CHARLESTON, W.Va. _ As educators across West Virginia prepare for the next school year, many may soon see an increase in the number of volunteers as more and more businesses across the state encourage their employees to get involved.
The West Virginia Business Volunteer Council, an initiative started last year to persuade different industries to support volunteer organizations and volunteer efforts by their workers, recently received the National Points of Light Foundation’s Corporate Volunteer Council Fast-Start Award. The award honors a volunteer council’s success in maximizing its operations, effectiveness and accomplishments.
The council was not recognized for any specific volunteer project but was singled out for its statewide effort to promote many types of volunteering in communities across the state. That includes programs that help schoolchildren, such as afterschool tutoring, Read Aloud, coaching, business-school partnerships, college scholarships, computer donations, among others.
“Children gain a great deal when adults and businesses volunteer their time and talent and share their resources with schools,” said state Superintendent of Schools Steve Paine. “A healthy dose of volunteerism is good for the school, the community and the soul.”
In 2006, about one in four or 380,000 residents dedicated 71.5 million hours volunteering, often as a coach, referee, tutor, teacher or mentor, according to Volunteering in America: 2007 State Trends and Rankings in Civic Life.
Since 1989, the percentage of West Virginia volunteers participating with education or youth-service organizations more than doubled from 9.8 percent to 25.5 percent last year.
For more information, contact the West Virginia Department of Education’s Office of Communications at 304-558-2699.