The Field Guide to Community Service

Health Care

“He who has health, has hope; and he who has hope has everything.”
— Thomas Carlyle

Nonprofit organizations play a major role in the financing and delivery of health care services. From nonprofit hospitals and nursing homes to independent charitable organizations that work to fight disease, provide support to those who are ill, and work to keep people healthy and active. There are countless numbers of nonprofits related to health care and many thrive through a network of passionate volunteers.


  • If you’re athletic, there are hundreds of walks, runs and bike rides that benefit local health nonprofits. Sign up for an event, start a team or sponsor a participant in one or more of these meaningful events.

  • If you have any disability equipment – think wheelchairs, bath aids or ramps – consider donating it to Able People Foundation, which will give it to a low-income individual with physical limitations. The foundation even has a wishlist of most-needed items on its website.

  • Cancer CAREpoint has opportunities for groups to make no-sew blankets or ChemoCare bags for cancer patients undergoing treatment.


  • Donate blood. A single blood donation may help up to three people. Try the American Red Cross, the Stanford Blood Center or your local hospital.

  • Expandability needs volunteers to help prepare students for the realities of the modern work environment, including sharing their work experiences, leading role-play exercises and conducting practice interviews.

  • Consider becoming a Peer PAL with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). This program is for someone who has “been there,” is doing well in his/her recovery and wants to share their hope and friendship with a peer who also has a diagnosis of mental illness.


  • If you are a lactating mom or have frozen breast milk that you wish to donate, contact Mothers’ Milk Bank to provide breast milk for a baby in need.

  • All the local hospitals have auxiliaries to help manage volunteers. Just visit the hospital website, search for “auxiliaries” and you’ll be directed to volunteer opportunities.

  • BASWI (Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative) is looking for volunteers who love interacting with kids and can commit 75 minutes weekly to be part of its Bay Area Initiatives Team.

  • Eating Disorders Resource Center is looking for volunteers to work in its office, help at events, facilitate support groups and more.


ACT for Mental Health Inc.

(408) 287-2640

ACT empowers and rehabilitates people who are socially, mentally, economically and/or situationally disadvantaged.

Able People Foundation

Able People Foundation works to empower people with disabilities by providing those who are physically challenged with mobility equipment.

Alum Rock Counseling Center

(408) 294-0500

Alum Rock Counseling Center provides behavioral health services to youth and their families throughout Santa Clara County.

Alzheimer’s Association of Northern California and Northern Nevada

(408) 372-9900

The Alzheimer’s Association works to eliminate Alzheimer’s disease through the advancement of research, provides support for all affected and aims to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

American Cancer Society

(800) 227-2345

ACS is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem.

American Diabetes Association

(408) 241-1922

The American Diabetes Association leads the fight against the deadly consequences of diabetes.

American Heart Association

(800) 242-8721

AHA aims to build healthier lives free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke.

American Red Cross

(877) 727-6771

The ARC prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Bay Area Women’s Sports Initiative

(408) 247-2544

BAWSI mobilizes the women’s sports community to engage, inspire and empower children who need us the most. Its programs focus on increasing resiliency in children living with adversity.

Blossom Birth & Family

(650) 321-2326

Blossom Birth & Family works to connect new and expectant families in the Bay Area with services, resources and support for a healthy, informed and confident pregnancy and parenting journey.

Books Aloud Inc.

(408) 808-2616

Books Aloud works to improve quality of life for the blind, visually impaired, and physically and learning disabled of all ages through its “Reading by Listening” program.

Breathe California of the Bay Area

(408) 998-5865

Breathe California of the Bay Area fights lung disease in all forms. They envision a world that promotes healthy lungs and a healthy environment. They strive to educate people on the pollutants in our cities and educate the community on how to prevent air pollution.

Cancer CAREpoint

(408) 402-6611

Cancer CAREpoint provides personalized counseling, assistance, resources and education to Silicon Valley cancer patients, survivors, families and caregivers.

Cancer Support Community San Francisco Bay Area

(925) 933-0107

CSC works to ensure that all people impacted by cancer are empowered by knowledge, strengthened by action and sustained by community.

Coda Alliance

(408) 282-8922

Coda Alliance provides practical skills and tools for people to plan and receive the care they want at the end of life.

Cops Care Cancer Foundation

(408) 337-2683

CCCF raises money for children who are battling cancer. The organization also works to help these children be as comfortable as possible while they are battling their illnesses by providing toys, clothing, school supplies and recreational therapy trips.

Corneal Dystrophy Foundation

(866) 807-8965

CDF provides education and support to people who suffer from corneal dystrophy, a group of rare hereditary eye disorders.

Deaf Counseling, Advocacy & Referral Agency

(510) 343-6670

DCARA advocates for the rights of full access to American Sign Language and English, education, employment and cultural identity.

Eating Disorders Resource Center

(408) 356-1212

EDRC works to increase awareness and understanding of eating disorders for the general public and for health professionals; to promote early diagnosis, effective treatment and recovery; and to advocate for mental health parity legislation and effective insurance coverage.


(408) 278-2000

Expandability (formerly TransAccess) helps youth and adults with disabilities achieve their goals through individualized assessments, career and job placement assistance, adaptive technology and more.

Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley

Family & Children Services works to build strong, safe and self-sufficient individuals, families and communities. It offers a range of innovative, accessible, and integrated programs and services addressing critical health and human services needs.

FIRST 5 Santa Clara County

(408) 260-3700

FIRST 5 supports the healthy development of children through age 5 and enriches the lives of their families and communities.

Health Trust

(408) 513-8700

The Health Trust works to advance wellness for all, especially the most vulnerable, in Silicon Valley. Focus areas include food and nutrition, chronic disease and housing.

Heart of Hope Asian American Hospice Care

(408) 986-8584

Heart of Hope provides physical, emotional, social and spiritual support to terminally ill Asian American patients and their family members throughout much of the Bay Area.

Healthier Kids Foundation Santa Clara County

(408) 564-5114

Healthier Kids Foundation is a health agency that provides children and those who love them with the education and tools they need to live a healthy life.

Hope Services

(408) 284-2850

Hope Services works to improve quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities by providing children’s services, after-school programs, day services, employment and job training, mental health services, senior services and community living services.

Hospice of the Valley

(408) 559-5600

Hospice of the Valley affirms dignity and hope for those facing serious illness by providing comfort through compassionate palliative, hospice and grief care.

Indian Health Center of Santa Clara Valley

(408) 445-3400

The Indian Health Center helps ensure the survival and healing of American Indians/Alaskan Natives by providing high quality, comprehensive health care and wellness services.

JW House

(408) 246-2224

Located on the campus of Kaiser Permanente Santa Clara Medical Center, JW House provides a warm, comfortable “home away from home” for families facing medical crises.

Latinas Contra Cancer

(408) 280-0811

Latinas Contra Cancer works to create an inclusive health care system that provides services to the underserved Latino population around issues of cancer.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

(408) 490-2666

LLS works to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

Lupus Foundation of Northern California

(408) 954-8600

The Lupus Foundation offers programs and services designed to educate and increase the knowledge of those affected by lupus, promote lupus awareness and support external lupus research efforts.

March of Dimes

March of Dimes works to improve the health of mothers and babies.

Morgan Autism Center

(408) 241-8161

The center helps children and adults with autism or other developmental disabilities to maximize their potential in a dignified and positive learning environment.

Mothers’ Milk Bank

(877) 375-6645

Mothers’ Milk Bank provides safe and processed breast milk for babies who are under the care of a health care professional.

National Alliance on Mental Illness Santa Clara County

(408) 453-0400

NAMI Santa Clara County helps people with mental illness and their families by providing support, education and advocacy; promoting research; improving services; and reducing stigma and discrimination.

National Brain Tumor Society

National Brain Tumor Society invests in, mobilizes and unites our community to discover a cure, deliver effective treatments, and advocate for patients and care partners.

Peninsula HealthCare Connection

(650) 853-0321

Peninsula HealthCare Connection promotes integrated primary and mental health care and intensive case management for homeless individuals or those at risk of becoming homeless in Santa Clara County, regardless of their ability to pay.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area

(650) 470-6000

Ronald McDonald House Charities Bay Area provides communities of support, access to medical care, and the healing power of family and home for critically ill children.

RotaCare Bay Area Inc.

(408) 379-8000

RotaCare provides free medical care in the Bay Area for those who have the greatest need with the least access.

School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County

(408) 284-2280

School Health Clinics provide high quality, affordable primary medical care for the low-income community.

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition

(408) 287-7259

Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition works to create a healthy community, environment and economy through bicycling for people who live, work or play in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties.

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center

(408) 894-9041

Silicon Valley Independent Living Center serves people with all types of disabilities by providing the tools and resources needed to live interdependently, and advocates for policies that ensure equal access and opportunity for all.

Sourcewise Community Resource Solutions

(408) 350-3200

Sourcewise works to provide adults and their caregivers the tools and services they need to effectively navigate their health and life options. While its resources are specialized to help older adults and older persons with disabilities, the organization strives to support any adult who requires assistance finding resources within Santa Clara County.

Special Olympics Northern California

(925) 944-8801

Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

VMC Foundation

(408) 885-5299

The VMC Foundation is the community fundraising arm for Santa Clara Valley Medical Center, which serves everyone, regardless of ability to pay.

Valle Monte League Inc.

(408) 278-8001

Valle Monte League is an all-volunteer group of women dedicated to raising funds that provide and promote better mental health in the community through mental health agencies.

Veggielution Community Farm

(408) 753-6705

Veggielution connects people from diverse backgrounds through food and farming to build community in East San Jose.

Via Services

(408) 243-7861

Via Services is dedicated to helping individuals with disabilities and special needs achieve greater self-sufficiency and lead richer lives.

Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired

(408) 295-4016

Vista Center empowers individuals who are blind or visually impaired to embrace life to the fullest through evaluation, counseling, education and training.​


  • Walk or bike to work

  • Donate your used eyeglasses.

  • Get an annual health check-up.

  • Sign up to be an organ donor.

  • Donate blood.


This Field Guide chapter was edited by Jaiden Lake.

Jaiden Lake is a student at Santa Teresa High School in San Jose and will graduate in 2023.

When she’s not editing the Field Guide, she likes to spend time dancing, binge watching TV shows and hanging out with her friends.

Jaiden enjoys volunteering because she loves to help others and is inspired to see the joy on their faces. She volunteers at her elementary school, where she works with students in the library and helps with events.