Join our life-saving mission as a volunteer. We integrate volunteers into every aspect of our work. With almost as many volunteers as we have staff, we rely on volunteers to achieve our mission to empower youth to reach their highest potential.

San Diego Youth Services strives to involve the San Diego Community in our services and mission. We believe our community members such as students, new graduates, professionals, retired folks, parents, clinical interns, and others, all have unique skills and abilities that will provide invaluable resources and support for the youth in our programs.

Our goal is to provide our volunteers with valuable experience and relevant training through our strength-centered placements. The community’s participation benefits and is greatly valued by SDYS and our service partners.

How to Become a Volunteer

Volunteer Services

Application Process

The process of becoming a volunteer starts with our volunteer application. Our volunteer coordinators will then reach out to you with information about an upcoming volunteer orientation. 

After orientation, we'll connect you with a program to find a placement you’re comfortable with and that fits with your availability and the program’s needs. After finding a good fit, volunteers are asked to complete clearances before beginning their volunteer service.


Attending Orientation

Attending our volunteer orientation is mandatory for all incoming volunteers and provides interested volunteers with information about our organization, programs, philosophy and skills such as trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, abuse reporting and confidentiality.

Orientations are about an hour in duration and virtual meetings can be arranged according to the availability of our volunteer coordinators.

Group of people at a presentation

Required Clearances

Clearances include a background check (regular or CCL), drug screening, Tuberculosis screening, reference checks, other forms and driving clearances, if required by program of interest. Clearances are paid up front by volunteers and are eligible for reimbursement following service completion. We require that volunteers commit to a six-month service.

One-time volunteers are not required to complete clearances.

Thank you for your interest in serving San Diego's youth!

We are currently accepting new volunteers. If interested, please complete our volunteer application and our team will be in touch.

Youth Emergency Shelter
Location: Balboa Park Area (confidential location)

Position Title: Residential Milieu Volunteer
Hours/Schedule: Flexible Monday-Sunday (4-6 hr shifts. Prefer 200 hours or 6-month commitment.
Description of Duties: General milieu support to include tasks of, but not limited to: supervision of youth, support youth with minor projects like cleaning/organizing space, support Residential Counselors with tasks, and possible administrative tasks.

Our Safe Place
Location:  2220 Broadway San Diego, CA 92102

Position Title: Transportation Support (1-3 positions available)
Hours/Schedule: Flexible Monday-Friday with preference for Fridays either 3:30-4:30 p.m. (pick up from home to DIC services) or 7-8 p.m. (drop off from DIC back home). Monday-Thursday can be a shift from 3:30-8 p.m. or the above pick up/drop off times.
Description of duties: Pick up and drop off youth to and from SDYS drop-in center; assist as needed in the Drop in Center space with youth supervision. Assist with organizing the space and update resources as needed. Volunteers must be intentional allies of, or within the LGBTQ+ community.

Adoption Support Services
Location: Via Zoom or SP location (address can vary)
Position Title: Youth Mentor/Tutor (3 positions available)
Hours/Schedule: Must meet with SP at least once a week for an hour. Day/time to be determined by the SP and mentor/tutor.
Description of Duties: Mentor/Tutors provide youth with some of the support and encouragement that they need to work towards developing a positive sense of self and making good choices in life. Most of the youth we work with have special needs and can benefit from academic assistance. Youth range in ages are from 5-18 and many are adopted from the foster care system. Most of these youth thrive with the friendly and patient support of a consistent mentor/tutor. Our one-on-one mentor/tutor program is a great way to give back to the community by helping youth reach their highest potential.

Location: Multiple Locations (Point Loma, Spring Valley, South Bay, and Escondido)
Position Title:
Movie Night Volunteer (multiple positions available)
Hours/Schedule: 3 hours/month: Point Loma – first Friday of each month from 6-9 p.m., Spring Valley- second Friday of each month from 6-9 p.m., South Bay third Friday of each month from 6-8 p.m., Escondido- fourth Friday of each month from 6-9 p.m.
Description of Duties: Movie Night volunteers support this fun social enrichment opportunity for youth who have been adopted and their siblings. We have kids ranging from preschool to teens and facilitate pizza dinner, outside play time, games, crafts, snack time, and movie time. This is a very fun opportunity where you will get to make connections with kids, use your playful energy and creativity, and enjoy a fun kids movie each month.

Location: College Heights Youth Center (92115)

Position Title: General Program Volunteer (2 positions available)
Hours/Schedule: Flexible Monday-Friday 9:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Description of Duties: Cleaning and organization of SFS/STARS/CRT office suites, unboxing and organizing orders, furniture building, other center and administrative support.

Community Assessment Team (CAT)
Location: 3845 Spring Drive Spring Valley, CA 91977

Position Title: Volunteer Receptionist (multiple positions available)
Hours/Schedule: Flexible shifts Monday – Thursday (after school hours preferred- 3-5:30 p.m., regular schedule preferred)
Description of Duties: Support with greeting and directing those who enter the office, providing administrative support (taking calls, organizing and decorating center), assisting with program needs.

Position Title: Tutoring (Elementary & Middle School Subjects- multiple positions available)
Hours/Schedule:  Mondays 4-5 p.m. (Elementary School subjects/activities, Wednesdays 4-5 p.m. (Middle School subjects/activities)
Description of Duties: Providing youth with tutoring support (homework, other studies, projects and activities).

Fiscal Department
Location: Point Loma (92110)

Position Title: Fiscal Volunteer
Hours/Schedule: Flexible 2-3 hours/1-2 times a week; Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
Description of Duties: Join the admin staff by performing administrative duties such as filing, data entry, and scanning to help our fiscal department keep up to date with necessary files. Perfect for a retiree or recent college grad looking to boost their resume!

Interested in volunteering your time and skills but can only do so from time to time?

Are you an instructor, stylist, painter, photographer or have other skills that you would like to offer in helping our youth? Do you have a group of friends interested in assembling furniture or painting one of our centers?

We may have the perfect opportunity for you!

Group Volunteer Application

Volunteer with SDYS

Interested in making a real change in the lives of San Diego's homeless, runaway and other at-risk youth? We may have the perfect opportunity for you!