Shout Out for Volunteers!
by Jono McKinney, Board Chair, MNA
Montanans are remarkable for their generosity in time and talent. Over a third of our citizens participate in our community life as volunteers sharing over 33 million hours in service every year to strengthen our communities. The Volunteering in America report values this at $714 million in services contributed. What an asset to our state economy. More importantly, what a measure of our character as Montanans.
April 15-21 marks National Volunteer Week. This celebration reminds us to thank all those volunteers who help our organizations in so many ways by guiding our boards of directors, serving as mentors, showing up to help with special events, or quietly stuffing envelopes. Also across our state, over 9,000 AmeriCorps and Senior Corps participants are making a difference through more than 900 project sites. These folks add immeasurably to the strength of our organizations and the vitality of our communities.
The 2012 theme for National Volunteer Week is “Celebrating People in Action.” This begins with us, taking action to lead by example with our own service, and encouraging others to join with us in sharing their talent and time toward positive solutions to our communities needs. Albert Schweitzer, the 1953 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, reminds us of the transformative power of serving: “I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought out and found how to serve.” Service can be so simple, starting with a greeting to our neighbor and affirmation that we are neighbors working together for better communities.
Thank you for serving, and thanks to all of you in our Montana nonprofit sector who leverage your passion, talents, wisdom, hearts, and muscles to make Montana healthier, safer, and smarter.
Jono McKinney is MNA Board Chair and Executive Director of the Montana Conservation Corps