Home Sweeter Home: Giving Back

Home Sweeter Home: Giving Back

Simple Ways To Give Back to Your Community

by Lora Somoza

It was just last summer that the U.S. Department of Agriculture named Ventura County the most desirable place to live in America.  Well, that’s no surprise to those of us who live here. With sunny weather year round and a beautiful ocean for a backyard, it’s safe to say we enjoy a little slice of paradise. So why not help keep it heavenly?

If you have ever thought that you wanted to volunteer in your community, there’s no better time than now. And not only will you be helping others in need, but you’ll be helping yourself. According to a study in A Journal of Health and Social Behavior, giving back by volunteering improves a person’s health, happiness, self-esteem, sense of well-being, life satisfaction and even lowers depression.  It’s a win /win!

Now that you’re ready to give of your free time, where do you sign up? There are literally hundreds of groups that support different pressing issues, so it can get overwhelming.

Pick an organization that’s meaningful to you.

If you’re passionate about a cause, then follow your heart. You’ll get the most out of it and you will be more likely to stay committed.

With that in mind, here are few great links as a place to start your search.


Want to insure the beauty of our landscape? The Surfrider Foundation fights to keep our beaches healthy. You can join the Ventura Chapter here:


Keep America Beautiful supports neighborhoods in recycling, planting trees and keeping it free from trash and graffiti. Look for your local chapter here:


Helping Others

Our community has an extraordinary network of human outreach projects from homeless shelters to helping the elderly to feeding the hungry.

If you want to extend your hand to those who are struggling, there are many organizations that help the homeless. The Ventura County Rescue Mission works tirelessly to house and feed some of our county’s neediest. You can get involved here: VCRMVolCo@erescuemission.org

Women’s shelters always need support, along with clothing, furniture and toys for children. The Lighthouse for Women and Children is a caring group that helps these families get a second chance at happiness. Contact them here: lighthousevolco@erescumission.org

Oxnard’s FoodShare is Ventura County’s number one food bank. It partners with local farmers to feed our hungry friends throughout the county. You can volunteer by contacting them here: http://www.foodshare.com/

Perhaps volunteering at a hospital is something you’ve wanted to do? Reach out Ventura’s St. John’s to sign up. https://www.dignityhealth.org/stjohnsregional/ways-to-give/volunteering

Animal Love

If you want to help your four legged friends, humane societies and animal shelters are generally funded by contributions and always need volunteers. These loving organizations are devoted to wildlife rescue, lost and found pet reports, stray care and pick-up, and animal adoptions. There are so many ways you can be of service.

Check out the Canine Adoption and Rescue League or the Ventura County Animal Services for ideas:



If you’re still looking for inspiration, go to  http://www.volunteermatch.org/. The site will help you narrow down your interests and skills and find you a place right in your back yard.

Now that you’ve picked one, keep this in mind:

Start small

If you already have a crazy schedule, don’t commit to more than you can do. Start by volunteering an hour a week or maybe one day per month. If you find yourself getting more involved, then ask take on more.  Not everybody can give set time but you get creative with your ways to give back.  From collecting blankets and food for shelters, to tutoring children, you’d be surprised what you can do.

Let the organization know what your skills and interests are

Sure, you’ll learn new things by volunteering, but you may be able to contribute your personal skills as well. Do you love to work with people? With animals? With children? With numbers? Are you handy? Do you have computer expertise, artistic expertise?? Organizations need all sorts of skills. Let the volunteer coordinator know what your skills and interests are to help find the best fit.

And remember, if you don’t find a perfect fit at one organization, there are hundreds of others that need your help. Or maybe you’ll catch the giving bug and find more ways to get involved. Good luck and happy giving!

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Gandhi


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Rich Yerkovich, Broker
Beachside & Boat Dock Homes

Real Estate Broker | Certified Appraiser

 805-816-0284 | rich@living805.com

Living805 | BRE# 01945246