We pride ourselves on having a great reputation for being the place people can to go for fun and accessible volunteer opportunities–giving as little or as much of their time and skill as they want. That’s not to say, though, that over time, we don’t make a long-lasting impact on the organizations we work with.
Just look at what Seattle Works volunteers have done–via five of our programs!–at Magnuson Park, for example. We’ve worked with Emily Bishton, Program Director at Magnuson Nature Programs for six years now on many projects at the Magnuson Children’s Garden and Magnuson Community Center. We asked Emily to tell us a little bit about her experience with Seattle Works and this is what she had to say:
1. Which Seattle Works programs have you worked with?
2. What kind of work have Seattle Works volunteers done at Magnuson?
For 6 years, TeamWorks, Seattle Works Day, and HotProject volunteers have been a vital part of keeping the Magnuson Children’s Garden sustainable. They have helped weed and mulch the shrub and perennial beds, pathways and gathering areas, helped to renovate our “Rolling Hill” lawn, painted the background for our big garden mural, set tree stump stools in place, plant new additions, and much much more. In 2011, a TeamWorks group helped staff our annual Fall Harvest Celebration, where we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Magnuson Children’s Garden!
Over the past 5 years, TeamWorks and Hot Project volunteers have also helped to build and maintain 2 demonstration landscapes at Magnuson Community Center: the Bird-friendly Landscape which was completed in 2009, and the Resource Conservation Landscape which is close to completion. They have helped remove invasive weeds, build healthy soil, and plant and mulch hundreds of native shrubs, perennials, and groundcovers in approx 6,000 sq ft of landscape beds!
For the past year, 3 amazing graduates of the HandsOn Leadership program have been volunteering to help plan and participate in the building of the Resource Conservation Landscape, and to help run many educational programs for children and adults that have been a part of the stewardship events. They have raised funds to provide free Magnuson Nature Programs for low-income residents of Magnuson Park through writing a Seed Grant and making a successful presentation at the inaugural ChipIn event. They also helped write an irrigation system grant application to the Dept. of Neighborhoods, and to write progress reports to the Magnuson Community Center Advisory Council. The 2 members whose employers have volunteer hour matching funds programs designated Magnuson Nature Programs as recipient, which has already raised over $1200.00 to help sustain and build future nature education and stewardship programs. It would take another page to list all the ways these individuals have made a huge impact with the over 350 hours they have combined to volunteer in 2012!
3. What keeps you coming back to Seattle Works?
The stellar individuals that staff all the Seattle Works’ programs we have participated in, and the dozens of fabulous individual volunteers who have given so generously of their time, whether for a day or a year, that we are so fortunate to have benefited from.
4. Do you have a favorite SW-volunteer-related story? Was there a time your team/volunteers went above and beyond? Made you laugh? Anything!
If I had a better memory (or wrote things down) I could list the ways that almost every team and every individual has gone above and beyond, but here’s a few:
- Working for hours in the pouring rain, and remaining cheerful and enthusiastic!
- Weeding the same Morning Glory in the Children’s Garden that they weeded the year before!
- Staying after the event was supposed to be over to help with extra cleanup!
- Hauling around heavy stuff like landscape rocks and wet soil that “oldsters” like me (and some of the other leaders) can’t do anymore!
- Sharing creative energy as well as physical!
- Providing inspiration to everyone at Magnuson Park who works alongside them, sees them in action, or sees what they accomplish!
Seattle Works pulls the pieces together to bring long-time support to organizations in our community, year after year. Want to help us keep helping fantastic nonprofits like Magnuson Nature Programs? Give to Seattle Works today: https://seattleworks.ejoinme.org/RockStar
(… and thank you, Emily!)