Simple Service: Participate in a Community Service Day

Service Project: Participate in a community service project  

Prep time: None

Cost: Free

Duration: Totally up to you!

Supplies: Gloves, garbage bags, tongs (optional), water and sunscreen

Lesson(s) learned: By helping with much needed projects in your community you help the community a better place for not only yourself but all the members of your community!  

How we did it:

Guess what? Your local community wants and needs your support. Don’t think of this as yet another thing to add to your never-ending, long checklist. Our family has participated in over 30 community projects and, I promise, we enjoyed every single one. Sometimes we came up with our own little project and sometimes we found an organization doing something good for the community and helped them out. There is one event though, that we mark our calendars for (almost a year in advance!).

Every year, our extended community in Folsom, California, comes together for Folsom Community Service Day. As their website,  http://folsomcommunityservice.org/, states, “The Folsom community is coming together again to plan …Folsom’s largest day of volunteerism.  Community Service Day mobilizes thousands of volunteers of all ages and interests to complete projects throughout Folsom that will have a lasting impact in the community.  The effort is organized by the City of Folsom and numerous Folsom businesses and nonprofits.  Our goal is to complete more than 40 single day projects that benefit diverse segments of the community and assist those in need.  Join us and help making a positive, lasting impact in Folsom! “

This year was their 5th annual event and it’s amazing to see how quickly it has grown. In 2015 over 1,750 volunteers completed 27 different projects. In 2016, they had over 2,500 complete 35 different projects including; Folsom Lake Cleanup, Folsom High School Beautification, BrickDreams Lego Sorting Event, and Folsom Zoo Pasture Exhibit Improvement. This year, over 3,000 volunteers came out and tackled over 40 projects! The numerous projects included things like sanitizing toys and cleaning preschools at the Community Center, Sports Complex and Hinkle Creek Nature Center as well as building raised beds, installing irrigation and painting a mural at the garden behind the Community Center (which is used by the preschool and Zoo Sanctuary). It was inspiring to see that may people come together to accomplish some great things for our community.

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Addie and I talk frequently about making conscious choices that help to protect our environment and conserve resources. We already do a lot at home to conserve resources and protect our environment but I like to encourage Addie to go out into our community and contribute in some way. That’s why we always chose the Folsom Lake Cleanup project on Folsom’s Community Service Day. This is a super easy service idea that involves the whole family. Simply bring some gloves and bags out to your favorite part of a nearby lake and pick up anything that could damage the lake and surrounding waterways. Make a contest out of it and see who can find the most unique piece of garbage. Addie had her buddies, Jason, Aubrey, Brendan, Jack, Finn, Dylan, Will, Jeren, and Brayden help her tackle the trash.

Tip: Make sure you look at the garbage before you allow your child to pick it up. Also, we live in an area that has rattlesnakes so I scanned for those as well.

While the children were picking up trash, we were talking to them about how easy it is to accidently litter. If your garbage can is not properly closed, your trash could accidently blow out of the can and down the street. Also, a strong gust of wind can blow paper napkins off of a restaurant table. So many things can happen that we don’t intend on and we can inadvertently litter and that litter can end up in the lake! Yuck!

Jason, Brendan, Aubrey and Jack listening to the pre-event instructions. 

Jason, Brendan, Aubrey and Jack listening to the pre-event instructions. 

Brayden, Jeren and Addie searching for trash. 

Brayden, Jeren and Addie searching for trash. 

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Aubrey's gloves are bigger than she is but she's not letting that slow her down!

Aubrey's gloves are bigger than she is but she's not letting that slow her down!

Addie won the prize for picking up the smallest piece of garbage. 

Addie won the prize for picking up the smallest piece of garbage. 

Jack and Jason even looked for trash IN the water!

Jack and Jason even looked for trash IN the water!

We found all kinds of interesting items....

We found all kinds of interesting items....

Post clean-up picture with as many kids as we could corrale. 

Post clean-up picture with as many kids as we could corrale. 

To find an organized project in your area, try searching the internet for, “community service day” along with the name of your town/city. I experimented with searching for an organized community service day in other cities and was happy to see that Folsom isn’t the only place with this great idea.

We loved doing something positive for our environment and our community We enjoy the beauty of our environment and now other members of our community can enjoy it that much more.

I encourage you to challenge your children to find ways to make sustainable changes so that their efforts go beyond just one day a year. Believe me, the entire family will enjoy it!

Have fun participating in helping your community!