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Celebrating Servcie & Volunteerism

Published March 31, 2012

National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to foster positive transformation.

 

Maine is ranked 16th in the nation for the percentage of residents who volunteer.  Mainers are generous in the amount of time they give by averaging 46.7 hours per year, ranking Maine 4th in the nation and representing $1.1 billion in contributed services.  Additionally, twelve percent of Mainers report they work with neighbors to fix a community problem.  This type of volunteering is often referred to as “Neighboring” as individuals self organize around a specific issue.

 

National Volunteer Week is a time that many organizations host annual events to recognize the contributions of volunteers.  Launched in 1986, the Governor’s Awards for Service and Volunteerism recognizes individuals, community organizations, and businesses whose volunteer actions have made a significant difference in the quality of life for Maine residents.  This annual event is managed on behalf of the Office of Governor by the Maine Commission for Community Service. 

 

March 10 – 18 was AmeriCorps Week, when members and alums were recognized by highlighting the extraordinary impact AmeriCorps makes across our nation. There are more than 200 AmeriCorps members who serve in Maine through 17 different programs.  As part of AmeriCorps Week, members shared in blogs, editorials, and featured articles how their work was impacting the community they serve and their lives.

 

May 7-11 is Senior Corps Week as part of Older Americans Month.  Through RSVP, Foster Grandparent Program, and Senior Compan­ion Program, Senior Corps is impacting our nation in substantive ways and making life better for those in need in our communities.  In Maine, 1,984 Senior Corps participants contribute more than 550, 000 hours of their time to provide support to children under the age of 12 succeed in school, seniors living independently, frail seniors and their caregivers and much more.

 

Whether individuals lend a hand to a neighbor, volunteer through an organization, or commit to serve through AmeriCorps or Senior Corps, it is their dedication and compassion that is making a difference in our communities.  Don’t wait for a special day, week, or event, let them know how much you appreciate their time and effort every day!

 

It is one of the beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely help another without helping himself.  -- Ralph Waldo Emerson