I always felt I was a selfless person. But it’s not what you think or say you are — you are defined by what you do. So, in 2011 I decided that I would take the first step to becoming the person I knew I already was.

Choosing to volunteer twelve places in a year was the easy part. Finding the places to do so proved more difficult. I began by creating four categories: children, animals, environment and humanity. I also wanted a range from high to low commitment. The research was laborious, many places didn’t respond to my calls or emails, forcing me into further research. In the end, my final twelve chosen, I felt confident in my picks.

I can’t truly convey the breadth of my experiences, the amount of change I went through, how much I gain much from the experiences. Each in their own right were amazing, truly opening my eyes to what really matters in our lives. Bringing to light the most important question you can ask yourself: where and in what, will I place my priorities?

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

Margaret Mead

Comfort Zone Camp | Champions of the Littles

My Comfort Zone Camp experience transcends words. Its transformative powers can only be understated.

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Art of Elysium | Ambassadors of Joy

Art of Elysium looks to the volunteer to use their talents to brighten the day of these hospital-bound children.

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The Children’s Nature Institute | Pathfinders of the Youth

I arrived at Eaton Canyon Nature Center in the hills above Pasadena where I met the CNI docents that were to be our trail guides.

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Barks of Love | Docents of the Doggies

Chilling with some puppies inside a PetCo for a few hours isn’t a bad way to give your time.

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Wildlife Waystation | Custodians of the Wild

I spent the day with lions, tigers, llamas, bears, zebras, jaguars, chimpanzees, ostriches, hawks, and ferrets.

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Farm Sanctuary | Saviors of our Kin

Why do we eat what we eat? What qualifies as a pet? Do all animals have rights?

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Irvine Ranch Conservancy | Stewards of the Rural

Mission: Hunt down and collect the elusive acorn.
Party: Five tenderfoot volunteers. Two seasoned docents. And me.

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Second Harvest | Bearers of the Seed

I showed up at 3pm at the Incredible Edible Park in the city of Irvine where I met Raul, one of the caretakers of the park.

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Project Earth | Paladins of the Ecosystem

It’s been a few years since I graduated college, but my alma mater’s volunteer club was more than happy to let me tag along.

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Habitat for Humanity | Erectors of Havens

There are so many ways to help out this great organization, from office work, event planning, and deconstruction. I, however, wanted to build a house.

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Surfrider Foundation | Vanguards of the Sea

Once a month Surfrider puts up a booth on the boardwalk of one of Socal’s beaches providing bags, gloves, and a few reaching pickup tools in order to empower and inspire people to help clean up their beaches.

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Someone Cares | Slingers of Sustenance

No one should go to bed hungry on the street or otherwise. However, providing meals seven days per week is no easy task. It takes some amazing and truly special people volunteering their time to make it happen.

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