“How can I help?”

July 7, 2015 -  By

palmieriI just committed 20. What does that mean, exactly? I made an online pledge to volunteer 20 hours of my time by the end of 2015.

If Sun Valley Landscaping—the company featured in this month’s cover story—has its way, my volunteer time will be just a fraction of the 10,000 hours people will rack up under a campaign called Commit20, which it launched this year to celebrate the company’s 20th anniversary.

As I write this, some of my colleagues are committing a few hours of their time, helping install landscape beds at a Project EverGreen project, led by Yardmaster in Cleveland. I couldn’t be there with them because, ahem, I’m on deadline, but I do plan to complete my Commit20 hours, nevertheless.

How could I not do my part, after reading the inspiring stories in this issue, including Sun Valley’s efforts and those of the winners of the 2015 National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP) Community Stewardship Awards, featured in
our supplement this month?

On my own, I can’t build an outdoor classroom, like the team at Jacobsen Landscape Design & Construction has done. I can’t renovate a baseball field, like the Ewing team did; and I can’t fund and build a Habitat for Humanity home, like LawnAmerica has done—twice. But here’s what I can do.

I can be a better PTA parent at my daughters’ school, meaning I’ll give my time rather than just pay my annual membership fee.
I can commit to volunteering monthly, rather than sporadically, with my coworkers to serve lunches at the Bishop William M. Cosgrove Center in Cleveland.

I can schedule my annual trip to volunteer at the NALP Renewal & Remembrance event at Arlington National Cemetery.

And I can get in touch with an organization I’ve been meaning to contact for the past few weeks: the Ohio Fallen Heroes Memorial. Located near Columbus, Ohio, this memorial is a beautiful tribute to the men and women in uniform from Ohio who’ve been killed defending our country since Sept. 11. My husband and I took our daughters there on Memorial Day this year.

When we were planning our trip, I noticed their website had some broken links. “Someone should fix those,” I thought. Why not me? I can certainly give them a few hours of my time to help update their website or do whatever else they might need me to do.

Opportunities to help pop up all the time, but then life gets in the way before we take action. But my pledge to Commit20 will remind me to stop saying “Someone should…” and start saying, “How can I help?”

This issue of LM is packed with ideas for ways you can get involved in your community from our Editorial Advisory Board (page 7), in the cover story about Sun Valley Landscaping (page 26) and from the winners featured in the supplement (starting after page 32). If you need even more inspiration, check out Commit20.com. And don’t forget to make your pledge while you’re there.

About the Author:

Marisa Palmieri is an experienced Green Industry editor who's won numerous awards for her coverage of the landscape and golf course markets from the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association (TOCA), the Press Club of Cleveland and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE). In 2007, ASBPE named her a Young Leader. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, cum laude, from Ohio University’s Scripps School of Journalism.

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