Giving Youth the Tools for Well-Being

Being a trusted and constant resource for youth to grow in well-being, empathy and resilience is a priority for us at the Volunteer Center. It is consistent with our Engaging Hearts & Minds (EH&M) mandate and our efforts to address challenges in the lives of young people, including mental health. Whether youth reach out because they need support or want to help others, we host programs that provide valuable life skills, peer interaction, and a sense of authentic connection. We also offer scholarships that reward young people for resilience and achievement.

We construct our teen programs in consultation with both youth and experts. These programs offer meaningful experiences that employ evidence-based approaches from service-learning to social and emotional education models.

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Impact Makers – Building Skills for Life

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Impact Makers – Building Skills for Life is a program to help youth gain a deeper understanding of themselves and the world around them. In this 12-week program, participants learn about the issues facing our local community and the support resources that are in place to help address them. Through an immersive service-learning experience, youth have the opportunity to serve the community and empathize with the experiences of others. Together with the caring Impact Maker team and fellow peers, they uncover the tools needed to support both themselves and others.


  • Parent/Student Information Night: Wednesday, February 15, 2023
  • Week 1 – Spring 2023 Cohort Begins: Week of February 27 – March 3, 2023
  • Week 12 – Spring 2023 Cohort Ends: Week of May 15-19, 2023
For 12 weeks, participants attend weekly group sessions on Wednesdays from 4:00pm-6:30pm at allcove Beach Cities in Redondo Beach and then complete 2-3 additional hours/week of volunteer service at a service-learning placement site on an additional weekday.    


  • Must be a resident of California and must live in the South Bay, Harbor, or Long Beach areas
  • Must be a high school student for the 2022-2023 academic year
  • Must be available to attend all weekly group sessions and service-learning commitments

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Four Main Pillars Impact Makers UPDATED

Scholarship Program

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Each year, the Volunteer Center awards scholarships to local graduating seniors. Recipients have demonstrated financial need and a commitment to academic endeavors, while simultaneously serving their communities and overcoming personal adversity. Our first scholarship fund was founded by a generous endowment gift made by the late Ev Durfee, longtime Volunteer Center supporter and Board member, in 1988. 

This year, five Durfee Family scholarships for $2,000 were awarded to help students attending college in Fall of 2022. Funds will assist with the cost of classes, books, and other materials. The next application period will be spring semester of 2023. Application instructions will be posted here at that time.

Connect Program 

To address the unique set of societal and mental health challenges faced by today’s youth, during COVID, we launched Connect – a five-week program designed to help teens from 13-18 years of age manage stress, build resilience, and enhance social and emotional well-being. The program was led by licensed facilitators and therapists from a group led by Macy Grim, M.S., LPCC, who engaged with Connect groups in person or via Zoom. The teens’ caregivers are also engaged in the program, attending a one-time session at the outset and receiving regular email updates and discussion guides. Upon program completion, the Volunteer Center awarded the teens with a certificate that can be cited on resumes or used for college applications.

Through Connect, participating teens:

  • Learned more about themselves
  • Built new skills
  • Relaxed and managed stress
  • Expressed themselves freely
  • Listened to others
  • Practiced empathy
  • Got involved in volunteer service
  • Had fun!
connect program

Our latest Connect group, offered in partnership with the Gardena-Carson YMCA and open to students in the area, concluded summer 2022.

Based on feedback and interests from local youth, the benefits and elements of this program are now included in our upcoming Impact Makers Building Skills for Life program. You can learn more and apply above. 

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Together we can touch hearts and open minds.

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