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According to a recent survey conducted by National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), most employers expect college graduates to have experience—but how do you get that experience? Volunteering is a way to obtain valuable working experience, especially early in your college career (freshman and sophomore years), and some programs provide gap year credits. Listed below are some ideas for finding a volunteer opportunity in your local area as well as opportunities nationally and abroad.




  • Boys & Girls Club – work directly with youth as homework helpers, tutors, activities assistants and college preparation support
  • Catholic Charities – various volunteer opportunities
  • Merced County Community Action Agency – opportunities in child care, nutritional support, homeless services, energy-saving programs and advocacy
  • Merced County Food Bank – sort and bag food, provide general cleanup and participate in special projects
  • Merced Great Nonprofits – find possible volunteer opportunities with top nonprofits in the area
  • Merced Volunteer Match – matches inspired people with inspiring causes
  • Ombudsman Volunteers – receive and investigate complaints on behalf of residents, including allegations of abuse and neglect about residents in nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly. Must complete 36 hours of classroom training and 10 hours of field work. Contact: Maria Nava Program Manager/Certified LTC Ombudsman 209-385-7550 Ext. 7468.
  • Salvation Army – volunteer for breakfast service, Saturday evening dinner and monthly food giveaway


  • Boys & Girls Club of the Sequoias – provide valuable mentorship to club members
  • CASA of Tulare County – advocate and speak for the best interests of abused and neglected children or be a non-advocate volunteer (great for communications and marketing majors)
  • Charity Vault – find a variety of volunteer opportunities in Visalia
  • Food Link Tulare County – volunteer to sort and pack food, pick/harvest food; work in the community distribution center; help with communications, events and outreach; work in the garden; provide nutritional education; or volunteer as a food runner
  • Kaweah Delta Hospice – become a respite/companionship volunteer or other helper
  • Sequoia Riverlands Trust
  • Tulare County Family Services – train to become a volunteer crisis counselor or pitch in with administrative support, special projects, donation drives, facility maintenance or fundraising events
  • United Way of Tulare County – help provide for the health, education and/or financial stability of community members
  • Visalia Great Nonprofits – find possible volunteer opportunities with top nonprofits in the area
  • Visalia Rescue Mission – opportunities to sort in the warehouse, stock thrift store shelves, provide mentoring, work events, data entry, lead worship and serve in the kitchen
  • Visalia Volunteer Match – matches inspired people with inspiring causes

National Volunteer Opportunities

Volunteer Abroad

  • African Impact – community and conservation volunteer opportunities
  • Connect 123 – matches your interests to a wide variety of volunteer opportunities and countries
  • Cross-cultural Solutions – public health, medical, womens’ empowerment, childcare, community development, teaching and more
  • Fronteering – opportunities to volunteer with wildlife, care for huskies and dog sleds or help save the Amazon Amerindian way of life
  • Frontier – teaching and marine/wildlife conservation
  • Globalteer – opportunities that focus on children and communities living in poverty as well as projects supporting animal welfare and conservation
  • Global Nomadic – environmental, medical, media, human rights, business and teaching abroad opportunities
  • Global Vision International – volunteer abroad on critical community development and environmental conservation projects
  • Global Volunteers – provides a variety of opportunities in various countries
  • Go Eco – contribute to the community, wildlife and environment
  • International Volunteer HQ – the world’s leading volunteer travel organization, providing impactful and affordable volunteer abroad programs
  • Love Volunteers– volunteer and internship opportunities in developing countries around the world
  • Maximo Nivel – feet-on-the-street volunteer opportunities in Costa Rica, Guatemala and Peru
  • Naturally Africa Volunteers – medical services and English teaching opportunities
  • Plan My Gap Year – safe, meaningful, affordable childcare volunteer abroad projects
  • Projects Abroad – offers overseas voluntary work placements including teaching, care, conservation and environment, medicine and healthcare, journalism, law and human rights, international development, business and more
  • Raleigh International – Work on remote community and environmental projects and face adventure and challenges in some of the most incredible areas of the world
  • Reach Out Volunteers – elephant, wildlife, community, orphanage and teaching projects
  • Rustic Pathways – Leader Corps, elephants, Steve Irwin Wildlife Preserve, Golden Lands & World Heritage and Spanish immersion and service program opportunities available
  • Volunteering & Internships Abroad – provides information on volunteer and internships abroad
  • Volunteering Journeys – opportunities in teaching, conservation, social work, medical services and animal care
  • Volunteering Solutions – medical, womens’ empowerment, childcare, language, wildlife and conservation, sports coaching, disabled care, community development and teaching opportunities.