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Marin Matters: 'Tis the Season for Giving

Something about the holiday season makes us more inclined to open our hearts and wallets. Here are a few ways to give back and get involved with nonprofits making a difference year-round.

Give Back


Nearly 33 percent of young adults in their 20s and early 30s in the Bay Area still live at with their parents due to a lack of a reasonable income to support themselves. Fairfax-based nonprofit Launch aims to get more young people off Mom and Dad’s couch and into fulfilling jobs with its jumpstart program for millennial workers, especially those lacking training or an advanced degree. The comprehensive strategy includes resume help, job search and salary negotiation coaching, business apparel and job etiquette advice plus plenty of old fashioned moral support. launch.five4five.org


With a focus on compassion, one of Catholic Charities USA’s numerous missions centers on reuniting migrant children who have been separated from their families. It also offers services to immigrants and refugees, including housing and financial assistance, language classes and employment counseling to help them adjust to their new lives in the U.S. catholiccharitiesusa.org


Find a home for that gently used set of dishes in your garage by signing up as a donor with Bay Area-based Grateful Gatherings, a volunteer non-profit that collects much-needed furniture and other home items for local families who are recovering from homelessness. Because the organization doesn’t have storage facilities, it asks those who wish to help sign up for alerts that provide details on specific items in need. gratefulgatherings.org


As the only service of its kind in Sonoma County, The Living Room is a safe haven for at-risk and homeless women and children during the day when the shelters are closed — offering a place to relax, eat breakfast and lunch and learn new skills toward independence. 85 percent of its financial support comes from the community. thelivingroomsc.org


Get Involved


December is the season for giving. Adopt a Family of Marin’s annual holiday giving program pairs donors with Marin families in need. The families put together a wish list, and the donors purchase and wrap items on the list. Each family also receives a gift card from a local grocery store to help them put together holiday meals. For many Marin families, this program is the sole source of their gifts and food during the season. adoptafamily.org


Marin native and real estate agent Nick Cooper is the founder of Home for a Home, a nonprofit driven by a philosophy that having proper, safe housing can be the catalyst for dramatic life improvements. It solicits volunteers from the Bay Area real estate community and beyond to construct homes for families in third world countries. Currently the organization is helping to build homes in Guatemala. homeforahome.org


Change the life of a child by participating in a surgical mission trip through the Northern California chapter of Healing the Children, led by Dr. Evan Ransom. They are looking for medical volunteers to be part of the team that will travel to Peru in April 2019 and perform free surgeries to fix cleft palates and other maladies. They need nurses, operating room technicians, support staff, pediatricians, dentists, anesthesiologists and speech therapists. htcnorcal.org


Enjoy the art of gift wrapping? Support Hospice by the Bay by volunteering for its annual Holiday Gift Wrap fundraiser, beginning late November until Christmas Eve at the Corte Madera Town Center and Book Passage, Corte Madera. All wrapping services are free, with donations to Hospice’s compassionate care programs happily accepted. Sign up for gift wrapping, or for one of its ongoing volunteer positions, at hospicebythebay.org


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