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National Volunteer Week 2012

by Samantha Jo Warfield

Volunteer Check-in Station

Last year, 64.3 million Americans gave their time in service. These volunteers spent hours in schools and shelters, hospitals and hotlines, and faith-based and community-groups. They are the everyday heroes who show up day in, day out and make a difference for millions of women and men around the world.

April is set aside to honor these volunteers and this year, April 15 -21 has been declared National Volunteer Week by President Barack Obama. How will you celebrate the week? Share your service plans with us on Facebook.

Here are several excerpts from the Proclamation:

Our Nation has been profoundly shaped by ordinary Americans who have volunteered their time and energy to overcome extraordinary challenges. From the American Revolution and the Seneca Falls Convention to the everyday acts of compassion and purpose that move millions to make change in their communities, our Nation has always been at its best when individuals have come together to realize a common vision. As we continue to pursue progress, service and social innovation will play an essential role in achieving our highest ambitions -- from a world-class education for every child to an economy built to last. During National Volunteer Week, we pay tribute to all who give of themselves to keep America strong, and we renew the spirit of service that has enriched our country for generations....

...That spirit lives on today in countless acts of service around our country. When one of the deadliest tornados in our Nation's history touched down in Joplin, Missouri, in May 2011, thousands of volunteers stepped forward to serve their fellow citizens. They turned a university into a hospital. They repurposed doors for stretchers. They rushed food to those in need and filled trucks with donations. To date, they have committed more than half a million hours to bringing support and shelter to a community during a time of profound hardship and heartache. In Joplin and across America, we see the transformative power of service -- to unite, to build, to heal.

Service is a lifelong pursuit that strengthens the civic and economic fabric of our Nation. With every hour and every act, our lives are made richer, our communities are drawn closer, and our country is forged stronger by the dedication and generous spirit of volunteers. I encourage every American to stand up and play their part -- to put their shoulder up against the wheel and help change history's course. To get started on a project near you, visit http://www.serve.gov/.

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