An outlet for community service and personal growth is available for Riverside residents to improve and contribute to the city.
The program, Love Riverside, will host an annual Serve Day, Oct. 21, where collaboration and diversity merge with those who participate.
Love Riverside was founded by Lynn Heatley in 2015 and is a part of a larger nonprofit movement known as Love Our Cities, consisting of 50 cities. It is the first of its kind in the Inland Empire.
However, Heatley said they are currently looking to partner with a neighboring city.
The tagline for Love Riverside is “demonstrating kindness, spreading goodness and building community.”
Other core values include collaboration and communication of other great opportunities to give back to the city of Riverside.
The annual Serve Day will include projects such as beautification of the city, supporting families by building toddler beds or helping them find permanent housing, distributing food and supplies, gardening, painting, recycling and more.
Heatley said she sees this program as a great opportunity for those who get involved.
The projects offered to volunteers and the attitudes of collaborating between everyone elevates the spirit to give back to the community, according to Heatley.
“It is our desire that we will help others develop a lifestyle of generosity and a heart that gives back to its community in areas that people feel passionate about,” Heatley said. “How that looks will be different for each one.”
Instead of Serve Day being a one-time experience, Heatley said she hopes it will ignite a generous way of life in those who serve.
“We desire our Serve Day to be an on-ramp to developing a movement of a lifestyle of giving back,” Heatley said. “We love partnering with students in all of this and are hoping to develop an intern or mentoring program in the near future that would take our goals to a deeper level.”
Some California Baptist University students have signed up to help out with this year’s event.
Nathan Sells, sophomore civil engineering major and FOCUS leader, chose Love Riverside for his FOCUS class’ compassion service project.
“It’s crucial to participate in events like this,” Sells said. “Our society today is c very polarized and serving one another is a practical way we can develop good relationships and heal as a community.”
Love Riverside’s first Serve Day in 2016 consisted of more than 500 volunteers, which Heatley said was more than they were expecting. This year, she said they are hoping to be pleasantly surprised again.
For those unable to participate in Serve Day, Heatley said she encourages them to follow Love Riverside on social media @loveriverside16 for future service opportunities.