By Aaron Henry
Louisville has provided such a great opportunity with so many parks to choose from to enjoy. However, with so many different parks, the need for assistance is vital in order to maintain these areas. The volunteer program is a key component to upholding these parks across the city.
Laura Ryan is the Volunteer Coordinator for the Metro Parks and Recreation department who is dedicated to supporting the Louisville community through the volunteer program. She is responsible for establishing an organized system for people interested in assisting the park development. Effective communication is a key component of her job to insure volunteers understand the needs of maintaining park facilities.
Last year there were over 8,000 volunteers and $1.5 million worth of work put into the parks program by Louisville’s generous citizens. This is a tremendous effort that helps to propel our city forward.
Seventy percent of the volunteers are made up of larger groups that assist with major maintenance issues such as playground repair, repainting benches, golf course maintenance and planting trees. These projects can also be included in the Adopt-A-Park program that allows organizations to coordinate various services projects for a specific park.
A number of the organizations have created their own programs in order to donate their time and effort to help with the Parks. Some of these include Metro United Way, Humana and Wilderness Louisville. Most Parochial schools also have a required amount of service hours that can be used to aid the Metro Parks and Recreation department.
One of the most popular events is the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at Iroquois Park in October. There is a need for 40 volunteers every night through the entire month! This takes a great deal of planning and dedication to create a fun experience for everyone. The event serves as a fundraiser for the non-profit Louisville Metro Parks Foundation, which seeks to make improvements to parks and playgrounds across the city.
There are several opportunities for individuals as well to help out. Louisville Metro Parks and Recreation also provides 15 different Community Centers around the city. These provide the ability to take part in a number of activities just like the parks.
There are several programs including sports teams and tutoring within a safe environment for both youth and families. In order to maintain these programs, there is a substantial need for volunteers as well.
The truth is we are all part of this city and we have the ability and privilege to give back while sharing these areas to benefit one another. Whether you volunteer to pick up trash at a park or coach for a basketball league at a community center. You have the chance to improve Louisville, while impacting other people’s lives.
If you would like to help with any of our parks or centers, please follow the link below to learn more about how to get involved.
You can also email Laura Ryan for more information.