Plan a Volunteer Project

If you see a need in the neighborhood, maybe you can organize your own team of volunteers to tackle it. Organize a neighborhood cleanup. Plan a tree planting day.

For example, members of a Leadership Miami team (Leadership Miami is a volunteer program through the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce) decided to raise $59,000 to build a new playground at a Little Havana school. The team, which called itself the Miami Magic Makers, raised the funds they needed and helped install new swings, money bars and slide for Citrus Grove Elementary School.

Volunteering in the edible garden

The playground was just one part of their Health & Wellness Initiative. Together with the school’s teachers they also planted a vegetable garden to accompany classes on nutrition and healthy lifestyles.

The garden later became part of the Edible Garden Program of The Education Fund.

They celebrated their hard work during a Field Day at Citrus Grove Elementary School. The fun and educational activities for the students included demonstrations of healthy food preparation and tastings with Short Chef and Sushi Maki, fresh fruit juice making, planting in the vegetable garden beds, Zumba, mural painting, pitching practice with help from Marlins staff volunteers, volleyball skills presented by the FIU volleyball coaches and much more.

As the top photo (credit: neox image) shows, muralists Leo Castaneda and Jacob Cordero engaged kids in the creation of the the art. Castaneda’s mural is the school cafeteria; Cordero’s mural can be seen by the playground.

Imagine what you and others can do if you have the idea and dedication — and a community need that you can help meet. You don’t always have to volunteer for an already existing nonprofit (although we encourage you to check around first to see if there’s already an organization that’s doing work you’re interested in). And you don’t need to start a nonprofit in order to do a volunteer project.

Organizing a volunteer project is also a terrific way to make new friends, meet neighbors and get to know the neighborhood itself. Often, local businesses will donate coffee, pastries and supplies to help with efforts like cleanups and tree plantings. Just ask!

Here is a useful guide for planning a volunteer project. Another related guide we recommend (also from eHow) is How to Conduct Civic Projects.

If you have suggestions or ideas for volunteer projects, please share them in our comments section below.



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