Just Taking a Week Off School to Volunteer…

So we made it through the first quarter of our school year – completely… reading done, math done and language arts. I know, good job and all that… (I won’t mention the science kits that remained unopened, the journals that are somewhat off the pace… and the one child that simply refuses to read anything that might possibly be school… and my natural tendency to wait and see could ultimately work against me in this case… and that’s a whole ‘nother post)… I rewarded my guys with a week off school and gifted them in the best possible way, instead of staying home and sorting the chaos that the house tends into, all on its own, while we do school. And the sort of thing only a mother wants to do when we are off school… we spent a week volunteering. So this is just a quick catchup on some fun, easy ways for kids to volunteer…

World Beach Clean Up Day

Years ago, when we began beach clean ups our kids were a little nervous about what they might find, and a beach clean up was something they loved when they were doing it, but it wasn’t something they looked forward too. Since we discovered exactly where our garbage goes… we can’t clean beaches fast enough.

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On World Beach Clean Up Day, with a team of kids, we once again tackled the beach at Olifants Bos in the Cape Point Section of Table Mountain National Park.

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Absolutely everything you need for a beach clean up is supplied at the Ocean Conservancy website…

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Gather with some friends and print out your data sheets from the Ocean Conservancy website. Collect garbage and document your finds as you go.

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It is always surprising to us, exactly how much garbage we find, even on what looks like a pristinely clean beach…

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We began by doing a grid study of the beach – determining where the most garbage was gathered on our beach…

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Clip boards and kids keeping their eyes peeled and picking up and recording data…

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There are always some curious and interesting finds…

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Finally, a pile of trash off the beach…

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Most of our beach trash is always fishing line, and lots of it.

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Magical Mural Painting…

More than a couple of weeks back, on July 21st, we joined our friends from San Parks to help them upgrade an underprivileged preschool, as part of their Madiba Day Project. The plan was that we would help to paint a mural, and the weather turned out to be one of the worst storms to hit the Cape the entire winter. So we did as much work as we could, but new that we had to return to paint the school at a later date. Well the weather has cleared and it was time to pull out the paints…

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I got to paint murals in Zambia, with GreenPop, this year and I was dying to get to paint a whole wall with my kids and give them the thrill of getting it done… I have to say that when we arrived the wall looked overwhelmingly bigger than I ever remembered and we only had a morning to tackle it in. So…

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Split the colours into warm and cold… we went with an animal theme… so popped some animals up on the wall. Gave the warm colours to the small people and the cool colours to the bigger ones and set them to painting… finally whip through with some black defining the lines and we were done.

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All work and no play…ahem!!!

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And there we go… what a privilege to get to paint an entire wall and it turned out to be really hard work… and totally valid fun as well.

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I know this video is sideways… so sorry. That’s us figuring how the video works, and I have no idea how to edit up after the fact, but it shows our painting process, so I added it in for you.

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And this video is just us finishing up…

Tree Planting with GreenPop

A week of volunteering would not be complete if we didn’t manage to plant a couple of trees with GreenPop, we are always checking out their website for tree planting days. On Heritage Day we were able to join them at a dog shelter up the West Coast and plant some trees and much needed potential shade for these dogs.

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It was our hardest plant days, considering more than a few of my kids are somewhat weary (afraid) of dogs… and there were a lot of dogs. It was good to see how well cared for the dogs were, but so many dogs was fairly overwhelming for my guys.

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First things first, a refresher on how to plant a tree… and then we were split into teams.

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Luckily the holes were dug for us, and it was just a matter of adding compost and fertiliser and water, and showing the trees a lot of love, to get them planted.

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My guys figured out between them, in their teams, they helped to plant twenty three trees. That’s a good effort, considering the difficult circumstances they were planting in. Little by little and bit by bit… planting trees can make a big difference to the environment.

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Of course it was fun, planting with GreenPop is always a heap of fun.

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And that was us… Some fun volunteering projects spread over a week, left us all feeling a bit like “we would like a little more!!!” We will definitely be looking for more tree planting days to join in and beach clean ups to get involved in… fun times.

10 Replies to “Just Taking a Week Off School to Volunteer…”

  1. What a fun week! The mural turned out fantastic – I’m afraid I’d have been daunted into inactivity!

  2. I love all the opportunities you have found for you and your children to volunteer together! I’d love to start to get my kids involved in volunteer opportunities– we’re also in the southern peninsula. If you have any insights or pointers for a 3 and 5 year old, or if opportunities come up where a larger group is needed, we’d love to join in! I really love how doable a beach cleanup seems to be.

  3. Hay Christi, I have painted murals before, many years ago… and now more recently. The wall looked huge, it helped that we broke it up into animals and some of my bigger kids are really tenacious… put them at one end of a wall with a bucket of paint and they will just keep on going… all the way to the other side. It turns out we had a lot of fun… and it was well worth the effort!!! Hope you all have a fun weekend!!!

  4. Hay Jo, I am going to think about your question.. it is a great one. And I am going to blog about it… because quite a few folk have asked where we find opportunities to volunteer. I am going to think about it and create a list and blog it. It could take a while, but it is a post I am thinking about. Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a lovely restful weekend!!!

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