In Person Volunteer Opportunities


Since 2003 we have been providing our Learn to Surf Therapy Clinics to serve those who need us. We have served thousands of Disabled Veterans, First Responders, disabled adults and children who probably never would have had this experience if it hadn’t been for our program. We have also support those we serve who strive to and become competitive Para Surfers. We do this through our Para Surf League program by doing, athlete sponsorships, event sponsorships and partnering with other organizations to hold Para Surf contests around the world.

Big Brothers Big Sister

Our mission is to create and support one-to-one mentoring relationships that ignite the power and promise of youth. We partner with parents/guardians, volunteers and others in the community and hold ourselves accountable for each child in our program achieving higher aspirations, greater confidence and better relationships, avoidance of risky behaviors, and educational success. We recognize, affirm, and celebrate the diverse backgrounds, lives, and experiences of all of our stakeholders, including youth, families, donors, volunteers, and staff. We foster an environment where all people can be their best selves, affirm that every person has the opportunity to reach their full potential, and strive to realize the full potential that is within all of us by ensuring that all voices and perspectives are heard and honored. 

Boys and Girls Club of SLO County

The Boys & Girls Clubs of South San Luis Obispo County provides young people with a safe place to go before and after school.  We seek to ensure that all kids, especially those who need us most, have a positive and enriching experience, putting them on the path to success. We serve youth ages 5 to 18 in community schools and at our Oceano Boys & Girls Club Teen Center. Our priority is to provide a safe place to learn and grow. With life-enhancing programs in five key areas: character and leadership development, health and life skills, education and opportunity, the arts, and sports, fitness and recreation, we inspire children to live up to their potential. 

Camp Natoma

Camp Natoma is a summer tradition for many generations of families. Since 1941, campers have spent a summer week sleeping under the stars, rock-hopping through Franklin creek, and singing silly camp songs. Traditional Camp Natoma sessions welcome youth in grades 1 through 11 to a 6 night program. Delicious, nutritious, meals are made on-site from local produce. Campers explore and grow as they share laughter with new friends, swim, hike, and sing in the protected 360-acre oak woodland. 

CAPSLO (Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo)

Community Action changes people’s lives, embodies the spirit of hope, improves communities, and makes America a better place to live. We care about the entire community, and we are dedicated to helping people help themselves and each other. The values of communication, honesty, integrity, respect, fairness, teamwork, collaboration, positivity, and professionalism guide our decisions and behaviors, and more clearly define how we interact with one another, our partners, and those we serve. The process of choosing these core values was employee-driven and input came from multiple sessions where employees engaged in lengthy discussions and exercises to suggest what should be the core values for CAPSLO.  

ECHO (El Camino Homeless Organization)

ECHO’s mission since 2001 is to empower people in SLO County to make positive change by providing food, shelter, and supportive services.  ECHO operates two facilities in North County that each provide meals and a safe and secure overnight shelter to meet the immediate needs of families and individuals in our community who are facing hunger and homelessness.  Residents are provided individual case management services to assist them in securing a job and finding permanent and sustainable housing.  While staying at ECHO, residents are taught life skills for employment, financial literacy, health care management and parenting.

ECOSLO (Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo)

Over 50 years ago four separate pollution events occurred in San Luis Obispo Creek in downtown SLO. Cal Poly biologists and students investigated, discovering thousands of dead fish and a severely damaged ecosystem. Their efforts to protect this local creek led to the creation of the Environmental Center of San Luis Obispo - ECOSLO! In November 1971 we opened the first recycling center in SLO County.  In February 1972 ECOSLO officially became recognized as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, dedicated to protecting and preserving SLO County's natural resources.

Firstfruits Farms

Farming is a direct connection to our community and the precious Earth. Firstfruits Farm SLO is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization serving San Luis Obispo County. We embrace eco-friendly practices to grow a wide variety of nutritious crops on our 1 acre field and 1/2 acre orchard. Rooted in love for our neighbors, we partner with local organizations to donate 100% of our first-choice harvest to local community members without prejudice or condition.

GALA Pride and Diversity Center

In working with and for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, non-binary, queer, Indigenous identities, and similarly identified (LGBTQ+) communities in San Luis Obispo County, The Gala Pride and Diversity Center acknowledges that white supremacy and settler-colonialism are enduring systems of hierarchy, division, and exploitation. These systems create significant inequities in our communities, but they do not operate in isolation. Oppression is mutually constructed based on categories including sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, race, ethnicity, Indigeneity, social class, disability, religion, and immigration status. Just as all forms of inequality are interconnected, so are all forms of justice. Working for racial justice, Indigenous sovereignty, economic justice, and all forms of social justice are part of the core mission of the Gala Pride and Diversity Center. 

Hospice of SLO

Hospice SLO County is a non-medical volunteer service organization and community grief center. We support San Luis Obispo County residents who are grieving a death or coping with a life-limiting illness or facing end of life. We recognize death as a natural and personal event. In this spirit, we support the community in working with those near the end of life and the people who love them by providing in-home support, caregiver respite, grief counseling, support groups, community response and education. We envision a community that recognizes death as a part of life; where dying and grieving are embraced as natural; where all have access to support services without charge; where no one dies or is left to grieve without comfort.  

Lumina Alliance

We believe everyone has a basic human right to live free of sexual and intimate partner violence. We seek to empower those impacted by sexual and intimate partner violence through innovative advocacy, healing, and prevention programs. All forms of violence are connected and sexual and intimate partner violence occur within the larger context of societal inequities. The sexism, homophobia, and transphobia that fuel power-based violence are interwoven with racism, xenophobia, ableism, and other types of oppression that devalue the lives of entire groups of people. When we fail to recognize each other’s full humanity – whether individually or by painting whole groups as “other” – we contribute to dehumanization and pave the way for violence. When we seek to understand those who are different from us, we create a world where violence is neither celebrated nor tolerated. 

Meals that Connect

Meals that Connect is the Senior Nutrition Program of San Luis Obispo County. Every weekday, Meals That Connect provides free, healthy, noontime meals to over 1,000 seniors 60+ throughout San Luis Obispo County. There is a pressing need among many of our county's seniors for our program. The Senior Nutrition Program addresses two critical health impact areas: food access and healthy aging. Our meals not only address food access but also provide nutritious meals to seniors, helping them maintain their health from the comfort of their own homes. The daily visits from our volunteers provide social contact and a safety check. The return to congregate dining gives seniors a chance to build friendships. 

Operation Surf

Our mission is to channel the healing powers of the ocean to restore hope, renew purpose, and revitalize community. Operation Surf’s curriculum-based programs aim to inspire injured military and veterans to seek wellness in all aspects of their lives while providing the necessary resources, tools, and peer-to-peer support to continue this mindset indefinitely. By staying true to our core values of care, inclusion, commitment, integrity, and communication; we change participants’ lives – one wave at a time. 

Restorative Partners

Restorative Partners provides services and programs for those in-custody and for those released from the San Luis County Juvenile Hall, Jail, Honor Farm and State Prisons. Our restorative justice approach focuses on mind, body and spiritual transformation, incorporates trauma informed care, addresses responsibility and accountability, and offers accompaniment through reentry mentorship. We also provide clean and sober living homes for men and for women as well as own and operate a home for women who are ready to reunite with their children and move forward with their lives. The goal in all of our transformative work is to reduce violence and lower recidivism by providing a continuum of care from incarceration through reincorporation to our community. 

SLO Botanical Garden

We strive to be a treasured local, national, and international resource; to delight, educate and inspire people to embrace nature, outdoor recreation, community interaction, celebration of the arts, creative endeavors, and health and wellness; to showcase and support world-class botanical collections, horticultural research, plant propagation, local history, indigenous culture, and universal access to the outdoors. The San Luis Obispo Botanical Garden is located near the Pacific Ocean on the Central Coast of California. Our goal is to have a 150 acre garden exclusively devoted to the ecosystems and plants of the five Mediterranean climate regions of the world. 

SLO Food Bank

The SLO Food Bank states within its values statement that “every human being has the right to nutritious food.” Individuals living in food insecure households face many barriers that prevent them from consuming a healthy diet, which makes them more susceptible to diet-related chronic diseases, including – obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Individuals, including children, living in food insecure households are also more likely to experience difficulties at work and in school and deal with greater levels of stress and other mental health complications.  

SLO NOOR Foundation

We are a volunteer-based, community supported organization committed to advancing diversity and inclusion by helping ensure that all people across our communities feel valued and have equal access to resources, services, and opportunities provided by SLO Noor Foundation. We provide free medical, dental and vision care to uninsured adults in San Luis Obispo County and northern Santa Barbara County, regardless of race, ethnicity, immigration status, religion, sexual orientation, or gender. 

St. Stephen’s

We strive to recognize and nurture the Christ in ourselves and each person that we encounter along the way. Join us for service on Sunday to experience for yourself the fellowship of Christ.  Our mission as a parish is to open our hearts to God and to share Christ’s unconditional love with the world. We do this by Welcoming, Worshiping, and Working with and within the community of San Luis Obispo. 

The City of SLO

The City of San Luis Obispo is a dynamic community embracing its future while respecting its past with core values of civility, sustainability, diversity, inclusivity, regionalism, partnership, and resiliency. The City of SLO oversees and includes many parts of SLO, including lving, neighborhoods, parks and recreation, tourism, transportation, untilities, government, advisory bodies, city council, businesses, permits and licenses, volunteer and community, and more. 

TMHA (Transitions-Mental Health Association)

A non-profit organization serving San Luis Obispo and North Santa Barbara Counties, Transitions-Mental Health Association is dedicated to eliminating stigma and promoting recovery and wellness for people with mental illness through work, housing, community, and family support services. TMHA operates over 40 programs on the Central Coast, a wide variety of services that assist individuals and family members taking the recovery journey. 

United Way

United Way of San Luis Obispo County strives to foster structural change by addressing root causes in order to safeguard the future of our community. Our focus is on education, financial literacy and community strengthening – the building blocks for a good quality of life. United Way recruits people and organizations who bring the passion, expertise and resources needed to get things done. We invite you to be a part of the change. You can give, you can advocate and you can volunteer. That’s what it means to LIVE UNITED! 


As one of the nation’s largest nonprofit blood and biotherapies healthcare organizations, providing hospitals and patients across the U.S. a safe blood supply, Vitalant is uniquely positioned to become the nation’s most innovative and inclusive blood and biotherapies partner. We also provide specialized laboratory services, transfusion medicine expertise and cutting-edge research. Vitalant Research Institute is world-renowned for scientific studies ranging from blood donor epidemiology to cellular therapy and virus discovery. Vitalant is an internationally known and respected leader that continues to push the boundaries to advance the experience, practice and application of transfusion medicine.


Wilshire Health and Community Services is a mission-driven organization with deep roots and a big heart in San Luis Obispo. Our heart is evident in the way we serve: with compassion, kindness and integrity. Our roots are in our staff: the people you call your neighbors and friends. Our work is defined by our passionate mission of helping people live a better life. Whether you need hospice, home health, counseling, mediation, transportation or a friendly visit, the Wilshire team is here to meet your needs with experience and care.

Related Content


Cal Poly students under green umbrella serving food

More on Spotlight


Go to the Admissions website

Link to the Admissions Website for information on selection criteria, application deadlines, creating your VIP page and more!