North County Outlook - Community newspaper serving Marysville, Arlington, Tulalip, Smokey Point, Lakewood

Day of Caring helps many local nonprofits


September 20, 2017 | View PDF

Christopher Andersson

photo BY CHRISTOPHER ANDERSSON John Rivera, chief philanthropy officer at Cocoon House, helped during the United Way of Snohomish County's Day of Caring to clean up and do yard work at Cocoon House's Arlington maternity group home on Sept. 15.

Volunteers and local organizations got together on Sept. 15 during the United Way of Snohomish County's annual Day of Caring to help finish projects for local nonprofits.

The Day of Caring is meant to encourage volunteers to get out and help the community and provide an easy way for those volunteers to connect with organizations that need help.

"This is something we have been doing for 23 years now," said Brenna Anderst, engagement and volunteerism manager at the United Way of Snohomish County.

"It's an opportunity for agencies and their partners to get together with volunteers from the community and do something good," she said.

There were a total of 32 different projects across the county from 25 different nonprofit organizations.

"There is a wide variety of options for volunteers," said Anderst.

In Marysville and Arlington those projects included landscaping around the perimeter of the Marysville YMCA, restoring garden beds for women and children at a local shelter to help them grow their own food, providing maintenance for the All Breed Equine Rez-Q horse rescue, and removing stumps and debris at a retention pond near a Housing Hope community.

At Cocoon House's Arlington Maternity Group Home a couple of volunteers helped clean up the yard and their gardens.

The Snohomish County organization helps teenagers that are homeless or at-risk of homelessness, and their Maternity Group Home is specifically for young mothers who are raising a child.

"We've got five young moms with babies here," said Jon Rivera, chief philanthropy officer for the non-profit. "We try to make this like a home, like one of us would live in."

The volunteers removed ivy and other problem weeds in the garden.

"It's a way to beautify this space and not have snarly prickly bushes," said Rivera.

"We have little babies here and when they're out here we don't want them crawling through nasty things," he said.

Rivera doesn't normally work at the Arlington location but he said most of the fundraising staff go out for various projects during the Day of Caring.

"We love the Day of Caring," he said.

"We've been United Way partners for 20 years and they've funded a lot of our programs," he said.

Rivera said that volunteers coming to help some of the Cocoon House buildings once a year helps keep the buildings nice in ways that would be harder with just the staff.

"It's nice to have any help come out because these are the kind of things that our staff doesn't have a lot of time to do," he said.

The Cocoon House staff are often dealing with more immediate needs.

"We've got to be focused on helping these young moms learn how to take care of their babies and stuff like yard work and maintenance is more of 'we'll get to it when we get to it,' thing," he said.

The United Way of Snohomish County hosts the Day of Caring each year with information on their website for those interested.

More information can be found at their website at


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