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.

Volunteer Engagement Assistant

Volunteer Engagement Assistant will provide volunteer department with assistance in filing, organizing, and scanning various documents. Volunteer Engagement Assistant will also help with putting together our monthly agency newsletter and updating volunteer files as necessary.

Location: Pt. Loma
When Needed: Flexible 1-2 hours per week

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

Our Safe Place Family Support Group – Parent Volunteers

Volunteer will facilitate a support group to parents/guardians and potential family members of youth that identify as LGBTQ. Volunteer will have lived experience as a parent of a child that identifies as LGBTQ.  Group will provide education, as well as assist group participants in processing feelings and experiences related to parenting and supporting their children/family members.

Location: Golden Hill
When Needed: Flexible

I CARE Drop-In Center Volunteers

Provide general milieu supervision and guidance to our youth/Service Partners that are accessing services in the drop-in center. Assist in creating a safe and supportive environment. Reinforce drop-in center policies and procedures as needed to ensure the safety of the youth. Interact with youth as a role model. Assist in socializing the youth and redirecting behavior when appropriate. Assist staff in maintaining the cleanliness of the facility.

Location: Mid City
When Needed: (Flexible 4 hour shifts) Monday – Friday 12-8pm, Saturday – Sunday 2-10pm

I CARE Drop-In Center Academic Tutors

Provide tutoring and support to Service Partners who can benefit from academic assistance. Experience and background knowledge within the subjects of math, science, or English (high school and college level) would be a plus. Academic tutors will meet at the drop-in center once a week to provide academic support and or assistance to our youth.

Location: Mid City
When Needed: (Flexible 1-3 hours/ week) Monday – Friday 12-8pm, Saturday – Sunday 2-10pm

Take Wing Mentors

Provide support and mentoring to former foster youth at our transitional housing location in Pt. Loma. Assist youth with reorganizing their apartment, mentoring and any additional support or assistance.

Location: Pt. Loma
When Needed: Flexible 1-2 hours/ week

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


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

Academic Tutor

Provide our foster youth with support and academic assistance through the academic school year. We are looking for a volunteer who would like to help our foster youth with academic tutoring with various subjects (Biology, English, World Geography) one hour per week.

Location: Imperial Beach
When Needed: Flexible 1 hour, 1-2 sessions/week

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

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.