These San Francisco suburbs top the charts when it comes to being socially conscious.
From organizing food drives to providing companionship to the elderly, local kids, tweens and teens in the Bay Area are eager to find ways to give back to their communities—and in these towns, it’s become a true way of life. These socially responsible suburbs inspire us daily, with an active, passionate youth population who are eager to roll up their sleeves and DO, with proud parents—and grateful organizations and individuals—cheering them on. Some towns that get our thumbs up on the socially active front?
In Tiburon, social responsibility starts at school. Children at the Bel Aire School participate in Children for Change. This organization knows that kids want to do good and helps provide opportunities for them to engage in community service. Each year, students focus on different topics, like the environment and food insecurity.
Local youth also have the chance to participate in The Mosaic Project. This unique program brings 4th and 5th-grade students from diverse areas of the Bay Area together for a weeklong camping experience. During the week, an evidence-based social-emotional learning curriculum is used to help children understand and appreciate their differences and promote respect in the community.
Berkeley teens are always looking for ways to give back—and this college town has tons of opportunities for residents to engage. The Alzheimer’s Services of the East Bay welcomes volunteers to spend a few hours singing, crafting, chatting and bringing a smile to its elderly residents. Locals can also donate their time to one of the food banks or housing projects in town.
Many local high school students spend their summers volunteering at one of the town’s camps. The Berkeley Playhouse, Berkeley Rec Sports and the public library’s Literacy Daycamp are just a few of the options for socially responsible residents.
The HandsOn Bay Area Youth Council gives Oakland’s high school students the opportunity to build leadership skills while engaging in a variety of community service projects. This group consists of highly-motivated Oakland teens eager to make a difference in their ‘burb. Members organize, lead and participate in volunteer efforts all across town, from senior centers to community gardens.
But locals don’t stop there. Outside of the Youth Council, there are plenty of other ways to donate time in this town. Oakland’s Hopalong Animal Rescue needs volunteer “Cat Cuddlers” to care for and play with adoptable kittens. Locals can also help sort and distribute the food donated to the Alameda County Food Bank.
Local high school students are focused on making a difference in their community. Residents age 14 and up can join the Piedmont Community Service Crew, a co-ed group that stemmed from the Boy Scouts. Participants spend time volunteering with many different groups, including St. Mary’s Center and the Lincoln Child Center.
In addition to giving back, PCSC members also have the opportunity to become leaders. Students can develop organizational skills and build their self-esteem while also helping others in their community.
#5. Mill Valley
Local students are so interested in giving back that Mill Valley schools have a webpage dedicated to school-age volunteer opportunities. Kids can spend time socializing and playing games with elderly residents at The Redwoods or planting trees with The Arbor Day Foundation.
In addition to these established community programs, many Mill Valley children also create their own projects. It’s not out of the ordinary to see local tweens and teens organizing a food drive or collecting diapers for low-income families.
#6. Palo Alto
Palo Alto-based Youth Community Service (YCS) helps bridge the gap between tweens and teens who want to help and nonprofits, programs and individuals who can truly benefit from added support and service. In addition to supporting community service clubs in eight Palo Alto middle and high schools plus special “service days” across the area, YCS offers a Youth Leaders About Change (YLAC) and ACTION lead for kids interested in leading the charge in their communities and beyond.
YCS and the individual schools sponsor service programs including tutoring, community cleanup and more. Also popular for socially responsible teens? Teen Community Service at the Palo Alto Children’s Theater, Art Center Teen Leadership through the City of Palo Alto and, for all ages, Collective Roots, a community gardening turned healthy local food initiative.
Looking for a place YOUR family can commit to doing good? Let’s talk. Whether you’re in the Bay Area or beyond, we’ll help you find towns that are all about doing good. Schedule your Suburbs Strategy session now.