National Volunteer Week 2017

by Hilary Amedy, Mentoring Program Coordinator

Have you ever wished that you could say “thank you” to someone who has performed a service to our community?  You have that opportunity during National Volunteer Week, which takes place April 23-29 this year.  Volunteers are one of our country’s most important assets and programs like the LUK Mentoring Program are volunteer driven. We would not exist if it we didn’t have the dedicated volunteers that we have.

National Volunteer Week began in 1974 when President Nixon signed an executive order establishing the week as an annual celebration of volunteering.  Since then, every U.S. President has signed a proclamation promoting National Volunteer Week, which has grown each year with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. National Volunteer Week is an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers who lend their time, talent, voice and support to causes they care about in their community.

Volunteers reach out beyond themselves, to engage in kindness and caring for others. People from all walks of life engage in volunteerism for a variety of reasons. Recently, a volunteer who applied to be a mentor with the LUK Mentoring Program stated that her reason for wanting to volunteer is that she loves working with young people; that she had a lot of help in her life and wants to give back. Another volunteer said she just wants to give back and hopes she will be someone a youth will be comfortable talking with; one felt she had positive role models in her life and she will feel good about being there for someone who needs some extra support; another has liked coaching sports in the past but wants to be able to focus on being there for one youngster; and one young man had a mentor when he was growing up and knows first-hand what a difference it made in his life.

The LUK Mentoring Program has incredible volunteers who spend time mentoring, serve on the Mentoring Advisory Board and help with fundraising events like the Kids at Heart Mentoring Gala. When we asked Kelly J. why she became a mentor she stated, “1 hour a week is a small commitment when the bigger picture is the lifelong impact you will make on a child.” Domenic Z responded, “Just to see the pure joy on your mentee’s face when you go to pick him up and hear him reminisce about time that you spend together, times you thought were so normal but to him were phenomenal and John M says, “Anyone interested in joining a non-profit board should take a good look at LUK Mentoring,” and if they are interested, he recommends becoming a mentor too as he believes they go hand-in-hand and make him a more informed and vested board member.

According to the latest Volunteering and Civic Life in America report from the Corporation for National and Community Service, 62.6 million people in the United States volunteered in 2015, collectively donating 7.8 billion hours of their time to their communities – an estimated $184 billion worth of service. Volunteers in the LUK Mentoring Program donated approximately 3,648 hours of time last year through 1:1 mentoring, serving on the Mentoring Advisory Board and towards fundraising events.

Please take a moment to recognize the volunteers who make our community a better place and go to www.facebook.com/lukmentoring where we are highlighting our generous mentors and volunteers.

If you would like to be a LUK Mentor, serve on the Mentoring Advisory Board or help with our fundraising efforts go to www.luk.org/mentoring or call 1-800-579-0000 and ask for Mentoring staff. 

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