HandsOn Day: Tiny hands welcome!

HandsOn Day 2015 is Saturday, October 17th, and even the littlest of volunteers are needed to help in this effort to improve our community.

While HandsOn Greater Richmond spends every day connecting volunteer-minded individuals with the organizations that need them, its big shebang is HandsOn Day, a four-hour concentrated effort focused on getting Richmonders to work together to improve their community.

HandsOn Day 2015 will take place on Saturday, October 17th. Service hours are from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM, followed by a family-friendly celebration for all volunteers at Hardwood Park Craft Brewery from 1:00 to 3:00 PM.

Currently over 1,000 Richmond-area residents are signed up to take part in more than 60 service projects around town, and we hope you and your family will join them. After all, several volunteer opportunities are open to kids 13 and younger. While the HandsOn website allows you to search HandsOn Day service projects by age requirements, I went ahead and pulled a few that sounded particularly appropriate for even the littlest volunteers.

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The address and directions to the volunteer opportunity will be emailed to you once you register.

Halloween Decorating Party

  • Organization: Virginia Supportive Housing
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 5
  • Volunteers will: make and display Halloween decorations; paint pumpkins and clay Halloween ornaments; bake cookies; and spend time with VSH tenants

Green Thumb Saturday

  • Organization: Ronald McDonald House Charities of Richmond
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 10
  • Volunteers will: weed, water, and trim landscaping; paint the backyard playhouse; and assemble Grab-and-Go bags for families staying on-site (see opportunity description for details).

School Surround

  • Organization: John B. Cary Elementary School
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 6
  • Volunteers will: paint picnic tables; weed; pick up litter; and provide help in classrooms (cleaning, etc.) if needed.

A Birthday Card for All

  • Organization: Celebrate! RVA
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 4
  • Volunteers will: create and decorate birthday cards for the underprivileged children served by Celebrate! RVA.

Weed the Butterfly Garden

  • Organization: Linwood Holton Elementary School
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 8
  • Volunteers will: weed the butterfly garden paths; weed under the pavilion; and put down mulch.

GardenFest Light Install

  • Organization: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 10
  • Volunteers will: untangle light strands; place lights on shrubs, trees, walkways, and around the garden; and prepare the grounds for GardenFest 2015.

NAMIWalks Virginia Water Station

  • Organization: National Alliance on Mental Illness Virginia
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 10
  • Volunteers will: make green awareness ribbons to pass out during NAMIWalks Virginia; and cheer on and provide water to walk participants.

Pumpkin Carving

  • SupportOne
  • Age minimum (with adult supervision): 4
  • Volunteers will: work one-on-one with residents to decorate and make Halloween crafts; dance and hang out with volunteers; and help with event set-up and clean-up.


Can’t make it out on October 17th? Have kids too young to meet those on-site age requirements? These do-it-yourself projects are options for getting your kids in on the HandsOn Day action. Directions to drop-off facilities for each project will be emailed to you upon registration.

Dental Drive

  • Organization: Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services
  • Volunteers will: assemble resealable plastic bags with one tooth brush, one tube of toothpaste, and one container of dental floss (minimum of 10 bags, please).

Household Item Drive

  • Organization: CARITAS
  • Volunteers will: collect at least 10 dinner plates and 10 regular-sized bed pillows.

Homeless Connect Toiletry Kits

  • Organization: Homeward
  • Volunteers will: fill five one-gallon resealable plastic bags with travel-sized soap, lotion, shampoo, toothpaste, and hand sanitizer; one toothbrush; deodorant; a small package of tissues; and a warm note of encouragement.

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It may not have occurred to you that HandsOn is also a good cause for your dollars! Staffing, wrangling, organizing…it all takes the full-time concentration of more employees than you probably imagine.

If you’ve been teaching your children to put aside some of their money for giving and you can’t make it out to any of the events above, teach them how to celebrate HandsOn Day by turning their piggy bank into real results. Donate online and talk to your kid about what their money goes towards (they even give you some handy examples!).

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Please note: all volunteers must register with HandsOn prior to taking part in a service project. For more on HandsOn Day 2015–and what HandsOn is up to al year long–visit handsonrva.org.

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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