Whether you like to stay inside or be out in nature, there is a volunteer opportunity waiting for you! Throughout the month of April, the city of Santa Clarita is celebrating National Volunteer Month. When residents take the time to volunteer in our city, they are not only benefiting the community, but they are bettering themselves. By working toward a new goal, being around others, and learning new skills, volunteering can increase your self-confidence, provide a natural sense of accomplishment and benefit your health. It’s also a great way to make new friends!
I am proud to say that in 2021, the city had 3,312 volunteers donate more than 14,000 hours of their time to a variety of projects and programs. Added up, the dollar value of those hours amounted to almost half of a million dollars.
For our beautiful open spaces, this meant the formation of miles of trails, which helped complete the Needham Trail, Gates Trail, Central Park connector trail and the trail to the East Walker Ranch parking tunnel. At the Newhall Community Center, more than 50 students in the after-school program were assisted each day by the Homework Help volunteers. Out on our sports fields, 600 youth enrolled in 58 teams were mentored by youth sports coaches. At the Trek Bike Park of Santa Clarita, volunteers worked hard to make the trails and pump tracks safer and more user-friendly for cyclists of all levels. Additionally, 10 community groups and a local business, Citadel EHS, came together to participate in beautification projects at our parks. This included painting fences and planting drought-tolerant plants and shrubs.
In mid-April, our volunteers once again came out to help protect Santa Clarita’s ecosystem by participating in the second annual Neighborhood Cleanup event. Dozens of volunteers went to Central Park, the Newhall Community Center and the Canyon Country Community Center to pick up supplies in order to remove litter in their local neighborhoods. Our volunteers were able to pick up hundreds of pounds of trash and help beautify our local parks, streets and walkways. During the event, I had the opportunity to plant a crepe myrtle tree at the Newhall Community Center. This type of tree is not only a good fit for our climate but also will offer beautiful blooms throughout the spring season. I appreciate all of those volunteers who came out and donated their time to help make Santa Clarita a clean and environmentally friendly city.
During this last City Council meeting, my fellow council members and I had the pleasure of recognizing five dedicated individuals who are all recipients of the 2022 President’s Volunteer Services Award. This highly regarded award was established in 2002 by President George W. Bush to recognize the important role volunteers have in America’s strength and national identity. Each recipient received an award package consisting of a certificate, a pin, a medallion and a congratulatory letter from President Joe Biden. To qualify for this award, volunteers had to have donated a minimum of 100 hours to a program or project. Altogether, these five volunteers donated nearly 1,000 hours to the Friends of the Library Program and as youth sports coaches. I would like to thank Katherine Lynn Turner, Candace Ford, Michael Lopez and Jordan Maertz for their contributions and their continued commitment to the city of Santa Clarita.
As a volunteer myself, I cannot help but feel proud to live in a city that shows so much engagement and commitment to the place we all call home. The positive impacts that volunteering has on our city and residents are endless. This month, I challenge our community to get out and volunteer, even if it is just for an hour at one of our local trails or libraries. One great opportunity will be at the upcoming Party on the Pointe event, which will be held at the Sports Complex on April 23.
If you would like to register to volunteer or would like to view the many other volunteer opportunities in the city, please visit the Santa Clarita Volunteer Hub at SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.
Bill Miranda is a member of Santa Clarita’s City Council and can be reached at [email protected].