I want to highlight a local single day of service that’s happening on August 13th that I think is incredibly innovative and a great example of how community-based organizations can make an impact in only one day.
The Ella Baker Center for Human Rights is an Oakland, Calif. based nonprofit that offers smart solutions and uplifting alternatives to violence and incarceration. The Center recognizes that the safest neighborhoods aren’t the ones with the most prisons and the most police – they’re the ones with the best schools, the cleanest environment, and the most opportunities for young people and working people.
Do you ever feel like there is a problem in your community but you do not know what to do about it? Are you a nonprofit that has an idea of how to make change but have a hard time finding volunteers to get involved?
The Ella Baker Center answers these questions in the form of “Throw Down for the Town: The Oakland Service Festival.” Rather than one organization deciding what is needed in the community, The Center is asking the community to host projects.
The diversity of people and needs in Oakland are evidenced by the more than 20 (and growing!) projects that people have registered to host on that one day. People can register a project or join an existing project. This is smart and unique because it includes people who have the resources and drive to host as well as those who want to help but lack the ability to plan an event.
The work day will end with a solar-powered concert and free tacos! There is nothing like food to bring people together. And the truth is that community change is really sustained when relationships are built amongst the change makers. People will be able to connect with each other and continue the work completed beyond one single day of service.
I believe this event and others like it will have a long-lasting impact not just on the city of Oakland, but on the people who participate as volunteers. After all, this is why we do what we do at VolunteerMatch. We believe in the power of volunteerism to change communities.
Whether you are a nonprofit or a volunteer, I hope the “Throw Down for the Town” similarly inspires you to take action in your community!