Archive for May, 2013

Marion Polk Food Share Launches a Youth Community Garden

Posted on May 31, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Marion-Polk Food Share is food distribution center that partners with nearly 100 direct-service charities.  They work with their network of partners to serve hungry families, children and individuals in Marion and Polk Counties.  Marion Polk Food Share (MPFS) has 6 different programs that work together to end hunger in our region. 


MPFS has a vast network of community gardens that offer a variety of goods and services to the community.  Community gardens help prevent families from needing emergency food and provide a much needed source of nutritious produce. MPFS supports a network of 50 gardens in Marion and Polk counties, ranging from school projects to urban farms to demonstration sites to neighborhood gardens.  They recently launched a Youth Farm on a two-acre vegetable farm in the heart of Salem.  The farm provides young adults with agricultural and business education while increasing access to fresh produce in the community. 


The MPFS Youth Farm, currently located at the Oregon School for the Deaf, will not only be an educational hub and a training center for the next generation of farmers, but also a local source for fresh, nutritious vegetables!


The MPFS Youth Farm will be involved in three specific projects for the 2013 growing season: managing a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model providing boxes of vegetables grown on the farm to 20 members for six weeks this summer, selling fresh produce at the Wednesday Farmers Market, and donating produce to the Marion-Polk Food Share. Check them out at the Salem Wednesday Market!


Exciting volunteer opportunities abound throughout the MPFS network community gardens! Their greatest need currently is for volunteers to help run afterschool gardening clubs. A basic knowledge of gardening and the passion to get children enthusiastic about fruits and vegetables is all that’s required. Visit to sign up.  With so many gardens throughout the region, there is bound to be one conveniently located near you. 


Melissa Padron is the program manager for HandsOn Willamette—a program of Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency. She can be reached at (877) 372-4141, or



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There’s Still Time to Sign up for the Superhero Dash!

Posted on May 17, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Last June, HandsOn Willamette hosted our inaugural Super Hero Dash. It was a fantastic opportunity for our supporters to come together (in costume) to make our community stronger…and have a blast while doing it! This year’s event is complete with a 10k for runners only, a 5k run/walk and a 1k for kids 10 and younger.  Join us for a day of fun to support HandsOn and its 400 partner organizations who utilize volunteers. 

As we gear up for our 2nd annual Dash, we want to make sure that you will be a part of it. It’s really simple and easy to participate:


1. Go to and register today! You can also register in person at Gallagher’s Fitness.  It’s $25 for adults / $10 for kids before the Dash, and $35 for adults / $15 for kids to register at the event.


2. Share that you’re attending on Facebook, Twitter and to your friends in an email, encouraging them to register too. 


3. Figure out which hero you’re going to dress like! Come as Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash Gordon, Captain America, Buffy, whoever you want or create your own alter ego. Remember, this is the best part of the Dash!  You may even win a prize!


And be sure to invite your friends and tell them which Superhero you’re dressing as!


This year HandsOn teamed up with Girls on the Run.  Girls on the Run is a local organization that encourages healthy habits in young girls through mentorship and running.  You can join their efforts by signing up to be a running buddy with a girl in the program.  We also have a variety of other volunteer needs at the event.  Sign up at 


We hope to see you and Superhero alter ego at the Dash on June 1. Your support helps HandsOn Willamette continue to mobilize volunteers to do good in our community.


Melissa Padron is the program manager for HandsOn Willamette—a program of Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency. She can be reached at (877) 372-4141, or


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World Beat Festival Volunteers Needed!

Posted on May 17, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Salem’s annual celebration of our cultural diversity celebrates its 16th year when the World Beat Festival takes place at Riverfront Park on June 29 and 30 this year. Oregon’s largest multicultural event, with 30,000 attendees, the Festival welcomes 400 volunteers each year over the weekend. These volunteers make the Festival actually happen, coordinated by 150 more volunteers who invest their energy year-round in planning and organizing.


“The Festival epitomizes how a successful non-profit grows precisely because it’s a grassroots movement of people motivated purely by their passion – a belief that Salem can be a more successful community if we take the time to celebrate and learn about the people from all over the world who call Salem their home” said Graham Morris, one of only two staff that coordinate the volunteer-driven organization.  Volunteers are needed for everything from set up and clean-up to greeting guests and vendors to sound checks and the children’s activity area. 


Each April the Festival starts gearing up the call for volunteers. “This year at the Festival we are focusing on Japanese culture,” said Morris.  There are still plenty of volunteer options available.  Visit to sign up.  If you prefer to sign up over the phone, call the World Beat office at 503-581-2004. 


Melissa Padron is the program manager for HandsOn Willamette—a program of Mid-Willamette Valley Community Action Agency. She can be reached at (877) 372-4141, or



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Join the National Child Awaremess Month Youth Ambassador Program

Posted on May 3, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

Originally posted by Youth Service America

Are you a young leader who wants to take your campaign or mission – or maybe your Global Youth Service Day 2013 project – to the next level? Then apply for the National Child Awareness Month Youth Ambassador Program (NCAM).

A project of YSA (Youth Service America) and Festival of Children Foundation, this year-long Ambassadorship will train youth (ages 16-22) to combat critical issues facing youth. The Youth Ambassadors will serve as community leaders, raising public awareness and leading change around their issue area.

51 Youth Ambassadors will be selected – one per state – creating a powerful national network of young people who raise their collective voice in service to other youth. Each Ambassador will receive $1,000 grant and will be flown to Washington D.C. for a leadership training program. Apply by June 16 at

YSA Grants staff will present two webinars for youth, adult mentors & parents interested in the program. Each webinar will provide an overview of the program, eligibility requirements, examples of strong applications, and information about the leadership training in DC.
Tuesday, May 21 at 5:00pm Eastern – Register here.
Thursday, June 6 at 5:00pm Eastern – Register here.

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