April is National Volunteer Month and a good time to thank volunteers, recruit new ones and explore ways to help make Lakewood stronger and more united. It’s also when more than 400 Lakewood volunteers fan out citywide to tackle Volunteer Day’s clean up and fix up projects.
Many of them are members of long-standing civic organizations and service groups who have been the event’s mainstay for years. They make a tremendous difference.
One team that’s returning exemplifies the community’s strong tradition of “neighbors helping neighbors” in a very special way. They’re simply a collection of individuals who just wanted to help.
Without any group affiliation, they began as a patched-together lineup who didn’t know one another, says event coordinator Phyllis Clark. “I turned to volunteer Linda Manis and asked her if she’d jump in to ‘captain’ one of our Volunteer Day locations and the rest is history,” she smiles.
Photo from left to right: Kneeling are Jerry Simon and Linda Manis. Standing are Bobbie Longbrake, Karen Rice, Mark Rice, Mary Steinbarg, Larry Peterson, Louise Peterson, Shirley Dohrman, Daisy Stribling, Gerald Stribling and Sandy Simon.
“Linda’s grown a crew of 10 strangers into a team of over two dozen volunteers who’ve been returning year after year for a decade. Last year they even took on a second location. They come back because they’re helping, and having fun doing it.”
Linda, winner of a Volunteer Merit Award from the California Parks and Recreation Society for 2011, spoke recently at a city council meeting. She summed up the feelings of many Lakewood volunteers, “I like volunteering because I love my city.”
Volunteer Day’s morning of painting, completing yard projects and making other needed exterior improvements at homes and facilities throughout the city is part of Lakewood’s tradition of volunteering that goes back to the city’s founding in the early 1950s.
It was volunteers who established the Lakewood Youth Sports program that continues to thrive today. For years, Lakewood residents have heeded the call to help others. They show their concern for the community and neighbors by volunteering.
There are many different kinds of opportunities for volunteers in Lakewood. This includes special programs for youth and seniors. Volunteer activities for teens are a good way to gain job experience or to help fulfill community service hours needed for school credit.
Click www.lakewoodcity.org/volunteer or call the Burns Community Center at 562-925-7512 for more information. Or, click here to submit a volunteering interest form and to review volunteer work descriptions. Learn about city-sponsored programs, as well as non-profit organizations that serve Lakewood and local service clubs that give back in a variety of ways.
Neighborhood parks use volunteers to assist recreation leaders with duties such as crafts, sports field preparation, office work, and Special Olympics programs. The award winning "Teens in Lakewood Care" program needs teens to help provide free home maintenance to Lakewood residents who are physically unable to do the work themselves. Among other activities, they participate in the hundreds-strong Volunteer Day events each year.
Click for a listing of Lakewood programs offering volunteer opportunities for adults and/or youth. Some of the programs are year round and some are seasonal.