Newsletter: April is a time to...

by Sharon Gavin

In this 4/7/2010 Oregon Volunteers Newsletter:

  • April is National Volunteer Month

  • Global Youth Service Day

  • Governor's Volunteer Awards - Nominations Are Due May 10th

  • Comcast Cares Day

April is National Volunteer Month – a time to not only volunteer, but to recognize the many volunteers and volunteer activities around us every day.

If you're like most people you may be wondering how you'll find the extra money or spare time to make a difference, right? Here's one idea: check out Oregon Volunteers' website for information on volunteer opportunities (large and small) throughout the state.

Oregon Volunteers supports worldwide youth service movement

Global Youth Service Days (GYSD) is the largest service event in the world, with young people from more than 100 countries participating in service projects that address critical issues. This year GYSD will span April 23 – 25, and Oregon Volunteers, the Commission for Voluntary Action and Service, is supporting five GYSD projects planned by AmeriCorps and AmeriCorps VISTA members in Oregon with mini-grants. Each of these projects involves youth and people with disabilities working together to address a specific need in their community.

The winners of the five GYSD projects Oregon Volunteers is supporting are:

Guy Vogt, an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at the Josephine County Food Bank. Vogt will be working with the Josephine County Food Bank and Greenleaf Industries to bring together students of different ages and abilities to design, build and install a school garden at Madrona Elementary School in Grants Pass, OR.

Megan Heuberger, an AmeriCorps member serving at Southern Oregon Education Service District. Heuberger is partnering with the Southern Oregon Education Service District and Department of Special Education to conduct a self-sufficiency skills building workshop for girls with and without disabilities.

Travis Comfort, who serves with the Oregon Community Action Corps at Clackamas County Volunteer Connection as an AmeriCorps member. Comfort’s group will be installing inclusive playground equipment, doing playground cleanup, conducting a wetlands walk, and removing invasive species, all in partnership with Clackamas County Social Services’ Independent Living Program.

Chrysanthemum Mattison, an AmeriCorps member serving with the Youth Volunteer Corps at Corvallis Parks and Recreation. Mattison’s project will result in the creation of an accessible garden at the Benton Habitat for Humanity site. The partners for this project include Linus Pauling Middle School and members of Corvallis High School’s Life Skills Classes.

Morgan St. Jean, who serves as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Oregon Campus Compact at the University of Oregon. St Jean’s project will take place at The Arc of Lane County, where youth will be constructing a useable adult outdoor space – including areas for volleyball, bocce ball, basketball, horseshoe pits and picnic tables.

“Involving children and youth in community service projects helps both our children and our communties,” says Emily Gilliland, chair of the Commission. “Involving young people is a way of showing respect; of letting them know that their actions, opinions and ideas count. Studies also show that youth who volunteer feel more connected to their communities, and tend to do better in school.”

Global Youth Service Day is the largest youth service event in the world and is a year-round effort to expand the impact of the youth service movement. The initiative launches new service organizations, policy changes, and sustainable service programs to create a culture of engaged youth. Planning Tool Kits, Service-Learning Curriculum Guides, Classroom Posters, Micro-Finance Grants, and more are available for youth, parents, teachers, and organizations at

Oregon Volunteers is the Oregon Commission on Voluntary Action and Service. The Commission promotes and supports AmeriCorps, volunteerism and civic engagement to strengthen Oregon communities. For more information about Oregon Volunteers please visit our website

How can we ever thank you?

Here in Oregon, we’re fortunate to have a strong tradition of volunteering, and the stories of the tremendous work these volunteers are doing throughout our state are not only inspiring, but serve as reminders that each of us benefits from volunteerism every day.

Volunteers are at our schools and shelters; in our hospitals and on our hotlines. They coach our kids, visit our veterans, seat us at the symphony, and provide food to families in need. They are the docents in our parks, gardens, and museums; the friends of our libraries; and the behind-the-scenes people who are helping hundreds of government agencies and non-profits create a better, stronger, healthier, and safer world for all of us.

The importance of acknowledging and honoring the individuals, groups, programs and businesses whose volunteer efforts have such a positive effect cannot be overstated.

How can you do this? Nominate them for a 2010 Governor’s Volunteer Award.

The Governor’s Volunteer Awards are designed to recognize and celebrate volunteers from all over Oregon for their efforts, dedication, and commitment to helping individuals and enhancing our communities.

Nominations for the 2010 Governor’s Volunteer Awards are open now. Award categories include:

  • Outstanding Youth Volunteer (age 18 or younger)
  • Outstanding Adult Volunteer (age 19 - 54)
  • Outstanding Senior Volunteer (age 55 or better)
  • Outstanding Volunteer Program
  • Outstanding Statewide Volunteer Program (operating in 3 or more Regions)
  • Outstanding Youth Volunteer Program or Group
  • Outstanding Employee Volunteer Program, and
  • Outstanding Lifetime Volunteer Achievement (at least 10 years of service)

Nominations are due on May 10, 2010; all awardees will be recognized at the annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards luncheon in Salem on Oct. 22, 2010.

To learn more or to submit a nomination, visit the Oregon Volunteers website, and take the time thank the great volunteers who are making Oregon even better every day.

Change the world...from right here in Portland!

Want to change the world? Get started in your own community. Hands On Greater Portland can help.

On Saturday, April 24 (Comcast Cares Day) more than 1,800 volunteers will plant trees, sort school supplies, paint and meet critical community needs.

Find a project and sign up today.

"The world is hugged by the faithful arms of volunteers." ~Terri Guillemets

Posted on April 7, 2010 in Volunteering, AmeriCorps, Civic Engagement.