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Friday, Jun 21, 2024

Plugging In

I am often approached by newcomers—and even those who have been here for a while—looking for ways to get more connected to Orange County.

Our county is a vibrant place with many opportunities to get involved and give back. But finding opportunities that are right for you or your family can present a challenge.

Fortunately, there are several resources to help local residents dial into the best of what’s happening in OC and how they can help.

Whether you’d like to reach out to someone in need, experience local arts or apply your business knowledge for good, these resources will help you plug into Orange County in a meaningful way:

n OneOC (formerly Volunteer Center Orange County) has been connecting local residents with nonprofits in need of time and talent for more than 50 years. This organization offers unique and meaningful opportunities for individuals, families and businesses to give back.

OneOC’s online database holds more than 2,000 distinct volunteer opportunities that can be filtered according to your areas of interest—from health and wellness to youth mentoring, the environment or animal welfare. This extensive catalog of opportunities to make a difference is just one service offered by OneOC.

OneOC also invites local families to experience the joy of volunteering together through the Family Service Team, which meets monthly from June through December at nonprofits around the county.

Through the Family Service Team, parents and children enjoy working together to benefit important causes while learning about critical needs in our community.

Family Service Teams have packed sack lunches and emergency supply kits for homeless children at Someone Cares Soup Kitchen and the Orange County Rescue Mission, made blankets for children at Children’s Hospital of Orange County and planted native seedlings for distribution to local elementary schools at Inside the Outdoors in Silverado Canyon.

To learn more about OneOC’s programs and resources, visit OneOC.org.

• SparkOC.com was created to connect locals to a wide array of performing, visual and literary arts taking place right in our backyard.

The site, launched by Arts Orange County and the Orange County Community Foundation in 2009, includes listings of more than 1,000 events, workshops and festivals throughout the county.

The listings encompass everything from world-class symphony performances to neighborhood community theater.

Many of the offerings are inexpensive or free.

So if you’re looking for a way to get inspired and experience the local arts scene, visit SparkOC.com.

• Executive Coaches of Orange County allows experienced executives to make a significant contribution to our community by mentoring a nonprofit leader.

Executive Coaches matches nonprofit executives with business leaders who provide coaching and mentorship to help them further the mission of their organization using proven business and management principles.

To learn more about Executive Coaches or to apply to be a mentor, visit ECofOC.org.

I encourage you to check out these resources and find your way to plug into OC. An experience that will enrich both you and your community awaits.

Hoss is president of the Orange County Community Foundation, which works with donors to coordinate giving to nonprofits.

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