Project Earth is a program of California State University, Fullerton focusing on improving and restoring our local environment. Volunteers help restore habitats, clean beaches, and educate participants.

It’s been a few years since I graduated college, but my alma mater’s volunteer club was more than happy to let me tag along to one of their events. I arrived at Craig Park a little before 9am to twenty or so student volunteers. Since membership is always in flux, we spent ten minutes introducing ourselves and doing get-to-know each other games. Afterward, a ranger met us and directed us to the sports recreation area of the park, and provided us with rakes. We proceeded to rake and bag leaves until noon. In the end, I stood proud. This is a park in my city, one I’ve been coming to for over a decade. I embraced this idea of taking care of it, cleaning its unkempt grounds, that day, rake in hand, I glistened with civic pride. And sweat. It was pretty hot.

Between bouts of raking and bagging, I got a chance to converse with some of the other volunteers. Speaking with them about volunteering and the world was like a shot of adrenaline to my own personal passion factory and optimism center. When we are young, we believe we can change the world, and somehow, somewhere down the road we lose that. We are kidnapped, knocked over the head by an army of the weak-willed trying to recruit us to their non-cause of apathy, laziness, and consumerism. They reprogram us to compete with and vilify our differences. But worst of all, they cloud our minds to where we forget that there is inherent, untapped, awe-inspiring power in every one of us.


Orientation: No.
Commitment: 3hr. raking and bagging leaves.
Cost: $0

This entry is part of 2011’s Project 365 – Volunteering 12 places in 12 months.