Service Opportunities & Events
Make an Impact with YouthFirst
Connect with teens from around the Bay Area as we address a range of challenges/issues facing our communities. Through advocacy projects and service-learning events, you can help make a difference through your actions and voice!
Upcoming Service Projects
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Passover Holiday Bags
Sunday, March 26
11:00am – 1:00pm in Marin (600 Fifth Ave, San Rafael)
2:00 – 4:00pm in San Mateo (2001 Winward Way, San Mateo)
Every year, JFCS provides Passover foods to Jewish families and seniors across the Bay Area who are unable to access these holiday supplies and treats to observe this wonderful holiday. Teen volunteers are invited to prepare the holiday bags for hundreds of JFCS clients. To participate in this community-wide effort, register here for San Mateo and register here for Marin! Questions? Email [email protected] (San Mateo) or [email protected] (Marin).
Perks of a Being Wallflower: Exploring Friendship and Support
Sunday, March 26, 12:30 – 2:00 pm
YouthFirst office, 2245 Post St, San Francisco
Through the eyes of high school freshman Charlie, we get a glimpse of the hurdles many teens when starting off in a new social environment. And if you have pre-existing mental health issues, it makes it that much harder! Join us for an exploration of the importance of peer-to-peer support, and gain new tools on how to be there for your friends who may be going through a rough time.
Tiny Homes, Big Impact
Friday, April 7, 4:00 – 6:00pm
Youth Spirit Artworks, Oakland, CA
Roll up your sleeves, pick up a tool and let’s get to work! The Tiny House Empowerment Village for Bay Area youth facing homelessness is a project by Youth Spirit Artworks. The Jewish concept for a home includes far more than just walls and a roof—it requires that a home also be built with one’s hands, mind and heart. Join teens from around the Bay Area and help with current projects to maintain this incredible tiny home village for youth! All volunteers are invited to enjoy a free burrito and bring in Shabbat together after our volunteer work. Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Journals for Survivors
Thursday, April 20, 7:00 – 8:30pm
Congregation Beth Sholom, 301 14th Ave, San Francisco
Guided by the Jewish value of Gmilut Chassadim (acts of loving kindness), we will support survivors of domestic violence who are temporarily living in shelter with La Casa de las Madres. Help turn plain Composition books into beautiful one-of-a-kind journals through collage & decorating and be a part of the healing process for these courageous women. Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Earth Day Restoration Project
Sunday, April 30, 10:00am – 12:00pm
Marin County Parks, Address provided upon registration
Are you a guardian of the earth (shomrei adamah)? Volunteer with Marin County Parks and teens in the community who are passionate about protecting the environment. We’ll be getting our hands dirty at a local park and help protect native and rare species in the area. Snacks will be provided to help fuel our group in this active service work. Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Sunday, April 30, 12:00 – 2:30pm
Ocean Beach, QF9Q+XQ Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA
Preserve our local beach and maintain the safety of ocean life as we take on the role of Shomrei Adamah (guardians of the earth). In partnership with the Jew Crew of Ruth Asawa School of the Arts, we will plan to meet at the Roald Amundsen Statue for a great afternoon at the beach! We’ll provide snacks—you bring your energy and readiness to get to work! Register here. Questions? [email protected].
Seeds for Smiles: Decorating Pots and Planting Seeds
Sunday, April 30, 2:00 – 4:00pm
LifeMoves Family Shelter, San Mateo
Families living in temporary housing don’t often have the opportunity to decorate their living spaces. Combine the Jewish values of Bal Tachshit (repurposing) and G’milut Chassadim (acts of loving kindness) at San Mateo’s largest family shelter to decorate recycled material then plant seeds with the children who currently reside there. Register here. Questions? [email protected]
Ongoing Volunteer Opportunities
Bring a Holocaust Survivor to Speak at Your School
Through firsthand accounts of the Holocaust, help students in your school learn about the importance of tolerance, embracing diversity, and combating hatred. Holocaust survivors as well as their descendants have a variety of experiences to share. Please take a few minutes to tell us a bit about you/your school here and to learn about what’s involved to bring this vital experiential learning opportunity to teens in your community. Questions? Ask Deborah Schneider at [email protected].
Child Care Crew with Jewish Baby Network
Do you love working with kids? Join our Child Care Crew in partnership with the Jewish Baby Network (JBN). JBN hosts regular gatherings in local parks, synagogues and schools that bring together Jewish families for fun learning and community building. Volunteers will play, with and take care of children to give parents time to connect with one another. Sign up to become a Child Club Crew member here! Questions? Ask Merav Berger at [email protected].
Letter Writing to Homebound Seniors
Everyone loves to get handwritten notes, especially seniors! Help make an isolated senior’s day by writing a card, sending a joke, or drawing a picture, and let them know you are thinking about them. If you would like to write personal notes to ten seniors in our community, please contact Margolit Sands at [email protected] for a list of names and instructions on where to send them.
Volunteer with JFCS Food Banks
Our community faces an unprecedented need for food donations and deliveries. Our Food Banks have a variety of needs, including packing and delivering food bags to clients, receiving food donations, and assembling holiday-themed bags. Reach out to Margolit Sands at [email protected] to find out how you can help in your local JFCS office.
YouthFirst Advocacy Projects
We know youth want to learn about and take action on issues that are impacting them in their communities and lives. As a YouthFirst community, we are currently participating in the following advocacy efforts:
No More Factory Farms
Much of what we eat comes from factory farming, which contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and to the suffering of factory farm animals. This is an open letter to Gavin Newsom and the California Legislature to pause all future factory farm construction and to reevaluate what constitutes animal cruelty in California. Sign this petition if you believe we should stop factory farming in California and come up with a more humane and ecofriendly way to source our meat.
Protect Kids on Social Media! A Call to Action
Did you know that many social media companies design their platforms in ways that harms kids and their mental health? You can help hold these companies accountable by adding your voice to the “Protect Kids on Social Media” Bill (SB 287). This new bill would make social media companies liable for using design features and algorithms that deliberately expose children and teens to harmful content or addict them to the platform. Plus, it will help families to sue if they knowingly or negligently caused harm through certain types of design features. Sign this petition to send a strong statement to the California Legislature that social media platforms be required to put youth mental health before profits!
Protect our Planet
Recently, a group of 21 young adults filed a climate related lawsuit against the United States government, claiming that some government policies knowingly cause and worsen the climate crisis, which violates their generation’s constitutional right to freedom and protection under the law. Sign this petition to urge Attorney General Marrick Garland not to further delay the proceedings and give these young adults their day in court.
Director: Linda Karlin; 415-359-2463
San Francisco: Inbal Shalev; 415-449-1291
North Peninsula: Merav Berger; 650-931-1834
South Peninsula: Deborah Schneider; 650-688-3059
Marin County: Margolit Sands; 415-419-3641