Volunteering for the whole family

At Good Done Great, we have the pleasure of seeing some of the world’s most recognizable brands do some really great philanthropy. I had been looking for an opportunity to introduce my 11 year old daughter, Lilly, to a good volunteer event. Luckily, we had been speaking to Belk corporation and heard about their cleanup and restoration day at the Cooper River Marina in Charleston.


It was all set up to be a fun, fast-paced morning divided into three projects:

Pick up litter in the marsh and along the shoreline. Rubber gloves, litter pickers, and trash bags will be provided. Trash and recyclables will be separated and routed to the appropriate disposal sites.

Bag oyster shells for a reef to be built at the Cooper River marina. Heavy lifting is involved, so it didn’t seem like this was a good opportunity for Lilly and her friend. The purpose of the project was to provide substrate for the recruitment of juvenile oysters and to restore valuable oyster habitat in areas where the population is depleting or lacking. Through this community-based restoration program, habitats for other animals are enhanced, estuarine water quality is improved, and the general public is educated about the importance of oysters in the ecosystem.

Building an oyster reef at the Cooper River Marina. Heavy lifting was involved (about 300 bags at 25lbs each), and there was no way that Lilly was up for this. Pre-filled bags are transferred from person to person from the loading area down to the build site where the reef is to be constructed.

In the end, we decided that the litter pick-up was perfect for me, and my two 11-year old helpers!

What we loved about it:

– Great informational sessions from the Charleston County Parks & Rec (see video), and from the SC Department of Natural Resources (see video).

– Fun to see how corporations engage their brands and partnerships in order to make a difference in the world (see video).

What kind of Impact did we make:
Over 30 bags of trash
500 bags of oysters at 30 pounds each
15,000 pounds of oyster shells to create a new reef
200,000 oysters will spawn
500,000 gallons of water will get filtered per hour

How do we rate the overall volunteer experience?

(check out our video)

All in all, this was a great way to introduce the family to volunteering. We not only had a unique experience that we will remember for a very long time, but we made a difference that has lasting impact.

(Volunteer Value:  B+)