“The most common reason for not volunteering is lack of free time (about half of Americans cite this as the main reason), and another common reason is that the volunteer schedules and commitments are too inflexible.”

Research has shown that while over 90% of us want to volunteer, only 1 out of 4 Americans actually do. Did you know there is a relationship between volunteering and improved physical health and cognitive function? Research also shows that volunteers report elevated mood and less depression, and that volunteers report increased social interactions and social support, better relationship quality, and decreased loneliness. So, if most of us want to volunteer, and we believe it is good for us, why aren’t all of us volunteering?

“I don’t have enough time and volunteer schedules are too inflexible”
The most common reason for not volunteering is lack of free time (about half of Americans cite this as the main reason), and another common reason is that the volunteer schedules and commitments are too inflexible. Which is interesting because retirees (who presumably have enough time) do not volunteer at higher rates than employees, and people ages 35 to 44 (those most likely to have young children at home and be employed) volunteer at slightly higher rates.
One solution is to understand about “volunteering inertia”, which is basically the habit we create by volunteering or not volunteering. Research shows people who volunteer before retirement are more likely to volunteer in retirement (75%). In contrast, only about a third of retirees who did not volunteer while working begin to volunteer in retirement. This suggests there is a “sweet spot” for volunteer recruitment in the years prior to retirement.
Another possible solution is to make volunteering more accessible and automatic. If working parents are volunteering, is most likely at their kids’ schools, which is a location they are already frequenting daily. Employers could encourage volunteerism on-site or in a proximate location. Organizations could be more flexible in the way they use volunteer work, including work that could be done at home, or during evening or weekend hours.

“No one asked me to”
One out of 4 people say they don’t volunteer because no one asked them to; so, let’s ask! Research shows the organizations that are most successful at recruiting and retaining volunteers have a designated volunteer coordinator. KFB does!  Alison Anderson, BOD and Volunteer Coordinator, can answer any of your questions about volunteer opportunities. alison@keepflorencebeautidul.org  Volunteers want to feel included in the goals of the organization, and that their work (even if unpaid) is valued and appreciated. Employers and schools can help with asking as well. High schools and colleges are already requiring volunteer service, and many employers are offering paid time off to volunteer or including it as a part of their wellness plans. KFB has incentive programs in place, just ask us.

Keep Florence Beautiful has many volunteer opportunities; here are some:
Great American Cleanup (Spring)
River Sweep (Fall)
Monthly Cleanups (Annual)
Working our booth at the City Centers Farmers Market (Annual)
Education (Annual)
Installing bat boxes (Fall)
Creating Green Spaces (Annual)
Adventure Race (September)
Keep Florence Beautiful is always looking for NEW opportunities, please let us know how we can help the community.


Source: Stanford Center on Longevity Amy Yotopoulos

How to Reduce Waste

by Jessica Harrington, Keep Florence Beautiful Board Member and Adopt A Street Coordinator

5 Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Everyday Life

A lot of things we do in our everyday life can add up to have a major impact on the environment.  Sometimes, it is best to start with small changes and work your way up.  We have put together what we believe are five simple ways to make a lasting change.  

  1. Use a reusable water bottle. By using a reusable water bottle, you are eliminating the use of plastic beverage containers. You also eliminate the gas emissions and packaging that comes from shipping these plastic containers.  Another added bonus is you save money by not purchasing more expensive drinks on a whim.
  2. Use reusable grocery bags.  Reusable grocery bags have become more popular in recent years.  However, you do not have to use them for just groceries.  You can take them in any store with you and a lot of stores give you a discount for using them which saves you money.  Put them in your back seat or somewhere you will remember to grab them everywhere you go.
  3. Recycle.  You can reduce waste by purchasing products with reduced packaging and packaging that is recyclable.  However, not everything is recyclable in Florence so check labels before you buy.  For a list of items that are recyclable in Florence, click here Recycling | City of Florence, SC.
  4. Buy second hand items and donate used goods. Before you rush to the store to buy something new, consider checking with your local consignment shop.  You could save money and repurpose an item at the same time. You will also most likely be supporting local charities which will give you the feel good factor on top of everything else.
  5. Support your local farmers and businesses.  Not only will you be directly putting money back into your local community, you will also reduce waste that comes along with shipping and transporting goods from afar.  Florence has a City Center Market every Saturday from 9 to 1 with local farmers and vendors directly from your area.  Also, we are there every third Saturday of the month!

We can all make a difference to lower the impact we have on our environment.  All it takes is a few simple steps to get going.  If you are interested in other ways you can reduce waste at home, work, school and just overall, visit the EPA website here Reducing Waste: What You Can Do | US EPA.

Please always be a part of the solution and remember to Keep Florence Beautiful!


Love Circles

Love Circles, Melisa Hargrove

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share my thoughts on how we can make the earth our Valentine this month, one “love circle” at a time. We all have many loves. I imagine a bullseye, with circles that start in the center and work their way out. To have an impact, we just need to do little things in each of our “love circles.”

Keep Florence Beautiful wants to help us impact each of our love circles. Please consider subscribing to our newsletter and following us on Facebook. These are simple ways to stay in touch with us. Once you have subscribed (or if you already subscribe) to our newsletter/updates, make sure we don’t end up in spam or in a “promotions” folder.

My center love circle is me. I often think of myself first. So how can I personally show the planet some love this month in a way that is completely selfless (no benefit to self)? I am struck with the thought that most every action of love (even if it appears selfish on the surface) benefits someone or something. The most selfless actions of love are ones that are secret. No fan fair, no thanks you, no accolades. So … my suggestion, is just pick up one piece of trash without telling a single person.

The next love circle in my love bullseye is my family and friends. Goodness, I love these people. I want to leave this planet healthy for my grandson, who is not quite two years old. He loved the recent snow and called it bubbles (oh the mind of a two-year-old). The snow covered everything: the grass, dirt, and litter. It was nice to see everything covered with a clean blanket of snow/bubbles. But that only lasted a short time and then the ground was muddy, and the trash was visible again. My suggestion to show the planet some love is to take your young loved ones (they are the ones that we can most influence about the environment) to a place where litter is prevalent and then to a place that is clean. The visual impact of litter can forever influence a young person.

My next love circle is the outdoors. From a young age, my parents encouraged outdoor activities. I have not always enjoyed them, nor was I an athletic child. But the constant outdoor activities made me appreciate and enjoy nature. Now, if you want to find me on the weekends, look for me outside. Why? … Because I love the peace and wonder of nature. As a result of loving it so much, I want nature protected. There are so many ways we can protect nature. One simple way is we can use a reusable water bottle instead of a disposable one, but the list is endless.

The outer rings of my love circle are my neighbors. My neighbors vary from my co-workers, those who live on my street; and people in my town, county, country, and planet. How can I impact my neighbors? Just like the circles of love, we start close to home and work our way out. This month I am excited to be starting Mini Clean Ups with Keep Florence Beautiful. These will be short clean ups during lunch for about 30 minutes in different places around Florence. The goal will be to have an impact in a small area in a short time. Our first Mini Clean Up will be on February 24, 2022 at 12:30 pm at Jeffries Creek Park. Look for the Event on our Facebook page. I hope you will take this opportunity to do something simple with me to show the planet some love.

Melisa Hargrove

Keep Florence Beautiful Secretary

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