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Places you can volunteer at any time of year

November 24, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Thanksgiving is about cooking and food, but it's also about being thankful for what we have. It's also a day that inspires others to help out and give back.

There are so many different ways to donate your time. We visited a few organizations that need help year-round.

Some recipients are furry, smiley, or sassy - volunteering takes many forms.

The Weingart YMCA in East Los Angeles is one place where volunteers of all ages are giving back this holiday season.

Student Pepe Torres, 17, takes the bus after school to coach the YMCA's youth soccer program.

"I've been volunteering since I was 13 years old. I've been at this facility since I was 4," said Torres. "This is actually kind of like my second home."

Hilda Ruiz volunteers several days a week with the YMCA's swim team, the East L.A. Sharks.

"It gives me a place where I can go and make sure that I grow and I give back," said Ruiz.

The Cancer Support Community Center in Pasadena also welcomes donated support. It provides many health and wellness programs to cancer patients and their families.

"It also includes the people who are supporting, giving care to their loved ones, and we help those who lose their battle with cancer by doing a bereavement program for people who lost their loved ones," said Beverly Rouse of the Cancer Support Community.

All of the services provided are free. Many former participants come back to give their time and experience.

"It's just a fun place to be, too. We don't hide our heads in the ground, and we don't dig a hole and pull the dirt over us because we have cancer. We look to the future," said volunteer Rosemarie Annear.

In Atwater Village, a retail record store was transformed into Sant? D'Or, a special type of pet adoption center and sanctuary.

There's only one paid staff member who runs the rescue facility full-time, otherwise the shelter is entirely volunteer-run.

"If we didn't have the great volunteers that we have, we would not have what's going on now, which is so amazing," said Kelly Milam of Sant? D'Or.

While the furry creatures are waiting for a new home, dedicated volunteers help out while the animals are able to run free and play.

These organizations we featured are three of the many volunteer opportunities out there.


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