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!

Follow us on Instagram for updates on these and other events. Fill out the Participant Form for your region below, and we’ll be in touch to let you know when we add new events to our schedule.

Impact Year Participant FormSAN MATEO
Impact Year Participant Form
Impact Year Participant FormPALO ALTO
Impact Year Participant Form

Upcoming volunteer opportunities:

Warm Hats and Hugs: Support Critically Ill Children and Learn How to Knit!

November 22, 3:00 – 4:15 pm

Learn about the unique challenges that critically ill children and their families face, and how the work of Ronald McDonald House supports them. San Mateo’s very own Hannah Levine will teach us how to knit, and then in our own way, we will give them “warm hugs” by donating our creations to child patients.  Zoom link to be provided once you register here Questions? Ask 

Fridge for Thought: Address Food Insecurity in Marin County

Monday, November 23, 1:00 – 3:00 pm (30-minute drop-in)
600 5th Ave, San Rafael 

Help address food insecurity with a community-powered initiative called Marin Community Fridges. Community fridges are a form of mutual aid, similar to the Jewish agricultural tradition of Pe’ah, or leaving the corners of the field to those in need. Just in time for Thanksgiving, let’s come together and feed the community. Bring food to donate and learn alongside fellow teens. Register to participate here. Questions? Ask [email protected] 

Drop-in & Drop-Off Event: Supporting Households Facing Food Insecurity

Sunday, November 29, 2:00 – 4:00 pm (30-minute drop-in)
2150 Post St, San Francisco

Drop off a donation of supplies for local families in need, and while you’re with us, make hand-written cards in English and/or Russian for recipients of your donations, and participate in our Polaroid Photobooth of Jewish Values activity! Leading up to the event, look out for our Instagram posts with first-hand accounts of people facing food and housing insecurities locally. Register to participate here. Questions? Ask [email protected] 

Climate Change Your Mind: An Advocacy Campaign to Shift Your Habits

Monday, November 30 – Sunday, December 6

Each day of this campaign you will hear about some of the most unassuming human habits negatively impacting our planet. Listen and watch our Instagram account carefully to learn about how our habits are speeding up change, and the simple actions you can take to make a difference. The culmination of this advocacy campaign is an optional beach clean-up on Sunday. Register to participate here. Questions? Ask [email protected] 

Shop Local: Support Small Businesses During the Pandemic

Sunday, December 6, 7:30 – 8:30 pm  

Palo Alto Impact Year teens are kicking off this holiday season by advocating for people to shop at local businesses.  From Dec. 1-6, we will share pictures of our favorite local shops, boutiques, and restaurants on our Instagram. You are invited to share your personal favorite local business and add it to our interactive map! Then join us at the end of the week on Sunday, Dec. 6 to hear from local shop owners as they share their stories about how the industry is faring after 9 months of COVID challenges.  Zoom link to be provided once you sign up through this link. Questions? Ask [email protected]. 

Removing the Smokescreen: Illuminating & Responding to Stories of California’s Fires

Sunday, December 6, 7:00 – 8:00 pm

Join us on Zoom for a very special debut screening of a short film produced by our SF teen leaders featuring stories of loss due to the California fires. We will also learn how to prepare and stock a Go Bag for your home! Before this event, donate supplies to the JFCS Fire Relief Supply Drive. Zoom link to be provided after you register to participate here. Questions? Ask [email protected] 

Follow us on Instagram for updates on these and other events.

Ongoing volunteer opportunities:

Letter Writing for 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 Deborah Schneider at [email protected] for a list of names and instructions on where to send them.

Donate to JFCS Food Banks

Our community faces an unprecedented need for food donations and deliveries during the pandemic. Help JFCS keep our Food Banks full throughout the Bay Area and ensure we have essential supplies for everyone in need. Learn more about how you and your family can contribute.

Completed Service Projects

Takeout Tuesday—Coming Right Up!

As we all have witnessed, many small restaurants/eateries are struggling to keep their businesses open due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Shelter-In-Place orders. We encouraged teens from all over the Bay Area to order take out/delivery from a local restaurant and then join us on ZOOM. We played interactive games like and Kahoot, while connecting with old and new faces!

Face Masks for Frontline Workers

Given the short supply of face masks for first responders, hospitals, and other high-risk workers, teens helped make them at home using these instructions or watching this video demonstration.

Storytime: Raising LGBTQ Awareness with Children

During this virtual storytime activity, teens spent time reading books with positive representations of central LBGTQ characters to young children (on Zoom!) and helped increase the inclusion of queer characters and themes in children’s literature.

Combat Voter Suppression

Voter suppression has been a challenge in the U.S. election system for decades. We disrupted longtime strategies of voter suppression by ensuring that Americans who are eligible to vote were registered and knowledgeable about how and where to vote. We organized two separate ways for teens to join this effort, with postcard-writing, and direct phone calls.

Gloves On: Neighborhood Clean Up

Teens collected as much trash as they could in their local neighborhood, and then met together to connect and learn more about how waste and recycling is managed by city authorities in the Bay.

Virtual Career Nights

Find out how your interests could turn into a career. Teens get a chance to join a variety of successful professionals online to hear them speak about their unique career journeys, followed by a structured Q&A. Stay tuned for our next virtual Career Night!


Director  Linda Karlin; 415-359-2463

San Francisco Natan Kuchar; 415-359-2477

North Peninsula Linda Karlin; 415-359-2463

South Peninsula Deborah Schneider; 650-688-3059

Marin County Margolit Sands; 415-419-3641


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