Fall in the Pacific Northwest pretty much means two things: a lot of leaves, and a ton of rain. September rolls around and it begins to get cooler out and the leaves begin to fall. By November it’s raining most days and getting dark before five. The leaves that fell all through early autumn become damp and moldy if left unattended, creating a strange musty smell and clogging drainpipes and gutters. Many people in our community are unable to take care of their leaves due to their age, physical handicaps or the massive amounts of leaves that fell into their yards. Every year my YVC program puts out advertisements through Parks and Recreation to give people the opportunity to have their leaves taken away for free. We always get a bunch of calls so we often have two days where we go out and rake yards. Then, we take all the leaves we collected and bring them to be composted and turned into fertilizer by the city.
The annual leaf rake with Youth Volunteer Corps is one of my favorite projects to participate in all year. It’s so rewarding to be able to see the smiles on the faces of the people we’ve helped, they often give us a card or candy as a thank you! I love coming year after year and seeing the same people, it’s cool to know the person you are helping directly, especially because a lot of our projects are more indirect. Raking leaves is a fun activity on its own, but to be able to do it with a great group of people makes it even better. It’s satisfying to see the yard before and after you’ve raked it, knowing you did all that hard work. It’s a ton of physical work, but it goes quickly with a big group of volunteers and there’s a ton of time to have fun and play in the leaves as well!