The Atlanta BeltLine is a hands-on program and our continued success would not be possible without the work of our amazing volunteers. Special to our numerous forms of volunteering, our Adopt the Atlanta BeltLine program features community groups who want to play a direct role in maintaining certain segments along the Atlanta BeltLine.
The Pebble Tossers, a non-profit organization that provides resources for youth and families to get involved, maintains their portion of the Atlanta BeltLine that extends from Monroe Dr. to Cresthill Ave. Jen Guynn has been active with the youth group since she helped co-found the organization and has a lot to say about how far they’ve come.
Initially, we provided a search engine to match youth with community service, but as the demand has grown, we now host several projects each month. In addition to the BeltLine, we host projects with the Ronald McDonald House Charities, Senior Connections, SafeHouse Outreach, Atlanta Mission’s My Sister’s House, Create Your Dreams and many more.
After waiting a year to adopt along the Atlanta BeltLine, the group was finally able to claim a segment adjacent to Piedmont Park. Heading such a heavily trafficked area means the group always has work to do. With so much wear and tear along that area of the corridor, the impact they make is always visible; however, their duties aren’t all work and no play. The group also gets to experience the different activities the Atlanta BeltLine brings to the area. From being able to see art installations to actually meeting some of the artists, the Pebble Tossers are motivated to remain active within their community.
Keeping the Atlanta BeltLine beautiful corresponds with one of the Pebble Tossers core areas, environment. Organization leaders wanted to teach kids environmental responsibility and help them take ownership. Even Jen has established more than just a volunteer relationship with the Atlanta BeltLine.
I’ve met with several of our neighboring Adopters and have partnered with them to extend our section along with theirs. My entire family gets involved and they usually bring along friends. I’ve taken a bit of ownership to our section and really care about what is happening behind us with some upcoming redevelopment plans and how it will affect our section. I’m prepared to be the “nosy neighbor.
With countless experiences along the Atlanta BeltLine, these young volunteers have done it all. They’ve provided habitat areas, prepared a section for a pollinator and daffodil garden, hired a bobcat to move illegally dumped mulch, and even rebuilt erosion control buffers. They’ve also picked up litter, pulled invasive plants, and received permission to paint and install birdhouses to provide habitat areas. These young volunteers are helpful, and Jen notes that they’re also very innovative:
One great moment at the BeltLine was watching 3 young girls come up with an idea for a “Service Stick”. They picked up a stick and used it to move fallen leaves and lower hanging bushes to look for trash.
Clearly, these young volunteers are no stranger to hard work, and their efforts to keep the Atlanta BeltLine beautiful do not go unnoticed.
There are plenty of ways to volunteer with the Atlanta BeltLine and all of these opportunities can be seen at beltline.org/volunteers. As always, check out our events calendar to see what events can get you out and active on the Atlanta BeltLine.