from this shelter will benefit from the attention and time.
Friends of Long Beach Animals
For more community service related to furry friends, the group Friends of Long Beach Animals is a 25-year old institution of compassion for animals in Long Beach. Built with the intention to help with spay and neuter programs throughout the city, this group advocates for the humane treatment of animals. Their outreach also includes education classes for school aged children in the Long Beach and Signal Hill areas.
In tandem with the Long Beach Animal Care Services run by the city, FOLBA also aids in the adoption process. By sponsoring opportunities for the animals to be seen elsewhere, pets find loving homes more quickly. Community events like the ever popular Belmont Shore Christmas Parade and the Animal Cruelty Prevention Conference keep them in the public spotlight, but donations and volunteer work are among the best things the community can do to help them fight for animal welfare in Long Beach.
Long Beach Ronald McDonald House
As an act of community service, there can be no better way to volunteer than with families of ailing children at the Long Beach Ronald McDonald House. Already world famous for their charitable work with children’s illness, the Ronald McDonald House charities have a robust program in Long Beach. Acting as support for families dealing with critically ill children, the House serves as a live-in getaway where parents and kids can focus on recovery. Guest rooms, transportation, and staff assistance are available 24 hours a day for families while they convalesce.
Long Beach Ronald McDonald House runs off of donations and volunteers. The program needs people to help them assist the families with wish list items, volunteer time, or cook meals. Multiple fundraisers throughout the year also bring entertaining events to the Long Beach area, providing time to connect with the community as a whole.
We Love Long Beach
This local organization’s vision is to connect neighbors one block at a time by organizing citywide events like breakfasts and ice cream socials that are a catalyst for neighbors to meet and create bonds of trust and care, house by house, block by block. You can find out about upcoming events or donate on the organization’s website, welovelb.org.
Ask A Friend
Long Beach is more than a list of volunteer opportunities on Yelp and Facebook, and every neighbor you have likely knows at least one place that could you your attention and time. If you have something you’re passionate about and enjoy, ask around! The charities and non-profits available to you extend across multiple categories. You may just be one farmer’s market conversation away from finding your new passion for the neighborhood.