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.

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.

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: Flexible hours and shifts; Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

Our Safe Place Group Co-Facilitators

Volunteers will be paired with a staff member to facilitate support and psychoeducation groups to youth and their families. Prior experience facilitating groups preferred. Potential topics: coming out, sexual health, expressive arts, and healthy relationships.

Location: Golden Hill
When Needed: 1-2 hours shifts, Saturday & Sunday between 2-10pm

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

Registered Nurse for Camp Mariposa

Camp Mariposa is a fun multi-day camp providing counseling and emotional support to children and teens facing the difficult challenges associated with an addicted or co-dependent family member. The camp gives children a chance to laugh, play, explore and learn, as well as create friendships with other children who can relate to them and understand what they’re going through. Please help contribute to the success of Camp Mariposa by volunteering for 3 weekends to help administer medication to the campers.

Location: Pine Valley
When Needed: August 24th-26th

Movie Night Volunteers

Engage in fun activities with adopted youth, giving their parents a night off. Movie night is a fun event every Friday in a different part of San Diego. Volunteers help out once a month at the movie night closest to them. During movie nights, volunteers lead youth in fun activities and games, eat snacks and pizza, and watch a fun kid-friendly movie.

Location: Point Loma, Spring Valley, Chula Vista, Vista
When Needed: Friday, 5pm-9pm

East County Behavioral Health Clinic Administrative Assistant

Join the SDYS team and support the mission with scanning, filing, decorating the office for special months, and other administrative or creative projects.

Location: El Cajon
When Needed: Flexible hours, 1-2 times/week on weekdays 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:             Flexible hours 1-2 times/week on weekdays 9-5

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 1-2 hours, 1-2 sessions/week


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

I CARE Drop-In Center Academic Tutor

Provide tutoring and support to Service Partners who need academic assistance.

Location: Mid City
When Needed: Flexible 1-3hrs/week; Monday-Friday 12-8pm, Saturday-Sunday 2-10pm

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!

Volunteer Application


Contact Brittany 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 not 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.