April might have marked National Volunteer Week, a time to hail the contributions of citizens who donate their time, but giving back to your school, church or community is something that should be done and celebrated year-round.
National Volunteer Week 2012 was recognized April 15-21. While the week of appreciation ended six days ago, it cannot be disputed volunteers deserve more than a week of recognition. Whether they are assisting in area schools by helping students learn to read, tutoring in math or visiting local nursing homes to offer companionship to the elderly, what volunteers offer communities is invaluable.
One often reads stories in the newspaper or even hears of a volunteer touching the life of someone on the radio. Those are the types of stories that stay with you. Hearing them might even prompt action to make time to volunteer in one’s own community. Why not? All involved truly benefit from the experience.
Minnesotans take volunteering seriously. There are countless statistics available to support this argument. Here are just a few that confirm just how active one’s neighbor might really be – both here and beyond.
According to data from the Corporation for National and Community Service via the Volunteering in America website, about 1.61 million Minnesota residents volunteered 189.8 million hours of service through or for a nonprofit or community organization in 2010. In 2010, about 11.4 percent of Minnesotans volunteered informally, totaling approximately 469,020 individuals, data shows. Use of the word “informally” notes people are choosing to give back in some way on their own and not through a specific organization.
Between the years of 2008 and 2010 on average, there were about 15 million volunteers statewide. Data shows the whole concept of “Minnesota Nice” is not a figment of one’s imagination but is part of the fabric that makes a Minnesotan.
Data from the Volunteering in America website’s state profile also shows:
37.5 percent of residents volunteer – ranking us third among the 50 states and Washington, D.C., 173.2 million hours of service, 42.3 hours per resident – ranking us eighth among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
While those statistics are a reflection of national surveying research, there are many examples of volunteerism right here in town. Just think about local organizations like the United Way, local Jaycees, Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts of America, the American Legion and area Lions Clubs. The list is endless but the mission is the same: Give Back.
Don’t wait for an invitation.