by Patrick Bailey, Guest Author

After a long winter and chilly, wet spring, our days are finally heating up. For many, summer also means traveling and vacation. However, there is so much to do close to home in our beautiful county. This year, why not use summer as a time to make a difference in our community? Below are six great opportunities to get out, explore the county, and get involved in making southern Indiana a better place to live. Regardless if your passion is for animals, the environment, children, or adults in need, there is an opportunity that is perfect for you and your family.

 

July Clean Up

When: Saturday July 13, 2019, 8:00–10:00 AM

Where: Tepe Park Area, Evansville

Registration: To sign up as a volunteer for the July Clean Up, visit Clean Evansville's website at http://www.cleanevansville.org/ShowEvent.aspx?ID=105 and click the Sign Up link under the map.

Clean Evansville is an anti-litter campaign sponsored by the City of Evansville, the Keep Evansville Beautiful organization, and volunteers from the Clean Committee. Their goal is to create a beautiful city where people are proud to work, play, and live. Part of their efforts involve getting the whole community together to clean up various areas of the city.

If you cannot participate on July 13th or you would like to make a monthly commitment to keeping the city beautiful, there are also community cleanup events on June 1st, August 3rd, September 14th, October 5th, November 2nd, and December 7th.

 

CASA Volunteer Training

When: June 3–6th from 5:30 to 8:30 PM, June 11th or 12th from 8:00–11:00 AM, and June 17–20th from 5:30–8:30 PM

Where: CASA Office (728 Court St. Evansville

Registration: To register for the CASA volunteer training, visit CASA's website at https://vandcasa.com/ and click on the red Volunteer Now button at the top of the page.

CASAs, or court-appointed special advocates, are volunteers who are sworn officers of the juvenile court. They are appointed to advocate for children who are currently living in foster care. In Indiana, there has been a steep increase in the number of children in foster care, due in large part to the growing opioid and addiction crisis. CASA volunteers make a difference in the lives of these children by advocating for their best interest. CASAs are a consistent presence in the lives of foster children, which gives them someone to trust and turn to.

As a CASA volunteer, you will work with the court system and child welfare professionals, as well as the child's teachers, therapists, and service providers to gather information needed to so that the best-possible and most well-informed decisions are made for the child.

To become a CASA volunteer, a personal interview is required prior to beginning training. In addition, you must provide three references and submit to a background check.

 

Tri-State Food Bank Volunteer Blitz

When: 1st and 3rd Saturday of each month from 9 AM until noon

Where: Tri-State Food Bank (801 E. Michigan St. Evansville)

Register: To volunteer for a Saturday Volunteer Blitz, sign up at https://signup.com/client/invitation2/secure/2138961/false#/invitation

Food insecurity is a significant issue in Vanderburg county and the Tri-State Food Bank has been working hard to help combat this. Twice a month, volunteers are needed to come to the food bank and help in their mission. The tasks vary and volunteers might be needed to assemble backpacks for the Weekend Backpack Food for Kids Program, sort and label food items, pack food boxes for seniors, clean the facility, assist with office tasks, or help with special events. All volunteers must be at least eight years of age or older, and children 8–15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

 

Cardio for Canines

When: Every Saturday morning at 8:00 AM

Where: Vanderburgh Humane Society's rear lobby

Registration: No registration is needed. Simply show up on a Saturday morning to fill out a short registration form. Photo ID and filling out the form are required for your first visit.

If you love walking outdoors and have a passion for four-legged friends, the Vanderburgh Humane Society encourages you to meet a new canine friend each Saturday morning. Rain or shine (except in the most extreme winter weather), volunteers can come to the Humane Society and be matched with a dog who would love to get out and walk with you. You and your new friend will walk around Garvin Park until 9:30 AM.

You must be 18 years of age or older to control the leash, but children and strollers are always welcome to join you on your walk.

 

Evansville Rescue Mission Food Service

When: Food service hours are as follows:

Breakfast: Monday through Friday, 6 AM–8 AM and Saturday/Sunday 7 AM–9 AM

Lunch: Monday through Saturday 11:30 AM–1:30 PM, Sunday 12 PM – 7 PM

Dinner: Everyday 5–7 PM

Where: Evansville Rescue Mission's Residence Center (500 E. Walnut St. Evansville)

Registration: Contact Victoria Flaherty at 812-421-3800 or victoria.flaherty@ermstaff.org. A volunteer application can also be found at the bottom of ERM's volunteer page: https://www.evansvillerescuemission.org/how-you-can-help/volunteer/

Evansville Rescue Mission serves three hot meals a day seven days a week. They serve homeless guests that are currently staying in their residential center, as well as members of the general public who need a hot meal. ERM is in need of volunteers to help serve these meals. They also need assistance with unloading, sorting, and preparing donations in their thrift store and helping at their summer camp programs. Youth under age 16 are welcome to volunteer but must be accompanied by an adult.

 

Race for Recovery 5K

When: Saturday August 10th

Packet pickup and late registration begin at 7 AM and the race starts at 8 AM.

Where: Garvin Park (Heidelbach Ave. Evansville, Indiana 47711)

Registration: To register for the Race for Recovery 5K, visit https://www.riseupandrun.com/race-for-recovery-5k/ and click the registration button at the bottom of the page.

Drug and alcohol addiction has been front and center in the news lately, especially with the increasing impact of the nation's opiod crisis. To help combat this, the Vanderburg County Substance Abuse Council is raising awareness about this significant problem through the 2019 Race for Recovery. Funds from this 5K will go to reducing barriers for those seeking drug rehabilitation treatment and increasing efforts to prevent substance abuse in Vanderburg County.

Each participant will receive a t-shirt and there are medals for the top finishers in each age bracket.

Now that it's finally heating up, grab your family and head out to one of these great community-building events and truly make a difference in your community and the world this summer!