When 30 young volunteers head to Irwindale on Dec. 28, they will be traveling to leave their mark on Mission Viejo’s history. The 13- to 16-year-old group of volunteers will spend 8 hours putting the finishing touches on the City’s Tournament of Roses Parade float, “Making a Splash.”
The volunteers are from Lion’s Heart and the National Charity League. Lion’s Heart is a charity organization consisting of 7th to 12th grade students who volunteer their time to different local charities. Members of the National Charity League devote their time to community service activities and giving back. The volunteers are among several others who will swarm over the float in the days after Christmas leading up to the 120th Tournament of Roses Parade.
Mari Belko, whose two children are active volunteers, is leading the charge of volunteers who will travel by bus from the City’s Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center to Irwindale where the float is being built. When the kids learned about the opportunity to help decorate the City’s flower-bedecked float, they jumped at it.
“Some of these kids, especially the older ones, put in about 100 volunteer hours a year for different organizations,” Mari said. “The thing that is so neat for the kids is that they get to support their community, spend hours with their friends and see the fruits of their labor on national TV the day of the Rose Parade.”
The volunteers will leave Mission Viejo at 3 p.m. and return by 11 p.m. It will be a labor of love for the group – which also volunteered during “Dry Flowering Days” in town – as every inch of the float must be covered with flowers or other natural materials, such as leaves, seeds or bark. The most delicate flowers are placed in individual vials of water, which are set into the float one by one.
Mari said the kids are extremely thankful for the opportunity and to the City.
“It is so exciting for the kids to take part in this, but they are also so grateful for being treated so well by the City,” Mari said. “They are being transported, fed and are getting a trinket and T-shirt … they do not expect anything in return and that doesn’t ever happen. The City’s treatment has made a huge impact on the kids, and they love it!”