Volunteer to Help the Community!

Volunteering is a great way to become an active member in your community. Many kids may believe that the only volunteering options in town are through clubs like CSF and Key Club, however, there are many more opportunities available. And, there is enough variety to choose which program you think would be most fun. From donating clothing to helping out your favorite park, Chico has no limitation on how you can volunteer.

Do you have clothes that you never wear? Or is your closet overflowing? Then try donating some of those clothes to people who need them. There are a lot of shops in Chico that will gladly take your clothes. Some stores to donate to are: Goodwill, Salvation Army, The Arc Thrift Store, Thrifty Bargain, and Paw Prints Thrift Boutique. Donating clothes is an easy, no stress way to give back to your community, especially to those who cannot afford name brand stores. A student here on campus, Abby Wang, says that she does a closet cleanup every few months and then donates all the clothes she doesn’t fit or doesn’t wear anymore to local thrift stores. She does this so that her “clothes can make someone else as happy as they made” her.

If you are thinking of becoming a teacher someday, or even if you just like the company of younger kids, then volunteering with them is a great place to start. Some places to volunteer at are Reading Pals and CARD. Reading Pals is a program that lasts around a semester to a year that involves working with one elementary student one hour per week on their reading skills. Reading Pals helps kids build reading abilities, self-esteem, and confidence, and it is a great way to connect with a young student from the community. Reading Pals teams up with local elementary schools and lets you decide which school, what day, and how long. Another option to volunteer with kids is the Chico Area Recreation and Park District, or CARD. CARD offers tons of opportunities including an after school program for elementary students. You can work with kindergarteners or first through fifth graders from after school to 6pm. CARD is a great way to have a more understanding outlook on kids and teachers as you will be helping them with any needs, including homework.

If you are interested in nature and you like spending time at the park, then try volunteering at one. Some programs you can join are: Adopt-A-Spot, Litter Control, and Weeding and Habitat Restoration. Adopt-A-Spot involves adopting a section of the park and taking care of it. This includes learning about the local flora and fauna, removing invasive species, and keeping maintenance of trails and fences. Litter Control is a program where you are assigned as a group or individual to go to the park and clean up the litter in it. This is a good way to help keep Chico green. Weeding and Habitat Restoration helps reduce the amount of pesticides used in the parks, as you will be picking weeds and planting native species in its place. Less pesticides and more native plants equal a happier, healthier environment. Another student here, Natalie Potter, tries to go on walks around Upper Bidwell Park at least once a week. Whenever she is there she cleans up any trash she sees so that she can keep the environment clean and hopefully encourage others to do the same.

No matter what you enjoy doing, Chico has volunteer opportunities for it. Getting out and giving back is a way to not only make the environment feel better, but it can also make you better. Volunteering should never feel like a chore, so if it does, look up other programs in your community to find one that fits you.