Volunteer Opportunities

Share your time and talents with us as a volunteer. We integrate volunteers into every aspect of the organization. With almost as many volunteers as we have staff, we rely on volunteers to achieve our mission and serve our youth.

San Diego Youth Services is an Equal Opportunity Agency. Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

We serve a community of youth, so we can only accept volunteers 18 years and older. We are not able to provide court-ordered volunteer opportunities. For court-ordered volunteer opportunities, we recommend trying the San Diego Food Bank, San Diego Parks and Recreation and HandsOn San Diego.

Volunteering with SDYS

Long-term Volunteer Opportunities

To ensure stability and consistency in the lives of our youth, we ask our volunteers to make a six-month commitment to volunteering. We also require a background check, TB test and drug test to help ensure the safety of our youth. The cost of these clearances is $78-$150, depending on the program. You will be reimbursed after six months of volunteering.


Provide adopted youth with some of the support and encouragement that they need to work toward 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. Enrollment in the mentoring program is voluntary and the youth range in ages from 6 to 17. Mentor/Tutors meet with their Mentee once a week at the family’s home to provide homework help.

Location: County Wide
When Needed: Flexible 1-2 hours/once a week

HERE Now Classroom Support

Provide classroom support and supervision for HERE Now, which provides services in schools to serve youth through their suicide prevention and early intervention program. Assist the SDYS staff in the facilitation of group discussion questions, and provide any additional support, such as administration or assessments. Some experience with youth preferred, and ability to discuss difficult topics, such as suicide, required.

Location: County Wide
When Needed: Flexible, Tuesdays and Thursdays preferred. Nine Month Commitment Required.


Fiscal Department Volunteer

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!

Location: Point Loma
When Needed: Monday-Friday; Flexible hours and shifts 9am-5pm

Counseling Cove Administrative Assistant

Counseling Cove offers mental health services to homeless teens. Join the SDYS team and support the mission with scanning, filing, data entry, answering phones, sorting donations, and other administrative duties. Perfect for a retiree or recent college grad looking to boost their resume!

Location: Near Balboa Park
When Needed: Monday-Friday; Flexible hours 1-2 times/week 9am-5pm

Transitional Housing Program Movers/Organizers

THP is looking for strong volunteers to help our service partners move into their new home! We are looking for individuals that would be able and willing to move furniture and boxes. Most SP moves are quick since our youth are starting out on their own for the 1st time. Additionally, volunteers are needed to assist our Service Partners organize their apartments (ex: young mothers that accumulate a lot of baby items). Our Service Partners need assistance in setting up a “home environment” instead of just having a place to sleep. Individuals with organizational skills, interior decorating skills/interests, and patience are needed.

Location: County Wide
When Needed: Flexible

Academic Tutor

Provide our foster youth with support and academic assistance through the academic school year. We are looking for volunteers who would like to help our foster youth with academic tutoring with various subjects including but not limited to English, Math, History, and Science.

Location: County Wide
When Needed: Flexible hours 1-2 hours, 1-2 sessions/week

Youth Emergency Shelter Volunteer

Provide general milieu supervision to ensure safety of our youth. Assist with groups, checking chores, helping with homework, and provide extra one-on-one support to youth. Interact with youth as a role model. Assist in socializing the youth and redirecting behavior when appropriate. Assist in facilitating meal times. Answer phones, respond to hotline crisis situations and conduct pre-intake eligibility screenings. Assist in recreational and educational outings and activities. Assist with resource development by greeting potential donors, sorting donations and maintaining a presentable milieu. Maintain a safe, clean, and organized physical plant. Assist staff with ensuring standards of quality for youth services, program philosophy and development. Assist staff and youth with additional responsibilities.

Location: Central San Diego
When Needed: Fridays 5 – 11pm, Saturdays & Sundays 8am – 1pm, 1 – 6pm, or 5 – 11pm

One-time Volunteer Opportunities

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!

One-time Volunteer Event Proposal


Volunteer Application


Contact Nadine Tweedle for more information about volunteering and our volunteer orientation!

(619) 221-8600 x1271


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the process of becoming a volunteer?

The process of becoming a volunteer starts with our volunteer application. After submitting the application, our volunteer coordinators will reach out to you in regards to our upcoming volunteer orientation. Attending our volunteer orientation is mandatory for all incoming volunteers and provides interested volunteers with information about our agency, programs, philosophy and skills such as trauma-informed care, crisis intervention, abuse reporting, and confidentiality. After orientation, our volunteer coordinators will connect you with a program in order for you find a placement you’re comfortable with and that fits with your availability and the programs needs. After finding a good fit, volunteers are asked to complete clearances before beginning their volunteer service.

What if I’m not able to attend a volunteer orientation?

If a prospective volunteer is unable to attend our monthly volunteer orientations, appointments can be arranged according to the availability of our volunteer coordinators. Please note that this option may delay the volunteer process.

What clearances are required?

Clearances include a background check (regular or CCL), drug screening, Tuberculosis screening, reference checks, and driving clearances if required by program of interest. Clearances are to be paid up front by volunteers and volunteers are eligible for reimbursement. San Diego Youth Services also requires that volunteers commit to a 6-month service with us.

When are clearances not required?

One-time volunteers are not required to complete clearances.


Service Learning Project and Internships

Our volunteer opportunities can be tailored to fit specific Service Learning Project and Internships. Contact volunteer@sdyouthservices.org for more information

Clinical Trainees and Interns

Clinical Traineeships and Internships are geared toward individuals who are looking to fulfill practicum or internship hours. Learn more!

AOD Internships

We do not currently offer Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) Certification internships.