Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I didn't realize this was National Volunteer Week (April 6-12) until I saw a couple of tweets last night on the topic. It's held annually in April, but the week ranges from year to year--sometimes it's near the beginning of April, sometimes at the end--so it tends to creep up (read the Presidential Proclamation for National Volunteer Week 2014). But now that I know--and you know--that it's underway, what are we going to do about it?

Fortunately, in Charlotte, we have Hands On Charlotte, a nonprofit volunteer service organization that makes it easy to get involved in the community throughout the year. HOC coordinates volunteers to help homeless families, guide at-risk youth, tutor disadvantaged children, feed the hungry, care for the environment, and more. The organization keeps a running calendar of volunteer events, in partnership with other local organizations, for which you can sign up.

And its own signature community service event is Hands On Charlotte Day, taking place for the 22nd year, this Saturday, April 12. On HOC Day, as many as 1,000 volunteers spend the day working on projects across the city, ranging from sorting donated clothing and landscaping Charlotte schools to clearing neighborhood debris and repairing nature trails. If you want to participate, you need to register by April 10; and the sooner you register, the more likely you are to get the service project you want. Children and teenagers are allowed to participate at many of the volunteer projects, so you can make it a philanthropic outing for the whole family (pull those brats away from the Xbox).

You'll only have to spend about three hours of your time Saturday morning volunteering, and then you can spend that afternoon at VBGB Beer Hall and Garden for the "after-party" with other HOC Day volunteers.

You'll find all the details at handsoncharlotte.org.

According to Points of Light:
National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. It’s about demonstrating to the nation that by working together, we have the fortitude to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals. National Volunteer Week is about taking action and encouraging individuals and their respective communities to be at the center of social change – discovering and actively demonstrating their collective power to make a difference.

Amen to that.


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