Mahatma Ghandi has said that “the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” The holiday season is a great reminder that even in the midst of our busy lives, there is always time to come together and give back, and our city is known for being a giving community that looks out for one another. Whether it’s helping your local food pantry, or handing out warm meals to those in need, an opportunity to volunteer is closer than you may think.
In addition to local nonprofits, the city of Santa Clarita also has a robust volunteer program that has expanded over the years, giving residents and community members a chance to volunteer in a variety of ways — including helping out with city events or even creating hiking trails.
From January through October of this year, a total of 5,751 volunteers have participated in our program, collectively contributing 27,584 hours of their time at 191 volunteer opportunities. With the holiday season upon us, there has never been a better time to appreciate the many volunteer offerings that are available to our community.
Just a few days ago, the City Council and I helped ring in the holiday season with the ceremonial lighting of our holiday tree at our festive Light Up Main event in Old Town Newhall, which draws thousands of visitors each year. In addition to live entertainment and the fantastic display of holiday lights, our volunteers were also hard at work helping at activity booths and assisting with event logistics.
One of the things we are thankful for this holiday season, and year-round, is the thousands of acres of open space surrounding our community. Within these acres is an expansive trail network that will take you through breathtaking vistas and untouched natural canyons. These trails are cared for, enhanced and added to, by our dedicated force of trail volunteers. If you enjoy the great outdoors and can see yourself volunteering in this capacity, opportunities are available to help restore the habitat near the Golden Valley Open Space area at our Wildland Weed Warriors Workday – try saying that three times fast! There you can help preserve our local trails by removing weeds and planting native plants to enhance the landscape. Multiple opportunities to get involved will be available during the next few weeks and can be found on SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.
You can also get involved with the Santa Clarita Public Library by volunteering at the Family Literacy Festival on Dec. 3, at the Old Town Newhall Library. There are also year-round opportunities to be a library volunteer, where adults can sort materials, help with the bookstore and read stories to children. Teens, ages 14 and up, can also volunteer by helping children with their homework and with after-school programs. You can register to be a library volunteer by visiting SantaClaritaPublicLibrary.com.
While the rest of the year is filled with exciting opportunities to get involved, we are looking forward to recruiting volunteers for upcoming programs that will be taking place next year including the Free to Be Me Festival, the Eggstravaganza, Splash and Dash Egg Hunt and the Neighborhood Clean Up, in addition to our ongoing opportunities with youth sports programing and at the city’s open space areas. You can find a full list of upcoming volunteer opportunities by visiting SantaClaritaVolunteers.com.
I hope you find much to be thankful for in our great city of Santa Clarita and I wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving and a joyous holiday season.
Councilman Cameron Smyth is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].