Volunteerism is big in Davis. There are dozens of service organizations serving a wide variety of needs.The following is an overview of some of the fraternal, social, service and other groups that are open to the public and serve the local community. Find the one that’s right for you, and make a difference.
The activities of many of the following organizations are announced in the Events or Briefly columns, or elsewhere in the pages of The Enterprise. Keep reading the paper, check the Internet, call information numbers and come to feel at home in the Davis community.
If you know of a group that was overlooked, or know of a new organization just starting up, send a news release to The Enterprise at email@example.com. We’ll include the information in one of our regular editions.
* Davis Kiwanis Club is known primarily for services to youth and community. The club meets weekly for lunch every Thursday at noon at Symposium Restaurant, 1620 E. Eighth Street in Davis. Formerly two clubs, The Kiwanis Club of Davis and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Davis, they merged in October 2010 to form one group. For more information, visit www.davis.kiwanisone.org.
* Soroptimist International, an organization for business and professional women, makes gifts to the community at large and especially encourages — financially and otherwise — outstanding young female athletes and women re-entering the job market or an academic field. Local residents have two choices: Soroptimist International of Davis meets Wednesdays at noon at the Hallmark Inn, 110 F Street, and Soroptimist International of Greater Davis meets on the first and third Wednesdays at 7 p.m. at FamiliesFirst, 2100 Fifth St. For more information, visit www.sidavis.org and www.soroptimistofgreaterdavis.org.
* Rotary International, with several Yolo County clubs, supports many local projects, with Rotarians often putting their own muscles to work to complete a building or other construction project that benefits the community.
To raise funds for its many local, national and international projects, Rotary puts on a popular barbecue each spring, drawing enthusiastic diners of all ages from all over town. For information about Rotary, visit www.rotaryclubofdavis.com.
* Another club that draws members from the academic, business and professional segments of the community is the Davis Host Lions Club, working on behalf of the visually impaired and hearing-impaired.
At one time, Davis Rotary, the Kiwanis clubs and the Lions clubs were strictly men’s groups. But today, women are welcomed into membership. The Kiwanis clubs were the first to begin admitting women in 1986, followed by Davis Rotary in the spring of 1987, and the Lions Club in 1988.
* Fraternal organizations are here in abundance for those who enjoy the rituals, fellowship and high personal standards found among members. The Masonic organizations, including Masons and Eastern Star members, are in the Yolo Masonic lodge at 1655 Da Vinci Court. For more information, call (530) 756-2766 or visit www.freemason.org.
* Davis is proud of its active Veterans of Foreign Wars chapter, which works to promote better benefits for veterans of military service. For more information, visit www.vfw.org.
* And the Odd Fellows Hall has long been the scene of potluck suppers, pancake breakfasts, card parties, bazaars and other fundraising events to support the community work of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and the Rebekahs. Meetings are held on the second Saturday of the month at 8:45 a.m. at the Odd Fellows Hall at 415 Second St. For more information, visit www.davislodge.org.
* Finding a fraternal alumni group is another way to quickly get acquainted in a new town. With numerous Greek organizations on the UC Davis campus, alumni of fraternities and sororities actively support the collegiate chapters and the national philanthropies of their groups. Funds raised for philanthropic purposes are used locally to support such efforts as medical research and patient services at the UCD Medical Center in Sacramento or other nearby institutions.
* Sutter Davis Hospital Auxiliary members offer direct and indirect services to the acute care, not-for-profit hospital and its patients. Members provide a variety of services to patients, from delivering flowers and brightening patients’ rooms, to helping the emergency department transport patients. Members staff patient areas, an information desk in the lobby, and a gift shop. They raise money to buy gifts for the hospital as well as to give scholarships to local students interested in the health care field. Some members have chalked up literally thousands of service hours over the years.
The hospital is at 2000 Sutter Place. For more information about the auxiliary, call (530) 759-7485 or visit www.sutterdavis.org/about/auxiliary.html
* Volunteers of the Woodland Memorial Hospital Foundation and its auxiliary perform similar functions as the Sutter auxiliary in those hospitals. For more information, call (530) 669-5576 or visit http://www.woodlandhealthcare.org/Who_We_Are/Volunteer_Services/050260.
* The Davis Chamber of Commerce is one of the most active groups in town, involving individuals from all facets of the business community. If you want to know what’s going on in town, call the Chamber at (530) 756-5160, drop by 604 Third St. during business hours or visit www.davischamber.com.
* One of the community’s oldest groups, University Farm Circle, was originally formed for women affiliated with UCD, but is now open to any woman interested in the university. UFC has monthly meetings, speakers and a wealth of special interest sections ranging from food to foreign languages. The Newcomers Section helps introduce new women to the school and town. For more information, visit www.universityfarmcircle.org.
* The Tremont Mite Society is the oldest organization in Davis. This social/church organization was founded in the 1860s by farm women in the Tremont area, southeast of Davis. They built a church that not only served as a church, but as a social hall to the farming community. The women contributed their biblical “widow’s mite” — nickels and dimes saved from their egg money — to accomplish the task.
The Westminster Presbyterian Church still stands on rural Tremont Road, and descendants of those pioneers meet to support restorative work on the building and its historic cemetery. A caretaker on the premises keeps watch over the grounds.
* Davis Volunteer Network is a new website that connects volunteers with volunteer organizations and opportunities. This is accomplished through an easy-to-use webpage that acts as a consolidated source for all volunteer opportunities in the community, including both on and off campus. In addition, additional support is provided for organizations by helping advertise any events needing volunteers through social media and tabling. For more information or to request volunteers, visit http://www.davisvolunteernetwork.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org
* Davis also is known for its many “friends,” such as Friends of the Davis Arboretum, Friends of Adult Day Health Care, Friends of the Davis Public Library, Friends of Yolo Hospice, Friends of Rutilio Grande and Friends of the Mondavi Center.
* Other organizations showing concern for people and animals are the Alternative Resources Center, SPCA, Yolo Wildlife Rescue, the Food Bank of Yolo County, Davis Community Meals, with its meals program and shelter, and the Elderly Nutrition Program (Meals on Wheels), which serves meals to homebound senior citizens and to seniors 60 years and older at the Davis Senior Center and throughout the county.
* Many nonprofit agencies focusing on human services have volunteer members serving on their boards and working actively on fund-raising, community education and other projects.
Some of the local nonprofit organizations that depend on volunteers are the Yolo County Chapter of the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society, Alcoholics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Alternative Recreation for Handicapped Persons, Citizens Who Care, CommuniCare Health Centers and Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Center.
* Others include Summer House and its Davis Summer House, FamiliesFirst, Progress Ranch Treatment Services for Children, Yolo Crisis Nursery, Yolo Hospice, Freedom From Hunger, Davis Religious Community for Sanctuary and the interdenominational Cal Aggie Christian Association.
* Yolo Family Service Agency‘s low-cost professional counseling and mediation services, offered in facilities in Davis and Woodland, are operated by a volunteer board of directors and supported by volunteer efforts. For more information, call (530) 662-2211 or visit www.yfsa.net.
* The same is true of Yolo Community Care Continuum, a network of services for mental health consumers and its auxiliary, Friends of Yolo Community Care Continuum. Working closely with YCCC is a client-advocate group, NAMI-Yolo County, which is part of a statewide and national organization. For more information, visit www.y3c.org.
* The mission of Friends of Allied Nonprofits is to benefit 12 mental-health agencies through its consignment shop, All Things Right & Relevant, and through R&R Thrift. For more information, visit www.rrconsignments.org.
* The Mental Health Association of Yolo County relies heavily on volunteers for its programs and office functions. It stresses mental health education, legislative monitoring and promotion of good mental health legislation. The association provides volunteer services to special consumer groups, such as children, single or bereaved persons and families with a member who has a mental illness. MHAYC has sponsored and coordinated a network of self-help groups covering a wide spectrum of needs. This self-help network has expanded to serve a large number of Northern California counties.
* Team Davis is a local non-profit organization established in 2006 to help enrich the lives of children and adults with developmental, cognitive and/or physical disabilities living in or near Davis. Team Davis sponsors athletic, social, cultural and recreational activities that help build physical skills, a sense of camaraderie, and a more fully integrated connection with the Davis community for our participants and their families and support staff. Weekly practices for several sports are held during the year, including basketball, track, swimming, golf, soccer, bocce ball and softball. Team Davis participates in Special Olympics’ tournaments with other teams from Northern California. There also are a number of weekly or one-time activities. Currently, 90 athletes from the Davis area participate in one or more Team Davis activity during the year.
For more information, visit its website at http://www.team-davis.org or email manager Robin Dewey at email@example.com
* Suicide Prevention of Yolo County is a nonprofit organization that has been providing 24-hour crisis intervention services for more than 35 years to the residents of Yolo County. For more information, call the Davis business line at (530) 756-7542 or visit www.groups.dcn.org/spyc.
* Davis also benefits from Pine Tree Gardens, a residential care home for adults with mental illness.
* A couple of organizations that encourage self-development and communication with others primarily through public speaking are the various local branches of the Toastmasters. Davis Town & Gown Toastmasters Club meets Tuesdays, 6 to 7:15 p.m. at Hattie Weber Museum, 445 C St. Guests are always welcome. For more information, visit www.davistownandgown.org.
* A couple of organizations that educate and support members include the Incest Survivors Speakers Bureau and La Leche League. La Leche League meets at 10 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month at 345 L St. in Davis. For more information on La Leche League, visit www.lllnorcal.org/groups/DavisCA.html.
* Yolo Adult Day Health Center provides support and information to family members of people with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, stroke or other brain impairment. For more information, call (530) 666-8828 or visit www.woodlandhealthcare.org/Medical_Services/Yolo_Adult_Day_Health_Center/index.htm.
* Senior Volunteer Peer Counseling of Yolo County is offered by the Department of Alcohol, Drug and Mental Health Services.
* A helping organization that began in Davis and serves the entire county is STEAC (Short-Term Emergency Aid Committee), staffed mostly by volunteers. STEAC sees that help is there when the situation doesn’t seem to fit any other agency or service.
STEAC, accepting referrals from established agencies, quietly and effectively provides aid without red tape in times of immediate need. STEAC volunteers maintain food and clothing closets, can arrange for temporary shelter and can provide transportation in case of a family crisis.
* Village Harvest utilizes residential fruit trees that homeowners invite the group to harvest, then donate the fruit to organizations that feed the hungry, such as STEAC, Davis Community Meals and Yolo County Food Bank. The group has harvested more than 37,000 pounds of fruit in 2011 and have over 400 volunteers in our data base. For more information, visit http://villageharvest.org/davis or call Joe and Linda Schwartz at (530) 759-9792 or Greg and Pam Gibbs at (530) 0758-6797
Many churches, businesses and individuals contribute items for a large number of food baskets STEAC fills each Christmas, but volunteers stress that such donations are needed all year long.
Money is welcome, too, because although STEAC receives funds from United Way, much of the expense is absorbed by the organization’s volunteers. To learn how you or your organization can be involved, call (530) 758-8435 or visit www.steac.org.
* Davis has many organizations for youths, including 4-H clubs, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, among others. There are plenty of young people who want to be involved in these activities — the problem is finding enough leaders.
* Senior citizens keep the Davis Senior Center, 646 A St., jumping, with an amazing number of fun activities, excursions, potluck parties and dances. The center also serves as a resource center for seniors, providing information about transportation, health and more. For more information, call (530) 757-5696 or visit www.cityofdavis.org/cs/seniors.
* People with a special talent or hobby might want to share it with patients at one of the two convalescent hospitals in Davis. Volunteers are always needed at Sierra Health Care Convalescent Hospital and Courtyard Health Care Center for all kinds of help and support. Call Sierra Health Care at (530) 756-4900 and ask for the activities director; or call Courtyard Health Care Center at (530) 756-1800 and ask for the activities director.
* For Yolo County history buffs there is the Yolo County Historical Society, Yolo County Museum Association, Woodland Opera House Association, Friends of the Yolo County Archives and other groups that keep the county’s history alive. Loosely tying these groups together is the informal Yolo History Network. Anyone interested in history is invited to join one or all of these organizations.
* While you’re hitting the books, why not drop by the Friends of the Davis Public Library? This groups helps to gather donations for the library, organizes six book sales every year and hosts perpetual book sales in the lobby. For more information, visit www.davislibraryfriends.org or call Arlene Snyder at (530) 756-2299.
* The Sierra Club has an active membership here — with one of the largest branches in California. The Yolo Audubon Society also is based in Davis.
There may or may not be an organization for your particular interest or hobby. If there isn’t, embrace the action-oriented spirit of Davis and start your own! The Enterprise would be proud to help you publicize your new organization.