Ivan Chen spreads mulch at Woodlawn Park on Tuesday. Photo by Joan Vinson.

Summer is here. Living is, relatively, easy. But have you considered using your free time to get out and give back to your community?

The City of San Antonio Volunteer Program launched its “Join the Force, Volunteer” campaign at Woodlawn Lake on Tuesday morning. The City’s Parks and Recreation Department invited members of the media to spread mulch around trees in front of the Woodlawn Gym and to spread the word about the City’s volunteer programming.

Gabriella Tello, volunteer services coordinator for Parks and Recreation, said volunteering is a way for organizations, schools, and families to give back to the community while strengthening bonds.

“And the best part is that it’s free,” she said.

Tello said the summer events are usually held from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. The registration process switched to an online format in 2013, and since that time more than 9,000 volunteers participate annually in activities throughout the city. Volunteer opportunities are available at Animal Care Services, San Antonio Public Library branches, the Office of Historic Preservation, Development Services, Human Services, and the Parks and Recreation Department.

Visit here to get more information about volunteering.

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Fifth graders from Highland Park Presbyterian Church were at Woodlawn Park to help with the volunteer efforts. Youth Pastor Roy Farias, a San Antonio native, said 50 fifth graders traveled to San Antonio from Dallas for a mission trip. He said the students are volunteering throughout the city at places like the San Antonio Food Bank and the Children’s Hunger Fund.

Farias said he scheduled the week-long volunteer events through DOOR, a faith-based network of six cities that provides volunteer and learning opportunities in the urban core of each.

Volunteer opportunities are sprouting up all over San Antonio. SA2020 has a powerful online platform to connect users to causes they believe in here. Other nonprofit organizations seeking volunteers include Red Cross, RAICES, United Way, and more. You might consider checking out the Big Give SA’s website for a list of local nonprofits if you’re looking for inspiration or a more specific opportunity.

Media met at Woodlawn Park’s Wifi room on Tuesday, a community space that provides wifi, restrooms, a health kiosk, and a digital library that uses QR codes for downloading.

“In the future we plan to have a cell phone docking station so if you’re running out of battery, you can come here,” Tello said.

*Featured/top image: Jerry Wayne stands before a bag of mulch as Ivan Chen runs to retrieve another bag. Photo by Joan Vinson. 

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Joan Vinson

Former Rivard Report Assistant Editor Joan Vinson is a San Antonio native who graduated from The University of Texas with a bachelor's degree in journalism. She's a yoga fanatic and an adventurer at heart....