Volunteer Spotlight: CHATA

Homeschooling doesn’t always mean learning at home, at least not for the Christian Homeschoolers of the Atascocita Texas Area (CHATA).

This outgoing group of students is passionate about giving back to the community and frequently participates in volunteer projects at Jones Park. These students do it all, from removing invasive plants to making repairs in the Redbud Hill Homestead and Akokisa Indian Village.

CHATA, a faith-centered service club for homeschool students in sixth through 12th grades, is part of the Epsilon Chapter of the Eta Sigma Alpha National Homeschool Honor Society. A different student leader organizes each service project.

We asked a couple of recent leaders about their experiences volunteering at Jones Park, and here’s what they said:

What inspired you to become a volunteer?

“When I was younger, I participated in many of the programs at the park, including the Tadpoles Club and Summer Nature Camp. By volunteering, I feel like I can give back to the park.”
–Corbin Adkins.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at Jones Park?

“As students, we enjoy the wealth of information that the staff bestows upon us while we are working. The projects CHATA has participated in at Jesse Jones Park have been meaningful, and we truly feel we are making a difference in the park, and thus in our community.”
–Paige Johnson.

What is your favorite volunteer event or festival, and why?

“My favorite event is the Reptile Open House. Reptiles are often misunderstood, and an event devoted specifically to teaching about them is important. My next favorite is Texas Bound because it helps kids to learn about the Texas pioneers by participating in the activity rather than just watching it.”
– Corbin Adkins.

What are some tips that may be helpful to new volunteers in your position?

“First, always bring lots of water and a good pair of work gloves. Also, come with a set of questions for the staff about the park or your project. You will be pleasantly surprised at the answers, and we can guarantee that before you leave, you will have learned something new. Finally, come ready to sweat! Our last visit to the park sent many of our members home in need of a long hot bath.” – Paige Johnson.

Each of the CHATA members draws from different experiences at Jones Park. But they all unite behind a common goal: to strengthen their faith and enrich the community through volunteer service. Their service is invaluable for advancing the park’s mission of providing environmental and natural history education, wildlife conservation, and recreational opportunities.
CHATA volunteers recently helped rethatch the Akokisa Indian Village structures in preparation for Native American Heritage Day in September. The project is a tedious, but fun, annual event, and these volunteers put great effort into completing the structures just like the Akokisas did. You can find more information about the Akokisa here [link to UPdate article].

CHATA members plan to continue volunteering at the park regularly this fall and winter, helping Jones Park prepare for Pioneer Day in November and Homestead Holiday in December. If you would like to learn more about CHATA, please visit their website at https://chataesa.shutterfly.com/.