By Jodi Sipes
We’re all hearing about the President’s “Call to Action,” and the need for us all to pull together and help each other out in these hard times.
This is a great time for us to be proud here in Whatcom County—because we have been volunteering at a higher rate than many other communities for many years. About 66 percent of Whatcom County residents volunteer.
We also have the Whatcom Volunteer Center to help coordinate our volunteerism, and support our non-profit agencies as well as our volunteers.
We are the hub of all volunteerism in the county, and here to serve all our citizens.
Whatcom Volunteer Center
• In existence for 35+ years.
• Started as an RSVP (Retired and Senior Volunteer Program) in 1971.
• Changed to WVC to encompass many programs serving volunteers from 4-96 years of age in 1984.
• The mission of the Whatcom Volunteer Center is to be at the core of participation and service by promoting and supporting effective service in order to improve community.
• Our intent is to directly assist agencies in meeting their missions through donated human resources and to provide volunteers access to meaningful opportunities to contribute their time and talent to benefit the community.
• There are over 60 million volunteers in America, serving over 8 billion hours each year.
• In Washington State we have over 2 million volunteers, serving a quarter million hours a year.
• Our average volunteer rate of 35 percent ranks us 13th in the nation.
• We are ranked 4th for hours served per volunteer – an average of about 50 hours a year.
• All this is worth $5 billion in Washington state.
• Our own county had an informal study done in 2000, and 66 percent of the residents who responded volunteered.
• There were just under 300 thousand hours reported to our center last year, and that is probably only half of what actually happens.
Just youth sports and firefighters might double that alone.
Where do they find the time to do all this?
A recent study concluded it was due to watching one less hour of television a day. Those who do not volunteer spend an average of 436 more hours watching TV per year.
How can you help?
Register yourself with the WVC – orientations/hours – counting our community hours helps all the non-profits to get their funding and report on their programs. It helps us to be here to offer the services that we do.
CHORE – helps those who can’t manage all the chores in their household, and are elderly or disabled, and low income – there are clients in outlying areas of the county who have to wait for a month or two before being matched with a helper.
One organization in particular – the Blaine Boys and Girls club – needs mentors and folks with hobbies to come spend some time with the kids. But volunteers are welcome to fundraise for their favorite charity and support the efforts of WVC through the following events:
• Human Race on June 13
• “Make a Difference Day” every October.
For more information visit www.whatcomvolunteer.org
or call 360/734-3055.