Los Angeles might have 99 problems—but a beach ain’t one. With a starry-eyed view, many place the idea of Los Angeles living on a pedestal. Yes, life in LA is full of endless sunshine, golden beaches, and epic surf, but days spent soaking up the sun are a pipe dream for much of LA’s inhabitants. When you look beyond the superficial status and star quotient in Los Angeles, you’ll find the underserved and overlooked. This is why Los Angeles is the perfect location to volunteer abroad!
What you need to know to volunteer in Los Angeles
Los Angeles is incredibly polarized. Millions are living in poverty among the rich and famous, unhealthy smog levels vie for the fresh ocean air, and dogs carried in purses pass overrun animal shelters. Needless to say, there are a number of ways to truly make a difference while managing to catch a little sun and enjoying your time with volunteer programs in Los Angeles.
Popular causes and program types in Los Angeles. Volunteers are always needed in areas of community development. Homeless shelters and community centers, building and restoration projects, and food banks are eager to accept a helping hand. Taking on urban gardening projects with children and teaching English to the large Hispanic population in SoCal are volunteer opportunities that are also in high demand In LA. Yes, you can even volunteer with animals in Los Angeles!
Short term volunteer programs in Los Angeles. Deciding how long you are able to volunteer is the next step in process of saving the world. The duration of volunteer programs abroad in Los Angeles can vary from a short week to a month or even longer. If you don’t have a lot of time, don’t sweat it. Many like-minded humanitarians opt to volunteer abroad short term and in the summer because it is a great way to fill that treasured time off and enjoy the beautiful summer months of sunny LA.
Long term volunteer programs in Los Angeles. A couple of weeks or months of volunteering will definitely have a lasting effect on the community you are serving, but volunteers are always encouraged to stay as long as possible to maximize impact. If you have a bigger heart for LA than you first realized and you’re considering jumping in for the long haul, there are definitely ways to long term volunteer in Los Angeles, CA.
Life in Los Angeles for International Volunteers
Los Angeles has it all. Palm trees line the streets, giving off beach vibes amongst high-rise buildings, all with mountains with pristine hiking trails creating a magnificent backdrop. Combine that with a mash-up of modern and edgy architecture and you have yourself a city that encourages thinking outside the box and following dreams.
When you volunteer in Los Angeles, you will never be bored. Feast on the best tacos in California or embrace the vegan cuisine as you eat your way through the city. Get your tourist fill in Hollywood as you search for your favorite celebrity’s star (and who knows—you might even see one in their natural habitat!). Spend a day exploring Huntington Beach and biking along Santa Monica Pier or enjoy the boho vibes and free spiritedness while wandering Venice Beach. You can even tour Universal Studios and overlook the whole city at the Griffith Observatory. Volunteering in Los Angeles is the perfect combination of fun and meaningful work.
GoAbroad’s Inside Scoop for volunteers in Los Angeles
The traffic in LA really is that bad. This may come as a shock to many foreigners, but LA is not well equipped when it comes to public transportation. Always factor in a lot of extra time for travel and be aware that you can’t simply hop on a bus or a train to your next location.
The climate of Los Angeles is classified as subtropical-Mediterranean, a rare and highly desirable weather classification. The number of days with any sort of measurable precipitation barely reaches 20 and LA’s sunny disposition is always shining.
The stark contrast of LA’s neighborhoods can sometimes be hard to navigate and taking a wrong turn into a bad neighborhood can be a common (but reversible!) blunder. Just remember to use common sense, steer clear of dodgy areas, and remember nothing good happens after midnight.
Dreams are serious business in La La Land. The City of Angels is the place where all of your wildest dreams can come true, but when you volunteer abroad in Los Angeles, you have the opportunity to help make someone else’s wildest dreams come true! Every year, countless dreamers pour onto its streets, itching to share their story or write a new one. The end result is an exhilarating whirlpool of hope. When you volunteer abroad in Los Angeles, you get to not only be a part of the magic, but contribute to furthering its spectacularity!