There’s been a lot of bad news in Oakland lately, and I know sometimes it’s easy to feel down about the City and to feel like there’s nothing you can do about it. But this Saturday, August 13th you can, at the Ella Baker Center’s Throw Down for the Town: The Oakland Service Festival.
The concept of this day is pretty awesome. Ella Baker Center put out a call for projects, and groups and individuals organized their own service projects as part of this day. That means that not only are there service projects spread out throughout the city – unless you live in the hills, chances are there’s a project a walk or a quick bus ride away from you – but there are many different types of projects you can participate in. You can beautify a park, set up a book room, garden, build with Habitat for Humanity (hmm, might you find another Oakland blogger there?), create a dog park, help with a community market, and so much more.
I’m definitely participating this Saturday – my problem is deciding which project to help with as so many sound fun and rewarding! Here are the few I’m deciding between:
- Urban Gardening with United Roots, 2781 Telegraph, Oakland 94612 – This one is the closest to my home and involves gardening, which I love. Plus, it’s all about teaching youth how to garden. Awesome! Ella’s Voice featured a blog post about this project last week if you’d like more info (and is adding blog posts about other projects so check back).
- Beautify Laney College with the Gammas, East 10th Street and 2nd St, Oakland, 94606 – My friend (and Peralta Trustee) Abel Guillen is organizing this clean up in the Laney sculpture park. I’ve been to Laney several times and never knew they had a sculpture park, and this sounds like a worthwhile project.
- Tree Planting with Urban Releaf, Market St & Mead Ave Oakland, CA 94607 – I love what Urban Releaf does but have never been able to participate. This seems like a good opportunity.
- Wetlands Restoration with Save the Bay, Martin Luther King Jr Regional Shoreline, Oakland 94621 – It’s horrifying how much litter is left in the Bay, but it’s incredible that dedicated volunteers with Save the Bay and other groups consistently work to keep it clean. Need another reason to go? They’re serving brunch and mimosas, and volunteers will receive Save the Bay shirts.
For the full list of service projects, which take place roughly between 9am-2pm this Saturday, August 13th, visit the Ella Baker Center website, and make sure to RSVP to the project you plan to help with.
If you plan on participating, I’d love to hear what project you choose, but regardless, I hope to see you at the after party at Mosswood Park from 2-6pm. There will be food for volunteers, dance, and a solar paneled hip-hop concert. This is a family-friendly event and an opportunity to build community after a hard day’s work.
So don’t delay – sign up for a service project today (one project is already full and I’m sure others will fill to capacity this week).