Every year, 62 million Americans volunteer at their local schools, hospices, thrift shops, community centers and homeless shelters. From museums to parks, animals to people, education to conservation, there are thousands of volunteer opportunities that span just about every skill and talent.
Currently, 26 percent of the population donates an average of 52 hours of time (per person) a year -- about an hour a week [source: United States Department of Labor/Bureau of Labor Statistics]. The most active volunteers are those between the ages of 35 to 44, with women volunteering at a higher rate (29.4 percent) than men (23.2 percent) do. All of these people deserve a collective pat on the back, which they get during National Volunteer Week in April.
Every third week of April, nonprofits, community groups, volunteer centers, corporations, and city and state governments hold receptions, luncheons and other special events to recognize their volunteers. During this time, organizations often hand out awards or gifts to volunteers to acknowledge their contributions.
The purpose of National Volunteer week is to not only thank current volunteers but to encourage more people to volunteer by drawing attention to those who are already helping make the world a better place [source: Corporation for National & Community Service].
As the number of social issues continues to multiply as fast as our population, charities use this week to recruit more people to help ease the strain of an ever-increasing need for volunteers.
Read on to find out which president signed the proclamation that established National Volunteer Week.