Building a Greener Community, One “Green Thumb” at a Time

November 30, 2021 — By Abby, CORE Reserve Volunteer


I recently had one of the best Saturday mornings when I joined Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) volunteers and Willowbrook Community Gardens members in early winter garden preparations. Having worked the last couple of years with CORE mainly on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic response and with many of the same (wonderful) people at the same location, I was excited for the opportunity to meet new people and contribute to another cause supporting the community. CORE is nurturing an ongoing relationship with Willowbrook Community Garden, recruiting 10 volunteers monthly to help maintain the garden. Willowbrook receives support from the Los Angeles Community Garden Council, but thrives from the support of volunteers. They hold community events and offers scholarships to young members of the community, among many other things. 

We arrived at Willowbrook Community Gardens early Saturday morning, did a meet and greet with one another and received a quick overview of the garden’s function and history within the community from our delightful site-rep, Rose, who has been a member of the garden since its inception. With gloves and tools in hand, we went straight to work. Our work focused on pulling weeds in growing beds so the existing plants would thrive while clearing new beds for incoming plants.

I enjoyed learning bits about my fellow weed-pullers, plants and the Willowbrook community. Willowbrook has dedicated over 10 beds to growing vegetables, 5 beds for growing fruits, and with CORE we planted 2 beds of California Native plants.

As someone who loves gardening, but lacks a green thumb, learning from Willowbrook’s Rose and Ned, as well as my fellow CORE volunteers, is something I enjoy about volunteering with CORE. I always learn something new about life and about my community. I look forward to the next community event where I can get my hands dirty in service of CORE and its excellent partners.

Join Abby and her fellow volunteers working with CORE and the #CaliforniansForAll Local Volunteer Cadre by visiting their website, here. Abby has been a Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) Reserve Volunteer for 2 years and is an activated and engaged member of the #CaliforniansForAll local cadre in Southern California. CORE is a crisis response organization that brings immediate aid and recovery to underserved communities across the globe, while working proactively to build community resiliency through preparedness training. CORE’s ultimate vision is to ensure future disasters’ first responders are community-based leaders who can meet their needs through local assets and resources, first and foremost.

Recent blog posts

Volunteer City, USA: Huntington Beach Do Gooder

BLOG Volunteer City, USA: Huntington Beach Do GooderOctober 28, 2021Meet Phil. He might hail from Iowa, but for the last 45 years, Phil has called Huntington Beach, home. Phil is one of those individuals who, in retirement, has an even fuller “dance card.” Having...

AmeriCorps Member Spotlight – Clarissa Ornelas

BLOG AmeriCorps Member Spotlight - Clarissa Ornelas Clarissa was born and raised in Santa Maria, California, where she dedicated many years to working hard and raising her five children. As a single mother, Clarissa always had to work hard to give her children the...