April is National Volunteer Month in the United States. National Volunteer Month is dedicated to promoting and celebrating volunteerism. With most of the nation experiencing warmer temperatures, it’s the perfect time for families to spend time together giving back to their community outdoors. Giving back with your family makes the experience that much more valuable. Whether you have a green thumb or just love spending time outside, here are some ideas for volunteering outdoors with your family:
Pick Up In The Park
The US is home to some of the most amazing local and state parks. Park employees and rangers work very hard throughout the year to provide enriching and safe experiences; however, volunteers often pitch in for cleanups, hiking, and trail maintenance. Statistics show that three out of four people admit to littering in the last five years. Spend the weekend with your family embarking on a volunteer clean-up mission with your local park. Log onto Volunteer.com to see a list of parks nearby where you and your family can spend time together improving the environment.
Watch this video on Catie’s Classroom to see what a day picking up in the park may look like!
Take Time To Plant Trees
Invite your friends and family to improve the quality of life in your community with tree planting! Tree planting has many benefits which include controlling air pollution levels, improving the aesthetics of a community, and reducing stormwater runoff. Treepeople.org offers multiple volunteer activities for families such as adoption and forest restoration events, planting trees in low-income communities, and other ways to get your hands in the dirt. While Treepeople is based in Los Angeles, there is a link on the site that will take you to other tree planting initiatives across the United States.
To see the process and benefits of tree-planting, watch this video.
Hammer from the Heart: Habitat for Humanity
Fresh air, sun shining, the sounds of hammering in the background . . . Sounds like the perfect day of volunteering with Habitat for Humanity! Habitat for Humanity helps people repair and build homes and improve neighborhoods. Habitat.com provides an extensive dropdown list of volunteer opportunities available within your own community. This weekend, use your time and service to build homes and build hope with your family.
Want to learn more about Habitat For Humanity?
The Carpenter’s Gift is a children’s book written by David Rubel in collaboration with Habitat for Humanity and illustrated by Jim LaMarche that shares the origin of Habitat for Humanity and the positive impact it has had for many years. The book is available on the Habitat for Humanity Website.
Volunteer in a Victory Garden
During World War II, Victory Gardens were planted by families in the United States to help prevent a food shortage. Now many communities have their own community gardens. Community gardens are run and managed by a community for its own food consumption. These gardens are typically found in low-income neighborhoods. Expensive fruits and vegetables can be cost-prohibitive for low–income families who live in food deserts (areas without access to grocery stores). Community gardens provide residents the opportunity to grow their own fruits and vegetables, increasing access and affordability. Volunteers are always appreciated and it is a wonderful way to get your hands dirty with your family for a great cause!
Want to find local community gardens around you? The gardening channel can help you with your search!
Interested in starting your own community garden? Here’s how to get started!
Organize a Neighborhood Clean-Up
While we have listed some of the ways you can give back/volunteer outside locally, your family can volunteer right in your own backyard and help organize a neighborhood clean-up. A neighborhood clean-up initiative creates a sense of community, brings people together, and builds pride among the residents of a neighborhood. Not only does it help to clean and revitalize an area, but also, residents leave a neighborhood cleanup with a greater sense of purpose, friendship, and unity. National Geographic Kids provides the steps to take to get started!
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Learn more about giving back as a family through our Creation Care for Kids series and Minno Life Guide!