The opportunity for community service
Published Thursday, 14-Jan-2010 in issue 1151
“We do not have to compel citizens to serve their country. All we have to do is ask – and provide the opportunity.”
– U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy
In the last year, we heard our new President, as well as many national and local leaders, issue renewed calls for service and volunteerism as we work together to address the many challenges facing our communities. In 2009, Congress prioritized the issue by passing the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act. This legislation was specifically designed to create a new era of service that will give Americans of all ages the opportunity to serve our nation. It was signed into law by President Barack Obama on April 21, 2009.
While we can take inspiration from this increased focus on the value of community service, at The Center we are incredibly aware of the immeasurable contributions made by our volunteers. The Center simply cannot thank our volunteers enough for all that they do year round. Each one of our volunteers makes a real difference in the lives of thousands of San Diegans each year. And this year we have needed volunteer support more than ever. Whether you are a returning volunteer or you are new to The Center community, your gifts as a volunteer continue to make a huge difference every day.
Last year alone, our more than 600 amazing Center volunteers contributed 16,149 hours of service - a monetary value calculated using The Independent Sector guidelines at $354,286! Mere words cannot express the depth of our gratitude to each and every volunteer. Whether they’ve given five or 500 hours of their time, they have helped The Center continue to best fulfill its mission.
The Center has many volunteer opportunities in a wide variety of areas, ranging from front desk service to overseeing the David Bohnett Cyber Center, and with programs such as Senior Services, the Hillcrest Youth Center, Latino/a Services, Family Matters and the Women’s Resource Center. We also count on volunteers for our special events, including Dining Out for Life®, AIDS Walk San Diego and our anniversary gala.
With the recognition that volunteers are truly the lifeblood of so many of San Diego’s community’s organizations, The San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council’s Fifth Annual LGBT Volunteer Fair will be held this year. This event was established in 2005 in order to make it easier for people considering volunteer service to get information about our all of our community’s organizations, and to find the best fit for each individual’s interests, time and talents.
This year’s event will take place on Wednesday, Jan. 27, from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at The Center, 3909 Centre St. and all community members are invited to attend.
The Volunteer Fair has traditionally taken place in January to help provide an opportunity for those who have made New Year’s resolutions to give back by volunteering. We are all better off because of these resolutions, and this event is intended to make it even easier for those who want to help make a difference to identify the organizations where they would like to give their time.
No matter how or where you give of your time as a volunteer, all the actions we collectively take in service to our communities can do an incredible amount of good. The bottom line is that your time, talent and efforts matter tremendously. So, if you resolved to be more involved with your community this year, we need you…all of you. If you are thinking about adding volunteering as a new resolution, stop by the Volunteer Fair on Wednesday the 27th!