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California Volunteers: A Vital New Program for Our Time

May 22, 2020

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The word Volunteers written across a highway.

In a previous blog post, I shared important information regarding Santa Barbara and Montecito's non-profit organizations in need of financial help to continue their life-saving work during the coronavirus pandemic. Today, I want to share information about California Volunteers, a new volunteer initiative and website designed to connect California residents who are looking to give back through volunteer opportunities in communities and across the State, including in Santa Barbara and Montecito.

The new website,, provides volunteer options, including working at food banks, donating blood, delivering meals, or joining the California Health Corps. To get started: Join!.  Watch this news report from KSBY for more information.

About #CaliforniansForAll

Blue CA Volunteers poster listing opportunities

click on poster to open

#CaliforniansForAll is dedicated to engaging Californians in service through volunteer and civic actions designed to tackle our State’s pressing challenges; especially now during the COVID-19 crisis. There are more than 80 programs to choose from, including ones designed to lift up our communities in Santa Barbara and Montecito.

TheAmericiCorps portfolio of programs, administered by California Volunteers, are specifically designed to provide critical services to more than 160,000 Californians annually. According to Governor Gavin Newsom, anyone interested in helping out will be matched to an opportunity based on their expressed interests in their local community.

"Rather than you initiating your interest, we want to make sure we engage with you," Newsom said, adding that organizers would continue two-way conversations with potential volunteers and connect weekly through email. From our zoomers to our boomers, we want you to volunteer.”

Local California Volunteers Opportunities

Here are some of the ways Santa Barbara and Montecito residents can volunteer to help:

  • Support Food Banks & Shelters
    Food banks are at the front lines keeping vulnerable Californians connected to food and they need your help. Local food banks are in great need of volunteers, food donations, and funds. The Foodbank of Santa Barbara County is one of California’s best!
  • Donate Blood
    Blood donation is essential, especially amid the COVID-19 outbreak, so residents are urged to make an appointment today. Santa Barbara and Central Coast blood donations are coordinated via the Vitalant website.
  • Deliver Meals to Seniors in Need
    We all know that vulnerable, older adults are at greatest risk amid COVID-19. Now is the time to help keep them safe and cared for by delivering meals to their doors. Learn how to become a volunteer at Santa Barbara Meals on Wheels. Plus, after we recover from COVID-19, you might want to continue your valuable volunteer work with them.
  • Check-in on Neighbors
    Speaking of vulnerable older adults, now, more than ever, it is important to do regular safety checks with your senior neighbors. You don’t even have to leave your home to do this. Just call, text or video chat with them.
  • Join the California Health Corps
    California is determined to be prepared should there be an increase in the number of people who urgently need health care due to the COVID-19 outbreak. To meet this possibility, Governor Newsom is calling on healthcare professionals to join the California Health Corps.
  • Sign up to help at one of the many Volunteer Centers
    Volunteer Centers connect volunteers to nonprofits and public agencies that need help. Here’s a list of all California Volunteers Centers, with links to their websites.

  • Make Face Coverings
    Simple face coverings can easily be made at home. If you are good with a sewing machine and have some extra fabric, why not use your creativity to help others? Here are the instructions from the CDC on how to safely make cloth face coverings.

Become a “Disease Detective”

Our local Public Health Department is also on the lookout for volunteers, specifically for contact tracers, nurses, investigators, interviewers, drivers, and outreach workers. All work will be performed both remotely and within specific communities. Clinical degrees are needed for some positions, and an ability to speak languages other than English in a boon in some types of participation.

“Whether you have a background in a particular health-related field or you’re looking for a way to serve your community, Santa Barbara County needs you,” said Van Do-Reynoso, who heads up the county’s Public Health Department.

In a recent blog, I shared details about Public Health’s expanded mass screening that are currently ongoing in Santa Barbara County. Nearly 2,000 people are tested every day. That is where the work of public health “disease detectives” comes into play. These volunteers are what prevent COVID-19 from exploding out of bounds.

Are any of the California Volunteers programs the final answer when it comes to the public health and economic crisis we face at this moment? Sadly, the answer is no. But, California is leading the way in an important part of an answer. And that part is to volunteer and work together. And I, for one, feel so blessed to live in a state that celebrates volunteerism.  

If you want to stay up-to-date on COVID-19-related news and events locally, as well as on real estate news and more, subscribe to my Blog via the form on the righthand sidebar on this page. Of course, I’m also here to help any of my fellow Californians find a new home in a Santa Barbara area community or neighborhood. Just give me a call at (805) 886-9378, or drop me an email at

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Client Reviews

“Cristal is a pleasure to work with! Her knowledge of the local real estate market coupled with her amazing listening skills resulted in her showing us an array of homes that were all excellent choices. Her low-pressure patient attitude made us feel extremely comfortable with the whole process. I cannot recommend her highly enough.”

- M.F.

“Cristal Clarke is #1 in her field - and you don't become #1 by luck. Cristal works harder, and longer, and with more charm and patience than any real estate agent I have ever worked with in the past; her calendar has no weekend, her days have no clocks, her only concern is selling your property as soon as possible and for the best price on the market. Am I a fan? You bet!”

- P.B.

“We have used Cristal now several times and cannot express how grateful we are for her expertise, dedication, and unwavering support throughout the entire home-buying process. Cristal is knowledgeable, patient and attentive. Her attention to detail is remarkable, and she consistently went above and beyond to provide us with all the information and resources we needed to make informed decisions. Cristal is a skillful negotiator and advocate. She can navigate complex negotiations with professionalism and grace and felt like a true partner to us in the home-buying process. Cristal has a genuine passion for real estate and a deep commitment to her clients' satisfaction. I cannot speak highly enough of Cristal and her exceptional service. She is a true expert in her field and her dedication to excellence, combined with unwavering support is the reason we choose to work with her for all our real estate buying needs.”

- T.C.

“Cristal is a top-notch realtor who sold my home before it ever went on the market. I had two competing offers that enabled me to get top dollar for my home. Not only is Cristal superb but her team is extraordinary. I cannot say enough about Cristal and her team. They are simply phenomenal, the consummate professionals, who took care of every possible detail, making the sale and transition period, smooth from our end. They are also lovely, caring people, who knew all the right professionals, to get the job done. Thank you, everyone!”

- D.R.

“I could list lots of cool adjectives to describe Cristal. All good by the way. But, that is not why I or anyone should hire Cristal. My reason for hiring her, which proved to be correct, is very simple. She got the job done. And, she does it time and time again and with zero issues. And, that is why she is one of the top agents in the country. End of subject. ”

- M.A.

“Working with Cristal was a complete pleasure. Cristal was extremely patient with us as we evaluated nearly 2 dozen homes over a span of 2 years. Her knowledge of the market is unmatched. Cristal provided us with exceptional counsel as we evaluated opportunities and negotiated pricing. The closing process was handled thoroughly and efficiently. We could not be happier with our purchase and even more happy to now call Cristal our friend.”

- D.K.

“Cristal Clarke has conducted numerous real estate transactions for me beginning 13 years ago with the purchase of a Lemon Ranch. She has handled both large and small purchases and sales with equal dedication. As a negotiator, you can’t find anyone better. Her transactions are always conducted in the most appropriate and professional manner. Cristal has considerable knowledge of the Santa Barbara market.”

- S.N. Decker Ph.D.

“Living in Europe, we were to say the least, unaccustomed to the nuances of Real Estate acquisition in California and Cristal steered us through the process with absolute professionalism and personal attention to detail at every turn. Her in-depth knowledge of the market place combined with enthusiasm and drive was the only reason we secured the property of our dreams and will be forever grateful. If you are looking for personal discrete and private representation of the highest quality we suggest you look no further than Cristal Clarke.”

- Johan and Paula van den Berg

“Cristal is very straightforward, cheerful, helpful, professional and trustworthy….we felt very lucky to work with her.”

- John and Lacey Williams

“After considering our many choices, we are grateful it was Cristal Clarke of Sotheby’s International who represented the sale of our Montecito cottage. We are familiar with Cristal’s reputation of hard work and dedication to clients, but it was her attention to detail that made our experience so positive. She offered suggestions for staging the property, worked in harmony with potential buyers and was even able to secure back up offers. The sale of our cottage was completed much sooner than we expected, due in great part to Cristal’s professional skills and support. We highly recommend Cristal as a first choice for anyone needing representation with real estate.”

- Michael & Nancy Lee

“Our experience in working with Cristal Clarke resulted in the successful and discrete acquisition of a property which was not yet on the open market. Her knowledge of the Montecito/Santa Barbara area and vast expertise blended with her passion for real estate and architecture, provided us with the very highest level of professionalism and personalized services. Cristal exhibited a rare combination of excellent communications, attention to detail, creativity and patience.”

- Richard and Catherine Frinier

“Cristal really breaks the mold. She knows every nook and cranny of this real estate market, understands value, and follows up on everything, all the time. She was incredibly patient with our two year quest to find the perfect house. Every house hunting trip from across the country was well planned, and our time was never wasted. On top of her professionalism and expertise, she is delightful to spend time with. We are thrilled with the home we purchased, and grateful to Cristal for so wisely advising us through this process, right through to the close and beyond.”

- Laurie Siegel

“We met Cristal first in the course of renting a winter home (for three years), then buying a house using her as our agent. She was amazingly good at listening to our wants and showing us homes that fit our needs. Her mastery of the paperwork was perfect. Most importantly, there was never a situation where we doubted her straightforwardness or integrity. If we do another real estate transaction in Montecito (which I doubt, we’re happy with what we purchased), without question we’d use Cristal again.”

- Ken Saffir

“Susan and I just want to thank you for your efforts in the sale of our home. You are really quite amazing. Your competence, persistence, optimism and humor made the entire process effortless. Every problem that arose, you somehow fixed; any obstacle, you overcame. We have bought and sold many homes. It has never been such a painless and enjoyable process!”

- Michael & Susan Marquart

“A little something about “our” realtor, Cristal Clarke. My wife and I came to Santa Barbara about fifteen years ago looking for a seasonal home from which to enjoy the weather and amenities of the central coast. Being in the real estate business myself I was familiar with agents and brokers so entered the market with open eyes. We “flipped” a few houses in the early years, dealing with various agents and finally ended up in Montecito. That’s when good fortune put us together with Cristal. To say we were impressed is to put it mildly. Cristal really knows the market. She is familiar with the area, its history and trends. When we have questions about a particular property she either has the answers immediately or gets back to us by phone or email. There is no waiting or wondering with Cristal. She is an agent who is “on top of it.” Her recommendations as to price points, contractors, inspectors and title agents have proven to be exceptional, showing great insight and the highest professional standards. We consider ourselves exceedingly fortunate to say that Cristal Clarke is our realtor and would recommend her services to any serious buyer or seller.”

- Rob & Judi Kelch