Hundreds of volunteers tackle projects throughout Austin

The garden at JJ Pickle Elementary School.

AUSTIN (KXAN) — On Friday hundreds of volunteers will be spanning out across Austin to make improvements at schools and non-profits during the United Way of Greater Austin’s annual Spring Day of Caring. In all 600 volunteers will tackle 32 projects like the garden at JJ Pickle Elementary School in northeast Austin.

Five years ago special education teacher Judith Hutchinson had a vision for a piece of grass that ran between the buildings. Several classrooms have windows that look out onto it and it wasn’t being utilized. Hutchison received a $5,000 grant, had tons of volunteers come out, and a garden was created. Thanks to students and mainly volunteers throughout the year its maintained and gives kids an opportunity to learn science. Everything from water conservation, composting, and looking at bugs on leaves and how they are beneficial to the plants.

Hutchison believes kids end up finding an appreciation of nature and being outside.

“Kids really aren’t outside partly because of electronics or the safety of their neighborhood they aren’t getting outdoors enough so we are getting them outdoors in a way to appreciate nature instead of just messing around on the playground,” said Judith Hutchison, Special Education Teacher, JJ Pickle Elementary School.

The United Way of Greater Austin hopes this will help Austinites find something new in their community.

“I think when we all get together and we get to connect with other people in the community and go to give our time back through volunteering for a greater cause I think it makes us feel really good about ourselves,” said Jeffrey King, Development Officer, United Way.

Volunteer opportunities for the Day of Caring are filled, but volunteers are still needed at dozens of non-profits affiliated with the United Way. To find a volunteer project click here.

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