San Antonio’s exciting cultures, music, cuisine, and social events make it an attractive place for many millennials, and the new year also brings opportunities for them to become more involved in the community through volunteering and other efforts at local organizations.
Here are 10 ways for young professionals to get involved in San Antonio in 2017:
Volunteer at a kitchen or homeless shelter
There are many opportunities to volunteer to help provide food and shelter to people who are less fortunate. The San Antonio Food Bank seeks volunteers for warehouse sorting and packing, and Haven for Hope is looking for helpers to prepare and serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner meals for its residents. Young people can also help improve the lives of older adults and their loved ones by volunteering to be a Music and Memory Volunteer at Morningside Ministries, where they’ll help with development and outreach.
Build a nature trail
If you enjoy working up a good sweat on bicycle or foot along one of the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trails System trails, why not sign up to help build one? From now through March, volunteers with the United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County will be installing Born Learning Trails. The activity will include installing posts, putting together signs, painting, stenciling, and helping with park beautification, all with the goal of helping parents, caregivers, and communities provide more early learning opportunities for young children. The upcoming effort will be held the morning of January 14 at Pittman-Sullivan Park as part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Project. Breakfast tacos and coffee will be provided, so be sure to sign up by January 9.
Become a Trail Watch volunteer
The City of San Antonio Parks and Recreation Department is seeking dedicated trail lovers who are passionate about city trails and enjoy spending time on them for its Trail Watch Volunteer Program. Volunteers 18 years and older who are friendly and outgoing are encouraged to apply. They’ll be asked to spend at least four hours along the trails each month to help with trail safety.
Clean up a river or wildlife area
On February 18, hundreds of thousands of San Antonians will turn out for the annual Basura Bash, a one-day, all-volunteer event to clean the San Antonio Watershed. Millennials are encouraged to join in this 22-year-old tradition by joining the cleanup effort along their nearest tributary. Volunteers are still needed in many areas, and registration will open this January.
Help install art
In Alamo City, art converges with community service through ongoing efforts at nonprofit organizations. San Antonio visual artist and muralist David Blancas founded the Project Inspire Mural Arts Program in 2011 to partner with organizations to create mural projects. This year, he is working with at-risk youth through the Bexar County Juvenile Probation Department and veterans in the Post Traumatic Stress Foundation of America to build murals at the organizations’ offices in San Antonio. Members of the public will have an opportunity to help install the murals through the outreach program beginning in early January. Sign-up will begin soon.
Lend a hand at a cultural center
At the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, volunteers are “Buena gente” — people who are involved in a variety of hands-on activities, including carpentry, catering, painting, plumbing, and graphic and stage set design. They also gather at monthly La Voz mailouts to fold the organization’s newsjournal. Visit the Peace and Justice Center’s website to sign up and learn how to help.
If you enjoy planting flowers, vegetables, or maintaining a butterfly garden, volunteer with the Bexar County Master Gardener Program. Opportunities exist with the Green Spaces Alliance, Haven for Hope, the Herff Farm at Cibolo Nature Center, the San Antonio Food Bank Spurs Community Garden, the Schultze House, the Wounded Warrior Project gardens, and youth programs. Millennials can also volunteer at one of San Antonio’s community gardens, including the new Gardopia Gardens.
Volunteer at Fiesta
San Antonio’s annual celebration offers countless ways for young people to get involved in the exciting festivities, including the annual Fiesta Arts Fair to be held April 22 and 23. As a volunteer, millennials can sell coupons, maintain a ticket booth, assist with children’s art activities, and provide support for artists during and before the fair. All volunteers receive free admission to the fair for the day of their scheduled shift, plus networking opportunities with local artists at the Southwest School of Art.
Volunteer at a hospital
Those 18 years of age or older who are currently working or attending school can participate in the University Health System Adult Volunteer Program or College Volunteer Program. A variety of roles are available, from floaters to helping on patient floors and with pediatrics. Benefits include a discount VIA monthly pass, free annual health screenings and flu shots, and more.
Volunteer at the library
The San Antonio Public Library is currently looking for young people to assist with children’s activities; check the library’s web links; set up exhibits; organize video, DVD, and CD collections, and more. Join Friends of the San Antonio Public Library to support your local library branch.