An easy way to contribute is to follow local organisations serving homeless kids on social media to find out what the the families they serve need. You'll be surprised at the many skills you can share to help families get back on their feet.
- Read stories? Play? Make art with children?
- Teach cooking classes? Yoga? Coding? Music? Gardening?
- Teach stress reduction techniques or interview skills to parents of homeless children?
- Throw a child's birthday party for the homeless shelter?
- Cut hair?
Ask yourself what you love to do and see how that could be a contribution.
When I worked at a homeless shelter I invited a friend to teach chess to the children living in the shelter. Who would have thought this would be an important skill for a homeless child? The children loved this small group time with a patient, attentive adult and learned not only how to play chess but how to slow down, concentrate, strategise. That one hour per week my friend donated by sharing something he loved to do went such a long way: I saw the children’s nervous systems slowing down as they focused on chess moves - and they were able to call upon this experience of concentration in their bodies when doing their math homework, etc. (Homeless children often have a lot of trauma in their little bodies due to the instability and inconsistencies in their lives.) All that to say, don’t underestimate what you have to offer.
Volunteering an hour a week or even jumping in sporadically can be very meaningful, increase your gratitude, and feed your heart. Volunteering can be a great way to meet new people and make friends (OneBrick can connect you to local volunteer opportunities and invites volunteers to gather after volunteering for a coffee and social time. They also host regular social events to connect volunteers. Bonus! Do something good for your community + meet new peeps!
Bay Area Volunteer opportunities:
Hamilton Families: Reading and homework help, digital learning, gardening with kids.
DrawBridge: Make art with homeless kids to support safe expression of feelings and creativity.
Children of Shelters: Holiday meals, birthday parties, tutoring.
Raphael House Serve a meal. Tutor a child. Make a shelter brighter. Make a holiday special.
Don't forget homeless youth!
Huckleberry Youth: attend fundraising events.
Larkin Street: Social events and volunteer opportunities throughout the year.
At The Crossroads: Prepare bags of food and clothing for homeless youth. Help in the office. Hike for a good cause.
If you work for a large corporation ask your HR department if you can volunteer during work time.
Volunteer organisations that can match your skills with non-profits: