Tis the season to do good deeds: National Volunteer Week kicked off Sunday, April 10th. According to the US Department of Labor Statistics, about 62.8 million Americans volunteered (25.3 percent) through or for an organization at least once last year. Even more impressive, volunteers spent a median of 52 hours on volunteer activities. Altogether, Americans volunteered nearly 7.96 billion hours last year, worth an estimated $184 billion, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour. The volunteer rate consistently remains stable and strong. Over the past 13 years, Americans volunteered 104.9 billion hours, worth an estimated $2.1 trillion.
An initiative in place since 1974, the week-long celebration dedicated to “inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities” began with aproclamation from then-President Richard Nixon. “I urge all Americans to observe that week by seeking out an area in their community in which they can give to a needy individual or a worthy cause by devoting a few hours, or more, each week to volunteer service,” he wrote.
Today, National Volunteer Week continues, marked each year by a presidential proclamation. Friday, President Barack Obama issued hisproclamation for the 2016 event. “Volunteers help drive our country’s progress, and day in and day out, they make extraordinary sacrifices to expand promise and possibility,” he wrote. “During National Volunteer Week, let us shed the cynicism that says one person cannot make a difference in the lives of others by embracing each of our individual responsibilities to serve and shape a brighter future for all.”
This year, National Volunteer Week will be held from April 10 through April 16 and Sunrise is in on the altruism.
“Our volunteers are the cornerstone of everything we do to fulfill the mission of the Sunrise Community,” said Les Leech, President & CEO. “Our volunteers are the ones who dedicate an entire weekend to beautifying a home for individuals transitioning from a state institution in Georgia to a beautiful home in the community. Employers even get into the act!” Recently, Everfan out of Thomasville, Georgia worked on raised planting beds for fresh veggies, increased motor skills and inclusion in the community for people with intellectual disabilities and mobility limitations in semi-rural southern Georgia. And the volunteering spirit doesn’t stop there. Many of the individuals we serve, dedicate hours of their week to local charities from Maryland to South Florida. “We are beyond grateful for the support our volunteers give to Sunrise as well as the local communities in which we operate,” said Chief Philanthropy Officer, Rebecca McGuire.