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We could use all use a reminder that feeling good about yourself is about more than working on the the exterior. As you look around the city, there are so many crucial causes that need a little love, so why not work on bettering yourself from the inside by taking a little time out for a truly rewarding volunteering experience?
Because having your Best Year Ever should also mean helping others have theirs, we've rounded up a few of the city's coolest non-profits to put in a little work. Whether it's mentoring underprivileged youth or ridding our beaches of debris, these opportunities will kickstart your year's good karma while you benefit those in need.
What: 826 LA (1417 W Sunset Boulevard and 12515 Venice Boulevard)
Why: The Dave Eggers-founded non-profit focuses on offering creative writing programs and tutoring to students from 1st to 12th grades. Volunteers, which must first go through a mandatory screening process, work directly with kids either in daily "field trips" in which they guide little ones through writing a unique, collaborative story, help with after-school homework, or assist in weekend workshops.
What: TreePeople (12601 Mullholland Drive)
Why: The eco-focused org is working to make our LA landscape greener and thus more climate-resilient, which means planting and caring for trees in urban areas and helping to restore damaged ecosystems in our mountains and forests. You can even create a private volunteering event by gathering a group of or more friends.
What: Taking the Reins (3919 Rigali Avenue)
Why: This equestrian program is geared toward ask-risk adolescent girls, who gain confidence by learning the responsibility of how to care for the barn's animals and garden. Though the non-profit doesn't regularly seek out volunteers, it hosts special events and project days where those looking to help the cause can pitch in to clean and maintain the facility.
What: Heal the Bay (1444 9th Street)
Why: Because—duh—we want to keep our beaches safe, clean, and beautiful. Volunteers for this organization can help with everything from beach clean-ups, educating and welcoming guests to the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium, and joining the Storm Response Team to help with El Nino's damage.
Why: This animal rescue and relocating organization relies on volunteers to help socialize LA's alarming feral, stray kitten population (a result of neglect and failure to neuter/spay animals), which is crucial before finding them a furr-ever home. Having a talent for cuddling fuzzy babies is a strongly encouraged.
Why: The non-profit looks for long-term solutions for homelessness by teaching tools for gaining and retaining employment. Volunteers work directly with the homeless by practicing interviews, assisting in resume writing, and other specific job training.