This year, we have been able to cultivate more than 1,000 volunteers and reach over 15,000 members of our community. For both of us, this was a dream come true!
“Last year, Mobile Baykeeper started the Litter-Free Mardi Gras campaign, and it was the most substantial volunteer opportunity I have experienced. This campaign allowed me to see first hand the impact Mardi Gras has on our local waterways.”
-an excerpt from “The Mardi Gras Epiphany” by Boris Kresevljak, Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Member, Volunteer Engagement Program
“I have worked with other environmental groups in Alabama and Virginia, but never one where the employees and members are so friendly, dedicated, and passionate about their mission. The inspiration is clear: this area is beautiful and environmentally valuable.”
-an excerpt from “Why I Volunteer” by Julie Biskner
“At that moment I realized how much of an impact one individual can have on another. All I gave her was a little of my time and that time meant the world to her. To have someone listen and talk to her meant more to that little girl than anything. In the end, I taught that second grade class how to write poems, but they taught me about compassion and acceptance.”
-an excerpt from “The Elementary Volunteer” by Emilee Foster, Mobile Baykeeper AmeriCorps Member, Volunteer Engagement Program
"They arrived at a church where they would stay. You could see the water lines on the walls nearly 20 feet up. When the levees broke, it flooded most of the area where the students were helping. It was at that moment the young man realized a deep feeling inside- desire."
-an excerpt of "Finding the Desire to Volunteer" by Chad Chappell, Mobile Baykeeper Membership & Volunteer Coordinator
“Get involved!” We hear that all the time, but with today’s social, more like ‘unsocial’ media, people generally stay to themselves. “Let someone else get involved”; “I don’t have time”; “I don’t know how” are a few of the many excuses we give ourselves. It’s easier to cheer on those making an impact than to take the time and effort to do something yourself. I hate to admit it but I was one of those people. Getting involved always sounded good and being a part of change felt like the right thing to do, but only intending to get involved is as far as I ever got. Now that I am a parent, I want more than anything for my kids to be a part of something. I try not to steer them only to the things I feel are important, but to steer them in a direction for a better tomorrow, whatever direction that takes them.
Before coming on board at Mobile Baykeeper I was well aware of the ‘typical’ environmental issues. Litter, recycling and of course that unforgettable BP oil spill. I thought I was doing my part. I wasn’t one to throw trash on the ground, I tried my best to not use those awful plastic grocery bags and as far as the oil spill, yes, I supported the efforts along side hundreds of others at the Jimmy Buffet concert (major sarcasm). But in truth, there was so much more going on around me that I missed out on that I don’t want my kids to miss out on. Working at Mobile Baykeeper has opened my eyes to a lot of things we do as citizens that harm our environment, but it has also shown me how much a citizen can do to turn that around. From the big issues that we stand behind in Mobile’s City Council meetings, to the smaller issues that we tackle in our own backyards, there is a level of commitment we can all make.
Living by the water all of my life I have had my share of seafood and spent many summers riding waves and building sandcastles at the beach and I want my kids to enjoy the same. Don’t we all? My job at Mobile Baykeeper has allowed me to be a part of bringing awareness to communities so they too can begin to see how much volunteering can make a difference.
Statistics show that people who volunteer have a more fulfilling life. Families that volunteer together develop a tighter bond and their children will most likely go on to volunteer as an adult. Putting down our cell phones, getting outside and volunteering has definitely brought my family together and it is my hope that my kids will continue volunteering well into their adult years, and who doesn’t want to pass down the love of giving back to their children?
Whether it is time, money or service, giving back makes us better people. Giving back, getting involved, & making a difference, these are all broad terms that really mean the same thing. Finding the level of giving back is the key. That’s what I love about Mobile Baykeeper. There are many levels of involvement and I’ve learned to break it down into 3 easy steps:
- Start Local – Look in your own backyard. Get involved with a local organization that deals with an issue that interest you. You can find out more on Mobile Baykeeper here
- Get Informed – Sign up to receive information and updates on what is going on in the community and ways you can help. Get our e-newsletter here
- Pass It On – What better way to learn than to teach! Sign up for a workshop or training to learn about the issues that you can take out into your community or neighborhood. See our workshops here
My role at Mobile Baykeeper as Membership & Volunteer Coordinator has allowed me to really get to know our members & volunteers. I would love to meet you and hear your story. If you are working on improving your community or you see others making an impact, I invite you to take photos or comment with the hashtag #MBKimpact. If you want to join us in our mission for clean water, clean air & healthy communities check out our website. Now get out there and make an impact! I look forward to hearing from you!
- Holly Dayton
Volunteer & Membership Coordinator