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National Volunteer Week 2014

It’s our week to be thankful and celebrate Volunteerism!  Join us at events in honor of National Volunteer Week happening April 6-12, 2014. Widely celebrated across the country, the week brings the opportunity to call national attention to the substantial civic impact that more than 63 million volunteers make in our local communities.

We invite residents of Santa Cruz County to join with us in thanking volunteers from across our community. We hope you will be inspired and encouraged to take a step towards action as well.

Schedule of Events

countysealVolunteer Initiative Program Volunteer Recognition – Tues. April 8 9AM- Join the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors and staff from our County Partnership Program VIP as they celebrate the outstanding volunteers who are providing service within County Departments. Last year 1,924 volunteers contributed more than $1.38 Million in volunteer labor expanding and enhancing the work of County Personnel.


city of santa cruzCityServe Volunteer Recognition Celebration- Tues. April 8 2:00PM – Join Santa Cruz City Council and staff from our City Partnership Program as they celebrate the outstanding volunteers working within City Departments. Activities will take place in the City Council Chamber.


logovectorfileVolunteer Recognition Party- Thurs. April 10th 5-7PM @ the Volunteer Center- Each year during National Volunteer Week we take the opportunity to honor the individuals who dedicate themselves to one of our 18 programs. They represent the heart of our success,  play a vital role in sustaining our services, and make a world of difference.  All program volunteers are invited to join us for awards, appetizers, live music, and raffle prizes. Call 831-427-5070 to RSVP.

Meet Maryana

Volunteer of the Month March 2014

FO_march2014 vol of the monthMaryana has made volunteering with Friends Outside part of her life for over a year now. Her dedication has made her an important team member, and her bright personality always lights up the office.

Early on, Maryana began visiting at the Santa Cruz Main Jail, and is now a regular holding down the fort over at the Rountree facility in Watsonville. 

Originally from Arizona, she is now a full time student at UCSC who will graduate next year with a BA in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. For Maryana, volunteering is not just a way to give back, but also a way to prepare her for her future career. She hopes to one day use her experiences with Friends Outside to pursue working with incarcerated population.

Friends Outside thanks you for all you do Maryana!

International Women’s Day … Inspiring Change

inspiring_womenIn honor of International Women’s Day we want to celebrate those women who have inspired us through their compassion,  willingness to lift others up, or their drive to bring forth a better tomorrow.

We’ve had the fortune of meeting so many women who have given their time to make the world a better place. Our volunteers are a daily source of inspiration about the power of one to make change. We applaud each and everyone one of them!

Here are just a  few stories of women making a difference in our local community.

Feel inspired? You too can join the movement of women making change. Learn more about volunteer opportunities at


Women Inspiring Change

BTD_ winner_Justine_Dice Meet Justine- A student at Soquel High School, Justine goes the extra mile to translate her passion into action as she participates in a wealth of activities. She is the president of the school Environment Club, has facilitated Bike to School day and is an active volunteer at the Monterey Bay Aquarium. As a volunteer, she helped institute hydration stations to eliminate plastic water bottles on school campuses throughout the district. For the past two years, she has initiated Locker Clean Out Day, mobilizing students to sort through materials left behind in lockers at the end of the school year for recycling, reuse and redistribution. From organizing weekly  school campus and neighborhood clean-ups to serving as the student rep.for the local commission of Prevention of Non- Violence Against Women, the limited number of hours in a day is her only barrier. Watch Her Story

MYMM_KaitlinMeet Kaitlin- Kaitlin arrived at  Volunteer Center office last fall seeking a volunteer position, or as it turned out, several volunteer positions. After six years of feeling less than inspired by her office job, Kaitlin was longing to dive into work that excited her on a soul level. For Kaitlin, that work was educating and mentoring youth, even if it meant squeezing in a volunteer position during her lunch breaks. Learn more about her work as a volunteer extraordinaire helping young people unleash their creativity and weave tales of wonder. Read her Story


FO_dec-volunteerMeet Savanna- Savanna is a dedicated volunteer with the Volunteer Center Program Friends Outside, where she helps individuals rebuild their lives after incarceration. In her time as a volunteer she has coordinated successful food, backpack and clothing drives to collect basic resources for clients in need. She also helped to coordinate a visually engaging client art exhibit sharing the impacts of incarceration. Most importantly she uses her knowledge and compassion  to help individuals access the resources they need to get their feet back on the ground.  Read her Story

Storyboard Jana MearesMeet Jana- Jana is an experienced landscape designer and educator who is passionate about building community gardens with children big and small.  As an intrepid advocate for youth green thumbs, Jana goes out of her way to secure donations and deliver  projects with a focus on sustainability and growing organic. Her projects have included building worm bins and compost piles, starting organic vegetable gardens in Beach Flats & Watsonville, and installing green-friendly drip irrigation. Jana’s humor, warmth, and breadth of knowledge enable her to deliver a meaningful volunteer experience for all youth who cross her garden paths.  Watch her Story



Meet Adria

Volunteer of the Month February 2014


Adria has been a dedicated Jail Visitor with our organization since 2012. She discovered the program by chance when browsing a job listing site, and the position for Volunteer Jail Visitor caught her eye. She was so inspired by the work of Friends Outside, she knew she had to get involved.

Once she completed her training and shadowing process, she began meeting with people in-custody and worked to support them in their efforts to get through their time. During her visits she assisted inmates in planning for their release, their future, and supported them by simply being a person to talk to.

Adria has been one of the most long-standing volunteers, and it’s dedication like hers that lends stability and quality to our organization. She is now continuing to help out the Jail Visiting program by sharing her knowledge and experience by taking in new volunteers into Main Jail to shadow.

Friends Outside thanks you for all you do Adria!