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Archive for the ‘Volunteering’ Category

I was holding off on posting about this project until I received pictures, but since I never got them, I’ll get to it!  A few weeks ago, on Cesar Chavez Day, I took part in a playground-building volunteer project through Volunteer San Diego (www.volunteersandiego.org) and Kaboom (www.kaboom.org).  I volunteer pretty often, doing small projects like sorting cans at the food bank – projects which are satisfying in their own way, but which don’t necessarily give you a sense of completion.  This was just the opposite – a full day of hard work which paid off big time. 

I showed up early at the project housing site, coffee in hand, and signed my waiver.  I grabbed a name tag with a flower on it and met up with the leaders who were giving instructions.  It turned out that each name tag assigned you to a different group project, and I was super excited to learn that the Flower People were in charge of building a community garden – such an awesome coincidence!  Most of the volunteers were involved in various aspects of playground building – setting up equipment, painting murals, that sort of thing.  Our group of 7 was slated to work off-site, down the street at a small space in a quieter section of the projects.  We were given a few small bags of soil, shovels, rakes, trowels, and about 40 plants to put in.  This patch of land was hurtin’.  I looked at the ground surface and was pretty skeptical at first.  It was filled with tree roots and rocks, and was pretty unprepared for vegetables.  We got right to work, though, plotting out four beds and breaking them up as best we could.

We had started working at probably about 9-9:30, and just kept pushing on until lunchtime.  By that time, we had prepared four beautiful bed and planted everything we needed to – it was astounding what a group of people can do in such a short amount of time.  We broke for lunch and headed up to the main site, where the rest of the volunteers were working – again, I was taken aback at how much work had been accomplished.  We left a sad looking, empty lot a couple of hours previously and came back to see a vibrant, colorful playground.  It was inspiring.

After lunch, we took a couple of hours to beautify the space – we “borrowed” some paint from the muralists and painted everything we could get our hands on.  We had lined the four vegetable beds with bricks and so we were able to paint those with words like “WATER” and “HOPE” and “GROW”.  We were a little slap-happy at that point, so slapped some paint on the fences as well.  Hopefully the residents will be so stoked with the vegetables that they won’t mind the extra flair.

As all this was going on, one of the members of my team remembered a park bench that he had sitting in storage, and offered to donate it to the cause.  He went to get it, and our garden was complete.  I plan to go back there this weekend to see how it’s doing, and I’ll be sure to take some pictures then.  I left that day feeling dirty, tired, and elated – it was amazing.  This is the only picture I could find on the Kaboom website of our particular sub-project, it’s from the very end of the day and is not very clear – I’ll share more pictures soon.

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