While I don’t talk about my personal life much on here, I have been feeling the need to get out other and share my strengths and time with others. I tend to get saturated with work and family, but with the kids starting back to school, I have had some time to reflect on ways that I can spread my talents and time with charitable organizations that need a helping hand. Not only that, but the boost of joy and happiness that I get from helping others really helps combat the blues that we all feel from time to time. Lucky for me (and you!) Frost Bank is making it easy to find chairties in your area by partnering with CultureMap for their Opt for Optimisim initiative. CultureMap has created Charity Guides around Texas to list out charities that need all the volunteers and donations they can get. They are making it easy to search charities by your interests and getting you connected to the charities and non-profits that you can help out most!
I have always loved gardening, but haven’t been able to spend enough time on my garden the last few years. But I have always been amazed at the power of growing your own food. That is why I decided to help out Urban Roots. They are a local farming non profit that cultivates leadership skills through food and farming to transform the lives of the youth in our community by inspiring, engaging, and nourishing. They teach the youth farming and gardening skills and grow food that is then sold by the yough programs at local farmer’s markets. They are making a step towards keeping food local and engaging the youth in Austin to get outside and grow something!
Once I found Urban Roots on CultureMap, I headed to their site, and signed up for a volunteer day. Since it is September, the land has been harvested of most of its summer crop, but that meant it was time to sow all the fall crops!
I took my assistant Jess along with me for a fun (hot) day in the sun planting seeds and enjoying nature.
We began with an opening circle to learn more about Urban Roots and food consumption in Austin, then we got to planting. We planted rainbow chard, parsley, and garlic chives which will be harvested in October and sold to both local restaurants and at the local farmers market in downtown Austin. Urban Roots strives to grow and donate 25,000 pounds of food per year to the local community. All thanks to the work Austin youth and volunteers! Doesn’t that just make you smile hearing it?!
After four hours of planting, we went on a tour of the farm and were able to harvest a few summer eggplants and jalapeños that were still on the plants to take home for dinner. See, volunteering not only feeds your soul, but can feed your belly as well!
I came away from the day hot and sweaty, but also smiling ear to ear as I know that just a few hours of my time would not only help Urban Roots and the kids that volunteer there, but also bring smiles to all the faces of those that get to eat the rainbow chard, parsley, and garlic chives that I helped plant. It really is the small acts of kindness and service that bring joy to your heart. Generosity is the ultimate win-win!
I can’t wait to go back and bring my kids along to help, because it’s never to early to learn the positive effects of giving and optimism.
Be sure to visit CultureMap to find a charity that you can serve that aligns with your skills and beliefs. I promise it will make you feel so much better than wasting that time scrolling on social media!