California has a New Czar!
I'm so proud of Arnie. Our Governator recently created a new cabinet position in California - a secretary of service and volunteering that some are calling the "Czar of Volunteerism." Unlike other new cabinet positions, this one is not predicted to cost taxpayers more money. That is, if eager citizen volunteers can stretch budgets enough to offset the cost of the cabinet position.
Prompted by the huge volunteer turnout for the San Diego fires and for wildlife cleanup after the Cosco oil spill in the San Francisco Bay, it became clear that Californians are willing to help in crises. The problem was that it was too hard to coordinate such a huge surge in volunteers.
The new Czar — the first such position in the country — was plucked from her executive director position at California Volunteers. Especially great for busy moms and dads, the organization runs a database of ongoing volunteer needs. It lists things we can do today or tomorrow if we have a bit of extra time. I just did a search on "Animals and Environment" in my zip code and learned that — crisis or no crisis — there is something to fit everyone, no matter how much time you have — or don't have. I saw one-off opportunities like the Acterra-sponsored Arastradero Preserve Restoration Workday. To my surprise, there were on-going ways to get involved, as well, such as
taking a board position at the Alternative Fuel Coalition. Pretty neat!
I kept poking around the site and was even more delighted to see a Families and Kids section. This is exactly what I was looking for! Here's what California Volunteers says you can do with your kids:
Would you like to involve your child in community service as part of an organized group? Perhaps you'd like to volunteer together as a family. If so, the following resources can help.
Youth service clubs are groups of youth who come together to volunteer and help others in their community. Clubs can be affiliated with a particular family, neighborhood, community, school or church. To learn about starting a club or find existing clubs, visit Kids Care Clubs or Kids Korps USA.