You Can Be Part of the ‘Arlington Way’

Opportunities to get involved in Arlington are diverse and fun.

There are more than a hundred ways to get involved in Arlington. To name just a few:

  • The Outdoor Lab: The Phoebe Hall Knipling Outdoor Lab is a 225-acre facility that provides science and outdoor education to the students of Arlington County Public Schools. In this natural classroom, urban youth — often for the first time — can run in a meadow, climb a mountain, hike beside a stream, or fish in a pond. The non-profit Arlington Outdoor Education Association owns the land and buildings and partners with Arlington Public Schools who provide the teachers, buses and science programming at the Outdoor Lab. Volunteers and donations are welcome. See:

  • Master Gardeners of Northern Virginia: Offered by Virginia Cooperative Extension (VCE), Arlington County Office, in partnership with the City of Alexandria, the VCE Master Gardener program trains participants in best management practices of gardening and landscaping techniques that preserve and sustain the environment.

  • Tree Stewards of Arlington/Alexandria: Volunteers who take the lead to enhance a sustainable urban forest through volunteer activities and public education programs. Volunteer activities include planting, pruning, mulching and watering of street, park and school trees; staffing informational booths at farmers’ markets and local festivals; leading neighborhood Tree Walks and speaking at community gatherings; advocating for trees wherever and whenever needed. For more:

  • Audubon Society of Northern Virginia: ASNV’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth's biological diversity. They offer bird walks, bird counts, classes, and other “outside” activities perfect for a pandemic era. See:

  • Arlington Foster Parents: Arlington Foster Care/Adoption Program's mission is to provide temporary living arrangements, care and parenting for children who can no longer live in their homes because of abuse, neglect or other severe family problems.

  • Challenging Racism: This local group was founded to promote “a just and anti-racist society that celebrates personal stories and bears witness to our shared humanity.” Through volunteers, their mission is to empower and inspire people to disrupt racism one compassionate conversation at a time.

  • Restorative Justice: Restorative practices help build community and create effective responses to conflict and harm. The Restorative Arlington initiative is bringing people together to plan how we will adopt restorative practices in Arlington's legal system, schools and community settings.

  • NAACP, Arlington Branch: The vision of the National Association for the ​Advancement of Colored People is to ensure a society in which all individuals have equal rights without discrimination based on race. The Arlington branch is active in the local community. See:

  • EcoAction Arlington is a group that protects and improves water, air, and open spaces in the Arlington community and nearby areas by promoting stewardship of our natural resources and connecting all citizens to practical solutions that achieve a sustainable lifestyle. They work to promote the 4R philosophy (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Rot) in Arlington schools and businesses. See:

  • Arlington Public Schools: Arlington’s school system has a strong reputation, but to maintain that, it must have a strong PTA and community involvement. Try joining the local PTA or Advisory Councils on Instruction, which give parents a chance to influence the school board on matters such as language, technology, and arts instruction. For more information, see:

  • Sierra Club of Northern Virginia is a grassroots organization that advocates for a Virginia where all people may enjoy our natural treasures, access clean air and water, and thrive in a healthy community. They coordinate action to promote climate solutions and oppose projects and policies that put the interests of corporate polluters above the needs of communities. (They recently played a role in getting the Virginia Clean Economy Act passed.)

  • Tree Action Group: Arlington Tree Action Group (ATAG) is a network of citizens working to preserve and grow Arlington, Virginia’s urban forest to keep Arlington green and fulfill the Vision stated in the County’s Urban Forest Master Plan (2004). See:

  • Committee of 100: The Arlington Committee of 100 fosters open and vigorous discussion of issues involving all facets of community life in Arlington. The Committee's monthly forums are open to all and provide a non-partisan setting in which issues of local, regional, and state interest are addressed by experts, with audience participation in lively Q&A sessions.

  • Arlington Housing Corporation: AHC takes a holistic approach to affordable housing. We create innovative development strategies, manage our properties professionally and provide life-changing programs for residents. See:

  • Literacy tutoring: AHC will start its educational programming virtually in the fall. Volunteers will join a virtual video call at a set time each week; email

  • Arlington Branch of League of Women Voters: A nonpartisan group of men and women, the League of Women Voters of the United States encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. See:

  • Arlington House: The home of Robert E. Lee, the house is a snapshot of history of pre-Civil War life as well as the consequences of the war. It depends on volunteers who work with National Park Service staff.

And don’t forget: just a short drive from Arlington are some of the wonderful sites that can always use volunteers; there are many benefits to being a friend to these organizations: Mount Vernon, the Shakespeare Theater, Oatlands, Wolftrap, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Arena Stage, are just a few of the places that could not survive without volunteers.

Lastly, check out the list of local non-profits in this edition of the Connection: many of them, including Thrive, A-Span, AFAC, and NVFS also welcome volunteers.

Log in to comment