Each year, thousands of volunteers in Indiana donate their time and energy to make their communities a better place to live. These volunteers will be among the millions across the country who will be spotlighted during the 41st anniversary of National Volunteer Week, April 12-18, 2015.
Research conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service found that 26.5% of adult Americans (64.5 million) volunteered 7.9 billion hours of service worth $175 billion in 2012. In Indiana approximately 1.34 million volunteers contributed 131.1 million hours of service. 28.2% of Indiana residents volunteered ranking Indiana 23rd among the 50 states and Washington, D.C.
One group that relies heavily on volunteers is the Indiana 4-H Program. In 2013 nearly 15,000 youth and adults volunteered in some capacity with 4-H. In Porter County, 235 volunteers, both youth and adult, will serve as club leaders, project leaders, committee members, and in advisory capacities for the 4-H Youth Development Program.
4-H Youth Development Educator Joan Grott states that “Volunteers are the heart of our 4-H program here in Porter County. Their dedication to the program allows us to positively impact nearly 1000 young people in our county.”
Volunteers spend numerous hours working on tasks, such as helping organize an event at the county fair, helping a child with a 4-H project, or leading a project to serve the community.
4-H Program volunteers are just one group of volunteers who are instrumental in carrying out the mission of the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service. Volunteers are involved in every aspect of the Extension Service, including determining the needs of the local residents, planning and implementing programs to address these needs, securing resources, and evaluating programs.
An example of these volunteers is the Porter County Extension Board. The 15-member board, which consists of appointed county citizens, works with the county Extension staff to plan and oversee Extension activities.
The work of Extension volunteers is continuous. Every day volunteers lend a helping hand to make Extension programs more beneficial to the residents of Porter County. Those interested in joining the team of Extension Volunteers are invited to contact the Porter County Extension Office at 219-465-3555.