Volunteers are an essential part of United Way’s work to advance the common good. During National Volunteer Week, April 6-12, 2014, we celebrate hundreds of thousands of United Way volunteers across the U.S. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteering and service as an integral aspect of our civic leadership. The week draws the support and endorsement of the president and Congress, governors, mayors and municipal leaders, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.
National Volunteer Week is 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. For example, United Way of the Greater Triangle in Morrisville, NC will help nearly 1,000 homeless families/individuals move into permanent housing. United Way of Tompkins County, through a partnership with the Regional Volunteer Center of the Southern Tier, awarded more than $2,000 in grants to ten local organizations to conduct volunteer projects during National Volunteer Week
United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region has organized Metal Container employees to sort food items into nutrition packages for the local food bank and for employee volunteers from Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union to work one-on-one with elementary school students to improve their financial literacy. On another day during National Volunteer week, cadets from West Point Military Academy will paint and clean a senior residence. National Volunteer Week will conclude a month-long collection of hygiene items for homeless people, conducted by United Way with students of the Culinary Institute of America and Marist College.
Events to recognize and celebrate volunteers are also popular during National Volunteer Week. The Volunteer Center of United Way of Greater Chattanooga is hosting the “Volunteer United Awards Banquet” to allow various nonprofit organizations to enjoy an evening with their volunteers. The Volunteer Center also offers these volunteer appreciation tips.
I salute all United Way volunteers, but would like to give a shout out to one particular group: volunteer readers, tutors and mentors. As of this writing, more than 300,000 of you have pledged to help children stay on track to high school graduation by volunteering as a reader, tutor or mentor. I invite you to take the pledge today and to contact your local United Way to find out about other volunteering opportunities.