Top 7 ways to volunteer in SoCal for 2010

Top 7 with Alysha Del Valle
LOS ANGELES The number one way to volunteer is for the dogs! Karma Rescue is a dog rescue organization specializing in large breed dogs.

"They take the dogs from the overcrowded shelters, which unfortunately are euthanized at a high rate," said Mar Yvette of

Karma Rescue patiently and hopefully waits for every single dog in need to be adopted.

"We had a dog named Mikey that we had in our program for six years, and he just recently got a home," said Rande Levine, founder of Karma Rescue.

If you can't adopt or foster a Karma Rescue pooch, go with their Guardian Angel Program.

"You spend time with them on the weekends, you give them treats, you pet them, you love them, and you just really mentor, it's sort of like a big brother or a big sister," Yvette said.

Reading to Kids is a nonprofit organization serving underprivileged communities through the power of books.

"If you have a soft spot for children and you love to read, this is where you should be volunteering your time," Yvette said.

Reading to Kids sponsors family-friendly reading clubs every second Saturday of the month at eight different elementary schools throughout Los Angeles County. The program really counts on volunteers to inspire a love of books.

"Hopefully they'll go home and want to read and spend their time hopefully not in front of the television," said Reading to Kids program director Lisa Flores.

Making the No. 3 spot is Chrysalis, where the motto is "changing lives through jobs."

"What they do is they help the economically disadvantaged and homeless people find jobs and become self-sufficient," Yvette said.

For the past 25 year, Chrysalis has helped over 30,000 people find work, with the aid of volunteers.

"Volunteers teach classes, they teach people how to use the computer, they work one-on-one with our clients to develop a resume, to practice job interview skills," said Patrick Shandrick of Chrysalis.

Shandrick added that you can also donate gently worn professional attire for their clients to wear for job interviews.

"It really is a great cause, and especially now with the way the economy has been, they've seen a 40 percent increase in people needing your help," Yvette said.

Rounding out the top 7 ways to volunteer in Los Angeles County are Guardians, assisting senior citizens throughout Southern California, Heal the Bay, helping and protecting our local beaches, the Los Angeles Mission, feeding the homeless and disadvantaged, 826 LA, emphasizing education.

In Orange County, volunteers shine at Children's Hospital Orange County (CHOC). In the Inland Empire, the United Way provides many opportunities to do good. In Ventura County, volunteer your time with homeless dogs at Big Paws 4 A Cause

Karma Rescue
1158 26th Street, Suite 155 PMB
Santa Monica, CA 90403
(310) 512-RUFF

Reading to Kids
1600 Sawtelle Boulevard, Suite 210
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-7455

516 S. Main Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 806-6300

1640 S. Sepulveda Blvd., Suite 210
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 479-2468

Heal the Bay
1444 9th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-1500

Los Angeles Mission
303 East 5th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 629-1227

826 LA
685 Venice Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291
(310) 305-8418

CHOC Children's Hospital of Orange County
455 S. Main St.
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 532-8889

Inland Empire United Way
9624 Hermosa Ave,.
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
(951) 778-0611

Big Paws 4 A Cause
3252 Mission Inn Ave.
Newbury Park, CA 91320
(805) 480-3038

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