Welcome back to my column on getting involved in urban community improvement projects! I hope that you’ve recovered from another fabulous Urban Nights event last Friday. The Downtown Dayton Partnership coordinated the event, which required not only the work of dozens of their own volunteers, but also that of the hundreds providing art and entertainment, and even eighteen climbing experts who kept novices from falling off a 27-story building! I enjoyed guiding visitors on the RTA shuttles and got to see the public art installation You Are Here! which reminded us to be more involved in the place and times in which we live. So with that in mind, here are this week’s volunteer opportunities:
Get your neighborhood outside!
Just because it’s getting a little colder doesn’t mean you have to retreat inside! Its important for urban neighborhoods to have the face-to-face interaction that comes from walking, biking, and being outdoors in general.
- Bike valet at Oktoberfest: As part of their efforts to encourage biking, Bike Miami Valley is providing a bicycle valet area at various local events. They need a crew of volunteers to staff the valet at the DAI Oktoberfest in Dayton’s Grafton Hill neighborhood this weekend, Sep. 22-23. Volunteers get free admission! E-mail Laura if you can help.
- Help build a pocket park: Our updayton Streetvival team meets this Thursday to plan fundraising & work days for a new park at the corner of Xenia & McClure in the Twin Towers neighborhood. We especially invite handy people with construction and landscaping knowledge to join our team! Sep. 20, 7pm at the Trolley Stop patio. Contact me for more info and stay tuned for more efforts to turn Twin Towers into the Street Art Capital of Ohio!
PARK it in the streets! PARK(ing) Day is a celebration of urban greenspace in which volunteers in cities around the world transform parking spaces into temporary parks. Lisa Helm has instigated local parklets for the last few years and needs volunteers to help with the Garden Station-sponsored space in front of Blind Bob’s, this Friday, Sep. 21. Assistance needed setting up the park at 7am, tearing down at 5pm, and programming/staffing it in between – e-mail Lisa if interested. There will also be City Hall and Library parks as well.
- Dayton World Soccer Games: Support our immigrant communities through soccer (er, football) spectating at the first ever Dayton World Soccer Games. I’m sure you’ve seen the endless international press the City of Dayton has gotten for its Welcome Dayton initiative – here’s a fun way to take part. Sep. 21-22, Action Sports Center.
- Dog park clean-up: Dayton Unleashed is organizing a clean-up of downtown Dayton’s new volunteer-run dog park at Deeds Point for the weekend of Sep. 29-30. Bring your dog, gloves and any brush removal tools you own; they’ll start at 9am and work until about 1pm. If you can do both days great, if not, pick a day and bring your best bud. Make new friends for the both of you! Questions? Contact Karen Stephens at 937.510.6900 or e-mail her. Follow their group for more ways to get involved, discuss downtown dog issues, and get details on the upcoming Doggie Fashion Show.
- Midwest Outdoor Experience (formerly GearFest) has grown beyond just gear and exploded into a multi-day event, featuring camping, competitions, regional music acts, exciting demos, a Friday and Saturday night beer garden and more! So bike on down to Eastwood MetroPark at the city’s eastern edge, October 5-6. Volunteers can sign up and and find all the information they need, including info an upcoming training, here.
If you must stay inside…
- Help Dayton school kids succeed! There will be an event this Thursday at Ruskin Neighborhood School Center to show how community members can help the K-8 students succeed in reading and more. Sep. 20, 5-6:30pm, 407 Ambrose Ct.
- Cityfolk was launched in 1980 by Five Oaks volunteers in a neighborhood park to showcase cultural diversity. In three decades it’s grown far beyond that original series to include the festival, year-long concert series, and educational programming that we know today. Unfortunately a terrible weekend of festival weather threatens Cityfolk’s future and they need to replace the $100,000 loss to allow it to continue. Please donate at Cityfolk.org.
- I-75 construction update: Learn how the final(!) stage of downtown interstate modernizations will impact you at one of six information sessions ODOT is holding this week. Download the flyer here. Bike Miami Valley is encouraging cyclists to attend the Wednesday evening session to discuss impacts on cyclists.
- Engage in poverty reduction: Learn about local efforts to fight poverty at the next of the City of Dayton’s 2012 Community Engagement Workshops. More information here and to RSVP, contact Verletta Jacksonor 937-333-3670.
Have a great week and remember to share your opportunities and report your successes back here!