Governor Terry Branstad is calling on Iowans to step up and make Iowa the nation’s leading state for volunteerism.
Iowa currently ranks second, with the average Iowan logging about 34 volunteer hours per year. Branstad says unfortunately, less than half of Iowans volunteer.
“It’s generally the people that are really busy that also give and volunteer of their time,” Branstad says, “because they understand how important it is to give back and help other people.”
Patti Fields, the chair of the Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service, says over the next month her group will develop a plan to make Iowa the nation’s top state.
“Iowans step up when there is a need and we have needs,” Fields says. “….Dozens of communities need volunteer fire fighters and tens of thousands of students in Iowa could benefit from a volunteer mentor…To address those needs, we’ve set our goal for this effort to raise the average number of hours each Iowan volunteers to 50 — that’s less than an hour a week.”
Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds says nonprofit groups and service organizations throughout the state have special volunteer activities planned this week.
“Our ‘call to service initiative’ launch is very timely,” Reynolds says. “Tomorrow is September 11, a day that we will never forget and now recognized as a national day of service and remembrance.”
The governor says volunteerism is good for your physical and mental health.
“One of the most joyful things one can do is to give back and help other people,” Branstad says. “…We have a lot of caring people in Iowa that do that and do it very generously. We’re just trying to encourage more people to do it and the people that are doing it to consider giving more of their time and talent to help others.”
The website www.volunteeriowa.org has information about joining a service club and links to other volunteer activities. In 2011, about 38 percent of Iowans contributed an estimated 93 million volunteer hours.
AUDIO of Branstad’s weekly news conference.