We want to teach our children about the joys of volunteering, but not all volunteer opportunities are open to kids. The following organizations allow people of all ages to get involved, whether it’s in cleaning up the environment or donating books to children who can’t afford them.
Friends of Ballona Wetlands is devoted to restoring and protecting the Ballona wetlands, a refreshingly open space that stretches from Lincoln Boulevard down to Playa del Rey and includes both saltwater and freshwater marsh. The organization hosts a volunteer restoration program from 9:30 a.m. to noon on the fourth Saturday of every month. The program starts with a brief but enlightening discussion of the wetlands, and the history of the area’s native Tongva people, and instructions on how to remove invasive plants. This task is best suited to slightly older kids (6 and up), as it requires some focus and attention to detail to remove only the correct species of plants. Visit www.ballonafriends.org to learn more.
Heal the Bay hosts “Nothin’ But Sand” beach cleanups on the third Saturday of every month. These popular events are great for kids of all ages, as just about anyone can pick up trash. And while the task may seem as infinite as the sand itself, kids will no doubt get a sense of satisfaction as their bags start to fill up. Everyone must sign a waiver to participate, and receives instructions before getting started. Gloves are provided and, though it may seem counterintuitive on the beach, closed-toe shoes are required for safety. Water, hats and sunscreen are recommended as well. Visit www.healthebay.org to see where upcoming cleanups will be held.
Milk + Bookies works to foster a love of reading and giving in children. Kids can get involved with the nonprofit by hosting their very own “book-raisers.” These fundraisers can be incorporated into a birthday party, classroom project or scout-troop meeting. Participants are asked to donate new or used books (in good condition), which are then customized with personal inscriptions and donated to a group or organization in need, such as a homeless shelter or YMCA. Visit www.milkandbookies.org to find out how you and your kids can host your own event.