Overview of 2020 Volunteer Impact

Year after year, thousands of volunteers lend their time and energy to help us make Boulder a better place for all. Thank you to all the volunteers that make a difference in our community every day. View current volunteer opportunities.

In 2020, many people weren't able to volunteer as they have in the past. Even so, while departments had less volunteers than previous years many volunteers gave more hours than in the past. This is a perfect example of how our community works together in difficult times. Overall, 2,600 people volunteered for the City of Boulder in 2020, giving 48,000 hours of their time and energy.

We look forward to working with all of our volunteers on more projects in brighter days. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your continued dedication and service to the Boulder community.

Volunteer Impact Areas

Find out more about the incredible volunteers that participated in dozens of programs from across the city.

In 2020, 97 volunteers served on various boards and commissions, contributing 6,171 hours of service.

Volunteers served on boards for the arts, downtown management, Chautauqua, transportation, planning and more.

In 2020, the Boulder Public Library had 385 volunteers in volunteers who contributed 10,897 hours.

Volunteers gave approximately 25% more time per person this year than in the past. And, while only 40% of our total volunteer community was able to be active this past year, we know that everyone was still cheering for us and supporting the library from afar.

Program Highlights

BoulderReads — Despite the pandemic, 57 BoulderReads tutors and 65 adult language learners met in 2020 and many shifted to online tutoring. Volunteers gave 4,745 hours of their time to support English language learners.

Conversations in English — CIE almost doubled the number of English language discussion groups. Eleven volunteers who gave 508 hours of their time.

Home Delivery Program — Demand for delivery of library materials to people’s homes rose 60%; 130 people received regular service. Eighty-two volunteers who gave over 1,175 hours of their time, and eight staff members, made this possible.

Book Drop Helpers and Sorters — Twenty Book Drop volunteers who gave 713 hours of service helped open and keep open the library by emptying our book bins and quarantining these materials.

Virtual Tech Help — Provided free technology consultation in-person and virtually once the pandemic started. Twenty-six volunteers provided 132 hours of service.

Go Club — Volunteers continued to provide weekly strategic fun for kids and families via the online Go Club. Six volunteers gave 473 hours to make this possible.

The Maria Rogers Oral History Program — Eighty volunteers worked on nearly 50 oral histories to record and preserve the experiences of community members, giving 426 hours of their time.

Boulder Teen Advisory Board — Eighteen volunteers gave 331 hours of their time advising and planning fun library teen programs.

Summer of Discovery — Twelve volunteers gave over 100 hours of their time preparing prize bags and handing out prizes to those that accomplished reading and participation goals.

The Annual Family Play Festival — Sixteen volunteers gave 78 hours of time helping cut, organize, and collate over 1,400 materials to make the 200 kits that were distributed to families to help young children build literacy skills.

Bridging the Technology Divide — Ten volunteers provided 30 hours to help distribute several hundred technology devices and collected close to 250 additional requests, most of which were fulfilled at a later stage.

Library Commissions — Five commissioners gave over 385 hours of their time in providing leadership and guidance to the library.


Go Club

Losing the ability to have Go Club in person was so hard once the library closed, but we are glad we have been able to preserve some form of it online. We get 2-6 kids every week, and we have new drop in kids occasionally.  It is hard to teach the kids how to use the software and how to play Go at the same time, but we have gotten better at it, and have had some new converts. We run a video chat during club, so kids can see each other and socialize, and also so our teachers can help explain things during and after games. We all look forward to meeting again in person, but until then at least we can still connect online.” — Go Club Volunteer

Maria Rogers Oral History Program

Let’s live like historians might take notice.  A family member of an Interviewee

“I wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to your team at the Maria Rogers Oral History Program to thank you for your efforts. … I and my family are deeply grateful for  MROHP interview. … We commend the foresight of your project, and deeply thank you for this rare and important view into this wonderful man's life. … I am a native of Boulder myself, and am excited to view more of the MROHP archives.”
 A family member of Interviewee


"Working with my learner has been rewarding for me personally and I am grateful for the opportunity that connected us through Boulder Reads. She is an exceptional person in many ways and I always look forward to meeting with her (virtually these days). While I have helped her navigate the language, culture and history of this place she has adopted, I also have learned and experienced much through her. During these Covid times, I have missed your smiling face and helpful hand. Let’s hope that in 2021 brighter days will bring us all back together." — BR Tutor

"At least for me, I can't imagine what my life would be like if I have no chance to attend library activities. I am happy, satisfied, and appreciated for all the beautiful things in the world! Wish you and your family healthier, richer, and happier in 2021!" — BR Learner

"My tutor told me it does not matter how slow I go, as long as I never stop." — BR Learner

"As I always say, the Boulder Library is one of my favorite places, in which a few intellectual, educated, and kind persons help the community and people like me. Your emails always make my day. When I get an email from your side, that is like I related to the vast community. It seems that somebody or a team keeps an eye on all the people in that community; tracks us about our classes, activities, and improvement. It is awesome." — BR Learner to staff  

"Thank you so much for everything! You are awesome! I hope may you feel conveyed, supported and loved, even while separated by distance and screens." — BR Learner

"Volunteering with Boulder Reads has brought significant purpose to a time that otherwise can feel like a standstill. I am so excited to continue into 2021 with these amazing ESL learners."  — BR CIE Facilitator

"How lucky are we to be able to help in our small way those learners that are so appreciative? And thank you Karen for getting so many of us involved in the amazing Boulder Reads." — BR Tutor

In 2020, the City Manager's Office had 30 volunteers who contributed 1,600 hours of service.

Volunteers helped with programs like Building Bridges, planning for Community Cleanup Month and serving on the Police Oversight Task Force.

Housing and Human Services had 281 volunteers in 2020 who contributed 4,714 hours.

These programs help vulnerable populations in the Boulder Community.

“Jeff listened attentively to all details and followed up with me. He clearly is an experienced communicator.” — Mediation Participant

“Through mediation, the Situation was de-escalated, allowing resolution” — Mediation Participant

The city's Open Space and Mountain Parks had 1,147 volunteers in 2020 who contributed a total of 13,286 hours of service.

Volunteer Highlights

  • Over 25,000 safe visitor contacts made by outreach volunteers — Ambassador, Bike Patrol, Trail Guide.
  • Maintained volunteer community for personal resilience through service.
  • Transitioned programs to COVID safe formats.
  • More than 300 long-term volunteers are active.
  • New neighborhood groups making an impact on habitat restoration at Skunk Canyon.
  • Volunteers made a more than 8-hour commitment to updated COVID-19 safety training for their roles as outreach volunteers.
  • More than 60 volunteers supported ongoing monitoring research for key wildlife conservation projects for raptor and bat monitoring.
  • Volunteers provided extra support for parks clean-up during unprecedented visitor levels.
  • Over 3,300 hours contributed to resource restoration and trail maintenance one-day projects.
  • Cultural Resources students helped catalog historic features at Marshall Mesa.


“I enjoy volunteering for OSMP! OSMP trains all volunteers so well…I always feel well prepared and that I have the tools needed to make a difference for our open spaces, its inhabitants and the human communities that surround them. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make a little difference!

“I like volunteering with OSMP because I get to meet new people through the experience."

I definitely felt like was meaningful, and I got thanked by many people passing by which really enforced that opinion.”

I really enjoyed working with each staff member and learned from each as they all had their unique way of connecting with visitors.”

"THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. You are doing a difficult job and your performance is 110%.”

“Great job, everyone. Amazing what you can accomplish in a group of dedicated and motivated people.

“Considering the circumstances (COVID, wildfire smoke, heat wave this year), it is nothing short of amazing we were able to pull this off. Thanks for your hard work making this happen during the pandemic.”

“Everyone should try this. Especially these days. It brings people together in a physically demanding way that breaks down barriers and gets folks to work together towards a valuable common goal. I've waited ten years to get involved at this level and that feels rather unfortunate. I've missed years of opportunities to give back and to feel that gratification of giving. I urge folks to not wait like I did. They're missing out on something big.”

“Volunteering as an OSMP Visitor Ambassador has been a pleasure. I enjoy assisting folks from all over the world to appreciate our Open Space. It’s an opportunity to share the joys of being in Boulder. I’m also helping to ensure masking and distancing on our trails.”

“People who were stuck inside seem so grateful to be able to be out on the trails — I heard over and over again how lucky we are here in Boulder to have these trails and this scenery to help us stay healthy and keep up our spirits.

It was great to welcome lots of first-time visitors, and people who had never hiked before, and to hear them say how fantastically beautiful it is here!”

Volunteering during COVID has allowed me to stay connected and engaged with the community in a time when doing so has been so limited. It also helped me get outside and stay active, which made me feel less isolated during COVID.”

In 2020, Boulder Parks and Recreation had 499 volunteers who contributed 9,742 hours of service.

Volunteer Highlights

  • 115 NEW ongoing Parks and Recreation Volunteers got involved across 4 new volunteer programs.
  • More than 87 Park Champ volunteers adopted 24 Park locations.
  • Volunteers mapped 150 gravestones and set 300 veteran flags in Columbia Cemetery.
  • 2,039 flowers planted by volunteers throughout parks and the Pearl Street Mall.
  • Natural Lands Outreach Volunteers interacted with over 150 volunteers around Coot Lake and the North Shore of the Boulder Reservoir.
  • 87 bird Species where identified by Birds of Special Concern monitors at the Boulder Reservoir

Park Champ Testimonials

“Emotionally I felt good about helping out Parks and Rec in a time of need.”

It gave me more motivation to get out for a walk around the lake every day.”

“Seeing the difference the work made to the park. Feeling like I was trusted to do the right work at the park and being thanked by the park staff.”

Being outside, able to enjoy the sun and fresh air, and help make a difference in how the grounds look, especially during this weird time was absolutely fantastic.”

“Thank you to those who came up with the Park Champ program. I thoroughly enjoy volunteering and this opportunity gave me the chance to continue to work with the Parks and Rec staff.”

“I received so many ‘thank yous’ from the public, especially parents with their young kids at the playground. I weeded at the playground and near the community gardens, so I was surrounded by children playing and beautiful flowers, not a bad gig.”

“I met a wonderful older couple who walked around EBRC each day. Whenever they saw me they made a point to stop and chat with me for a bit. They always extended a thank you before continuing on their way. Their visits made my day.

In 2020, the Boulder Police Department had 52 volunteers who contributed 811 hours.

Public works had 102 volunteers in 2020 who contributed 751 hours of service.

  • 1918 miles of path cleaned

  • 970 bags to trash

  • 192 adoption site visits

  • 6 Community Clean up Month projects

Volunteer Appreciation 2020