Week 4: Volunteer

This is a special week for us and for the Earth. Earth Day is this Thursday (April 22nd) and there are a lot of activities and opportunities to volunteer around town!

Why Volunteer?

Photo by Anna Earl on Unsplash

By its very nature, volunteerism is an important vehicle for sustainable development. Volunteerism lets people and communities participate in their own growth. Through volunteering, citizens build their resilience, enhance their knowledge base and gain a sense of responsibility for their own community. Social cohesion and trust is strengthened through individual and collective volunteer action, leading to sustainable outcomes for people, by people.

Volunteerism strengthens civic engagement, safeguards social inclusion, deepens solidarity and solidifies ownership of development results. Importantly, volunteering has a ripple effect. It inspires others and advances the transformations required for the SDGs to take root in communities.

Volunteers can provide technical support and enhance capacity in all thematic goal areas. They deliver basic services, help transfer skills and foster exchanges of good practices, and add valuable international and local expertise through domestic, South-South, South-North and North-South exchanges. Corporate volunteers can play a particular role in this regard, by making their expertise available to public institutions as well as to fragile communities.

UN Volunteers, last updated May 7, 2020

Check Out What’s Happening This Week!

If you would like to jump right into volunteering, this is a great week to get started. There are quite a few events going on, including VT Earth Week, VT YMCA’s Spring Expo Environmental Stewardship Week, and Montgomery County’s Broomin’ and Bloomin’.

The VT Office of Sustainability and The Environmental Coalition at Virginia Tech have been working with over 25 student, university, and community groups to plan more than 35 events (both virtual and in-person) focused on different aspects of sustainability from Sunday, April 18 to Saturday, April 24.

Events will cover topics such as Environmental Justice and Community, Energy Reduction, Food and Water, Waste, Education and Behavior Change, Transportation, and Habitats and Biodiversity and include talks, service projects, a pop-up thrift store, yoga, trivia, what you can make with a t-shirt and much, much more!

Visit Virginia Tech Office of Sustainability Facebook page to learn more and for updates throughout the week.

The YMCA at Virginia Tech is introducing a new event- Y Spring Expo to run from March 25- April 25. The main purpose will be to showcase the many and varied programs provided to the community by the YMCA at Virginia Tech in partnership with clubs, programs, departments, and groups from Virginia Tech.

This week, April 18th-24th is Environmental Stewardship Week. Check out their website for more information.

Montgomery County, Virginia's broomin' & bloomin' Saturday April 24, 2021

Since 1983, individuals and groups have been invited to take part in this countywide cleaning effort. As in past years, participants will be picking up litter along area waterways, public parks/playgrounds, walking trails, roadways, and other public locations. Trash bags, gloves and safety vests will be provided. Filled trash bags will be picked up from each site that has been cleaned.

The 38th annual Broomin’ and Bloomin’ spring clean-up event will be held on Sat., April 24 from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m., RAIN OR SHINE. Please consider lending a helping hand for this important and enduring community event. Whether you participate for one hour or five each bag of trash collected makes a real difference!

If you are interested in participating you can sign up online by visiting: www.montva.com/broominbloomin

Ongoing Volunteerism

Here are even more ongoing sustainability service opportunities in our community! There are many different areas to get involved so make sure to scroll all the way to the end of the list to find something you’re most interested in.

Blacksburg Farmers Market

Regular opportunities to volunteer, either for regular market days (Wednesday and Saturdays) or special events (Mingle at the Market, etc)

Blacksburg Community Gardens

Our local community gardens offer low-cost gardening opportunities as well as on-site sustainability initiatives (solar greenhouse, fruit trees, composting, and a “food forest”)

Citizens’ Climate Lobby: New River Chapter

Nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots advocacy seeking bipartisan climate solutions; Focused on direct, positive engagement with elected officials at the local, state, and federal levels

NAACP Climate & Environmental Justice Committee

Focuses on issues of sustainability/climate action planning that integrates policies and practices on advancing food justice, advocating for transportation equity, upholding civil and human rights in emergency management, and facilitate participatory democracy in the NRV

New River Creative Reuse Center

Help teachers and schools support reclamation and reuse of art and craft materials by repurposing commonly discarded items for creative play and artistic expression.

New River Land Trust

The New River Land Trust works to conserve farmland, forests, open spaces, and historic places in the New River region of Southwest Virginia. In addition, their Youth Outreach program and the Nature Play Space in Heritage Park both help kids form a meaningful, healthy, and lifelong relationship with nature and the outdoors.

NRV Bike Kitchen

Volunteers repair/tune-up donated bikes to extend transportation options for economically/socially challenged individuals.

Habitat for Humanity & Habitat ReStore

Opportunities to help include working on home building job sites, in the ReStore, in the affiliate office, planning events, and more.

NRV Master Gardeners

NRV Master Gardeners offers training and outreach to promote good horticultural practices, seed swaps, and plant sales & clinics. They also sponsor the Share the Spare program which collects donations of fresh fruits and vegetables to support local food banks.

NRV Master Naturalists and Save Stadium Woods

Advocates for the preservation and responsible stewardship of Stadium Woods (an old growth forest on VT campus) and hosts cleanups and invasive species work in the Woods.

NRV Repair Cafe

This is a twice annual event in the Spring and Fall held at the Habitat for Humanity Restore in Christiansburg with multiple repair stations run by volunteers. Contact Ellen Stewart for more information: estewart@blacksburg.gov.

NRV TimeBank

Regional neighbor-to-neighbor skill sharing and assistance; supports social equity and vulnerable populations, in partnership with local nonprofits; monthly orientation meetings will help you to learn more and get involved!

Plant SWVA Natives

Campaign to increase awareness and adoption of plantings that are native to our bioregion.

Poverty Creek Trails Coalition

Help the U.S. Forest Service maintain, improve, and expand the Poverty Creek Trail System.

POWHR: Protect Our Water, Heritage, Rights & Preserve Montgomery Co VA

This is a coalition of individuals and groups from VA and WV working together to protect water, local ecology, heritage, land rights, human rights, and communities from the harms caused by the expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure.

ReNew the New

Sponsors a spring and fall river clean-up along the New River.

SEEDS – Blacksburg Nature Center

Community youth education organization that offers community engagement, summer field camps and programs, travel field camps, and nature discovery at the Blacksburg Nature Center.

Sierra Club of the NRV

Policy advocacy and community engagement on a wide range of conservation issues.

Stroubles Creek Coalition

Volunteer for stream cleanups and restoration activities along Stroubles Creek and its tributaries to improve the water quality of the creek and get it removed from the Impaired Waterways list.

Sustainable Blacksburg

We’d love to have you join us in working to advance community sustainability through service projects, social events, and community outreach & programs throughout the year.

Sustainability Week

Joining the planning teams provides the opportunity to partner with local organizations and plan for dozens of events, including tours, service projects, workshops, discussions, presentations, and kids activities.

Virginia Native Plant Society

The New River Chapter of the VNPS hosts monthly meetings, field trips, workshops, annual native plant sales, and sponsors community based projects.

YMCA @ Virginia Tech

There are plenty of volunteer opportunities for students, groups, and community members at the Y. Programs include: YToss, sustainability initiatives, after school care, Meals on Main hunger relief, and student programs. They also run a thrift store that supports leadership development and community programs within the NRV.

Let’s Talk Blacksburg

Blacksburg has a website dedicated to community engagement. If you are interested in engaging in town projects, this is a great place to go!

Learn More!

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook as we talk about specific actions you can take to volunteer your time and resources for a sustainable community and world this week!

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