If it feels like forever ago that you made and broke that New Year's resolution, get on track with a new goal. Instead of focusing your efforts on yourself (getting a six-pack isn't the most noble goal, anyway), put your energy into the community. We've rounded up some lesser-known volunteer opportunities so you can help our big, bustling city and the wide-open spaces that surround it.

Slide Ranch

via Website


It turns out that 134 acres require a bit of upkeep and maintenance. It’s all worth it when the team at Slide Ranch helps kids connect with food, farming and the environment through overnight programs, school field trips, toddler days and a whole lot more. Get outside and help tend to the garden, muck barns, mend fences and run events. If you prefer indoor life, put your tech, media or administrative skills to use in the office.

2025 Shoreline Hwy., Muir Beach. 415-381-6155; slideranch.org

 

Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary

via Facebook


This small animal sanctuary in the San Joaquin Valley rescues and rehabilitates abused, abandoned and neglected animals, with a focus on birds and rabbits. Bond with curious turkeys and strutting chickens, playful goats and muddy-snouted pigs. If you can provide a good home, many animals are adoptable, including dogs and bunnies. And if getting out to Stockton reguarly isn't in the cards for you, support the sanctuary by joining events like the Bunny Hop 6k/10k here in San Francisco on April 1 — online registration closes tomorrow.

14741 S. Wing Levee Rd.Stockton. 209-244-7174; Facebook

 

826 Valencia

via Facebook. Photo by Daniel Berberi


Best-selling author Dave Eggers' organization, which has chapters nationwide, helps under-resourced kids and teens strengthen their creative-writing skills. The many ways to volunteer fit just about any schedule. You can work one-on-one with kids in after-school or weekend programs, support teachers in classrooms, do behind-the-scenes stuff if tutoring isn't your thing and more. For more on the vision and mission of 826, see Dave Eggers' 2008 talk when he accepted a TED Prize. 

826 Valencia St., Mission, San Francisco. 415-642-5905; 826valencia.org

 

Street Soccer USA

via Facebook


Communication, respect, emotional intelligence. Not only are they key components to success, they're also qualities you’ll develop through sports. Street Soccer USA gives kids an even playing field to learn the world’s game, fulfilling a mission to fight poverty and end homelessness. You can train to be a coach, volunteer at events or play in leagues at the first Street Soccer USA facility, with proceeds benefiting the programs.

701 Oak St., San Francisco. 415-857-5339; streetsoccerusa.org

 

Bay Area Ridge Trail

via Facebook


Put on your work gloves, jeans and boots, and help blaze a trail, literally — by keeping the Bay Area Ridge Trail safe, sturdy and clear for bikers and hikers. (You can be one of those hikers or bikers on April 22 by registering for the Ridge to Bridge fundraising event.) If you prefer to appreciate the outdoors while staying clean, you can put your professional skills to use by volunteering as a copywriter, photographer, IT specialist and more. For even more ways to maintain our green spaces, check out the many volunteer opportunities within the Presidio.


By Mike Weiss

San Francisco-based marketer Mike Weiss has an undying love for sports, film photography and anything with gin. He's a firm believer that the West Coast is the best coast. Find him on Twitter @mikeini.