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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Throughout the program, we will focus on these FOUR MAIN PILLARS:

Identity Development

You will discover a deeper sense of your identity and the identities of others through exercises that are focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Leadership Development

You will practice your leadership skills alongside your peers in a cohort community, where each person feels a sense of belonging.

Community Awareness

You will learn about community issues in the local area and what is being done to address them. You will be able to apply the skills you have learned at your placement site.

Wellness Support

You will get connected to wellness tools and resources that will help you, as well as those around you.

After each weekly group session, you will be able to directly apply the skills you have learned at your service-learning site. 


Impact Makers Logo

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 will 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 will 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 will uncover the tools needed to support both themselves and others.


  • Parent/Student Information Night: Tuesday, Sep. 13, 2022
  • Week 1 – Fall 2022 Cohort Begins: Week of Sep. 26-30, 2022
  • Week 12 – Fall 2022 Cohort Ends: Week of Dec. 12-16, 2022
For twelve weeks, participants will attend weekly group sessions with on Tuesdays from 4:00 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. at the Volunteer Center in Torrance and then complete three additional hours of volunteer service at a service-learning placement site on one additional weekday evening.   


  • 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: Tuesday, September. 6, 2022

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, will conclude with a celebration on August 15. 

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. 

Stay connected.
Together we can touch hearts and open minds.

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