We remember when we, as rootless pre-teens adrift in the 60s, were taken in tow by a hardened Child of the Depression (1929-39… Google it.), told to drop our transistor radio and to “follow me.”
He was our father so we did as we were told – and spent the next three months mucking out barns at a stable in Colorado. It was not fun and we learned several lessons, chief among them the warning signs exhibited by an angry horse. (And never to leave a pitchfork leaning tines-up against a corral, but that’s another tale.) Although standing knee deep in horse manure may not have been appreciated as a character-building exercise at the time, it was the first of several tasks our father saw us assigned to before launching us at life.
And we’ll say now, looking back, it helped prepare us for what was to come.
So when Carri, a reader who has been following our little screed for a while, suggested something be done to pair those looking for a little, down-and-dirty life experience with those who could use an extra pair of hands around the soup kitchen, senior center, or around a broom or paintbrush we thought what we always do whenever we hear a good idea from one of our readers – “let’s steal it.”
Not really. Here’s Carri: “I’m looking for an opportunity to teach my children and a few school groups about outreach. I’d like them to SEE the impact directly – not just donate or raise money. I think this is an important thing for kids to learn, not only the impact on others, but how much they really do have in life. Is there a compiled list somewhere of outreach opportunities by age? Especially with the holiday season coming up, perhaps homeless shelters that need groups to sign up to serve meals? I thought perhaps if you don’t know of a compiled list, readers may know of a list or be able to list outreach centers that need labor and help.”
Great idea so here it is. If you’re a public service agency or not-for-profit looking for some help with worthy projects over the Holidays, post your needs and contact info in our comments thread and we’ll update the list as it grows. If you reach out to them you’ll find a little dirt or grime comes off pretty easily at the end of the day, and you may have helped someone and learned something in the process.
Just watch out for angry horses (always have an apple in your pocket just in case) and remember that life, real life, is never always clean and easy.
Tricolored Blackbird Winter Survey – Nov. 17-20
Calling all birders for a November Tricolored Blackbird Winter Survey throughout California. We are seeking more information about Tricolored Blackbird distribution in the winter. Most of our current data about this nearly endemic species is from the spring nesting season, so we need your help filling in the winter data gap. The Tricolored Blackbird is a candidate for listing under the federal and state Endangered Species Acts, so additional data can help inform management of the species. This survey will follow the below protocol.
Contact Samantha Arthur at email@example.com for questions.
French Broom Removal, Tilden Park – Nov. 18
Join Friends of Five Creeks and UC Berkeley students from service group Circle K removing invasive, fire-prone French broom in Tilden Regional Park. Most of the big bushes are gone, but re-sprouts and seedlings need control for at least a decade. This is light but important work. We supply tools, gloves, snacks, water, and good company — plus all volunteers get a free ride on Tilden’s century-old merry go round. Meet at Orchard Picnic Area, Lake Anza Rd. and Brook Rd. (From Central Park Drive at Lake Anza Road (this is also a stop for AC Transit 67), just below the merry-go-round, take Lake Anza Rd. a short distance to Brook Rd. on the left. The picnic area is on the right just after you turn onto Brook Rd. Wear long pants, long sleeves, and closed-toed shoes with good traction. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org. Groups of more than 5 please RSVP. Otherwise, just show up! 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.