Throughout August and September, ACC chapters all over the country supported National Public Lands Day (npld.com) by participating in their own community service events around the country. Public Lands Day is the nation's largest hands-on volunteer effort to improve and enhance the public lands Americans enjoy. ACC and its chapters joined other volunteers this year to paint and frame houses, plant trees and help their local communities in other ways.
This is the third year that ACC chapters voted overwhelmingly to participate in an ACC Community Service Month. Originally conceived by James (Jim) Patton, former ACC board member and president of the South Florida Chapter, now national director of legal projects at Robert Half Legal, the National Community Service Month was envisioned to give ACC members an opportunity to give back to the community that has given them so much and to demonstrate that lawyers care about their local neighborhoods and parks.
Fifteen ACC Chapters participated in activities that focused on giving back to their community by helping to preserve local parks and other public lands as well as working with local schools and other community-based nonprofit organizations.
The participating chapters were Baltimore, Central Florida, Central Ohio, Colorado, Delaware Valley Area (DELVACCA), Georgia, Indiana, Minnesota, Mountain West, New Jersey (NJCCA), Northeast, Southern California (ACCA-SoCal), South Florida, Washington Metropolitan Area (WMACCA) and West Central Florida.
The Mountain West Chapter hosted two events for Community Service Month. The first event was a fun-filled day at the Moseley Center to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Ada County. Members hosted a variety of activities including a dunk tank, karaoke, a rhythm dogs performance, obstacle course, joust, water slide, and the club's first-ever talent show.
During the second community service event, members prepared lunches for families of bone marrow transplant recipients and other patients at a Ronald McDonald House in Salt Lake City, Utah. A Ronald McDonald House keeps families of ill children together when they need it most by offering them a comfortable, temporary residence in proximity to a medical facility. Each Ronald McDonald House provides a warm, supportive alternative to costly hotels and uncomfortable hospital waiting rooms.
The New Jersey (NJCCA) Chapter worked with member volunteers to fill up backpacks with back-to-school supplies for children in selected kindergarten and first grade classes of the Hudson Elementary School in Union City, NJ. Chapter members and ACC's headquarters office donated school supplies from the school supply list and book list and helped assemble 200 backpacks.
The Baltimore Chapter gave back to the community by helping Sandtown Habitat for Humanity perform construction-related tasks including painting, framing and demolition. Sandtown is a nonprofit that acquires and rehabilitates housing for low-income individuals.
The Central Florida Chapter worked with Seniors First to paint the exterior of a home for a local senior and took care of some much-needed interior repairs. Seniors First is a nonprofit corporation specializing in services to seniors and their families.
The Delaware Valley (DELVACCA) Chapter beautified Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia by planting flower bulbs and weeding the gardens.
The Georgia Chapter assisted foster children by volunteering at the Foster Care Support Foundation, an all-volunteer community resource dedicated to providing clothing, toys and infant equipment to foster care families and children. Chapter members shopped for goods requested by foster children, filling bags with items that the children could use in cold weather. They also sorted donations, restocked front racks and bins, took apart, washed and then put back together strollers and car seats, pulled and packed school supplies and bagged toys.
The Indiana Chapter helped the Neighborhood Christian Legal Clinic (NCLC) landscape its new office location in Indianapolis. NCLC provides legal assistance to low-income families throughout Central Indiana. Its programs include legal representation, preventive law education, HUD housing counseling and foreclosure prevention, low-income taxpayer clinic and immigrant outreach. Part of the ACC Indiana Chapter's mission is to encourage its members to perform pro bono services for the community.
The Minnesota Chapter worked with Hearts & Hammers to do exterior painting and some general landscaping for a homeowner in Northeast Minneapolis who needed help to beautify her home. Hearts & Hammers is a private, nonprofit organization serving local communities by organizing volunteers to revitalize homes. They select homeowners based solely on need.
The South Florida Chapter helped restore and re-nourish the trees, beach and nature trails at John Lloyd Beach State Park in Dania Beach. The 288-acre park is named for the late John Lloyd, a Florida attorney who helped the state acquire the island and served as the Broward County attorney for 30 years.
The Washington Metropolitan Area (WMACCA) Chapter members cleaned up Great Falls Park in Virginia.
The Central Ohio Chapter helped clean up the Tuttle Park Recreation Center.
The Northeast Chapter joined members of the Charles River Conservancy, Earthwatch, and alumni from McGill University to work on the banks of the Charles River, cleaning up the Christian Herter Park and Publick Theatre. Volunteers trimmed invasive plants, cleared underbrush, thinned trees, picked up trash and painted benches.
The West Central Florida Chapter helped clean up the coastline at Blackthorn Park.
The Southern California Chapter (ACCA-SoCal) contributed nearly 24 man hours to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store in Garden Grove, helping clean, tag merchandise, set up and organize displays, and move stock from the warehouse into the showroom to make it readily available for the store's customers. Working in teams for shifts of at least three hours each, the volunteers manned the store from the time it opened until almost closing.
And finally, the Colorado Chapter gave back to the community by helping Craig Hospital's Therapeutic Recreation Team host a bowling event for its patients. Craig Hospital is exclusively dedicated to the specialty rehabilitation and research for patients with spinal cord injury and traumatic brain injury. Craig has treated more than 25,000 patients since 1956 - more spinal cord injury patients than any other single facility in the world.