MARYSVILLE – For this organization, it’s all in the family.
This city is full of community service groups that encourage adults to volunteer.
Its school system also encourages its youth to volunteer.
But JJ Frank of the YMCA and Snohomish County Councilman Nate Nehring wanted to start a group that encourages families to volunteer together.
“It does two things: provides community service and strengthens families,” Nehring said.
Frank added, “Parents and children work together to serve their community. We don’t do that enough.”
The Marysville Tulalip Family of Volunteers participated in its first event Saturday, helping at the Dog Park with the Kiwanis One Day project, spreading mulch over the trail, which gets soaked during the rainy season. Marysville Dog Owners Group volunteers also joined in, timing trail work with a dog park cleanup party.
Nehring and Frank asked Mayor Jon Nehring and leaders of various civic organizations to be part of the planning committee. They want to do a service project once every quarter. Mayor Nehring said it’s a great organization for people who don’t have time to join service clubs. “But on a random Saturday you can come down and pitch in on a service project,” he said.
He said their first effort Saturday was a project that made an immediate impact.
“So many people walking the trail said they were grateful for us doing this,” he said. “It’s a slog” when it rains.
Paul Galovin came with his wife and son. They saw something online about it and “wanted to give back,” he said.
Nate Nehring said the goal now is to reach out to others to get more families involved. People can look online on service club Facebook sites, along with the YMCA’s, for the next project, which is tentatively set for August.
People can also give the group their email so they can be contacted directly.
Kiwanis president Steve Powell said he’d like churches to get involved because those families are used to doing things together. He also said he wants youth groups that volunteer like Key Club to get involved.
“Instead of parents dragging their kids to volunteer, it would be the other way around,” he joked.
Frank said the more people participate, the better.
“It makes us a stronger community,” he said, adding people can even come to planning meetings the second Wednesday of every month at 3:30 p.m. at the Y. “Any time people are more engaged it brings a sense of connection between people in communities serving together.”
Frank admitted getting his son and daughter out of bed on Saturday morning was a challenge, but once they were there, “They really enjoyed connecting with others in the community.”
Other “young students sometimes never have the experience of giving back, which is really the purposed of our efforts,” he said.