Written By Brandy Centolanza
One of my son’s biggest pet peeves is litter. On a third grade “My Life” worksheet he wrote that he “wanted to make the world a better place by picking up all the trash and stop littering.” At his request, we looked into participating in Virginia’s Adopt a Highway program, in which volunteers pick up litter along the state’s streets, but he is still a little young to become involved with it. Not to be deterred, he still collects any trash along his school’s nature trail and other trails we hike on. I admire his passion and determination on the matter at such a young age. I’ve always been a volunteer. In high school, I tutored. In college, I played bingo with the folks in local nursing homes and went on volunteer missions during “Alternative Spring Break.” Lately, I am an active volunteer at my children’s school. One of my goals this summer is to look into volunteer opportunities for both my kids. We will be helping to maintain the school garden, and may also help with a new garden that is being planted at Waller Mill Park. And along the way we will be cleaning up any trails that may have trash on them as we are out on our hikes. Since it is summer, we will look for ways to make a difference outdoors, but we are also passionate about animals, so we will also devote time, money, or resources to our local Heritage Humane Society. (My kids are obsessed with cats). We also routinely make food and clothing donations to FISH and Goodwill, and I hope to one day find some way to get involved with the American Cancer Society in honor of my late father. I think it is important for kids to learn they can make the world a better place, no matter how small, and if they have something that they are passionate about, they can find a way to take a stand in a positive manner and see results.