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National Service Blog - Archive
by
Wendy Spencer

During this holiday season, we are reminded of a timeless lesson:  it is better to give than receive, more blessed to serve than be served. And our new Volunteering and Civic Life in America report shows that Americans embrace this idea -- not only during the holidays, but all year long.

The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) issues this research every year in partnership with the National Conference on Citizenship. The research provides a wealth of information on volunteering and civic life, including trends and demographics for the nation, every state, and 126 cities. This in-depth “look under the hood” helps local leaders better understand volunteer dynamics and develop strategies to engage more citizens in meeting community needs. 

Volunteering Remains Strong | 1 in 4 Americans volunteer (26.5%), enhancing opportunities for their neighbors and communities.  64.5 million Americans served 7.9 billion hours.

Our new report shows that volunteering remains stable and strong across the United States, and has a strong pull across generations. Altogether, more than 64.5 million adults volunteered through an organization in 2012, for a national volunteer rate of 26.5 percent, essentially unchanged from the prior year. Volunteers gave nearly 7.9 billion hours of service, worth an estimated $175 billion, based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour.

We found that Americans commitment to volunteering spans across generations:

  • America’s teens continue to increase their level of volunteering, rising by nearly 3 percent during the last six years.
  • Generation X volunteers (current age 32 to 48) are riding an even-longer streak of volunteering increases, and they now have the highest volunteer rate of any age group.
  • Not to be outdone, our seniors 65 and over are staying involved, contributing a median of 90 hours annually, a figure far above the level of the general population.

Like last year, we found that parents are the backbone of community volunteering, with more than one-third of those living with children under 18 taking the time to help. And let’s not forget our country’s working moms, who volunteer significantly more than the general population in addition to all of their other responsibilities.

Volunteers are the giving heart of America, essential to our nation’s social and economic well-being. They do hard-but-important work: helping kids learn to read and stay in school, rebuilding communities after disasters, connecting veterans to services, bringing life back to forgotten neighborhoods, and much more.

Volunteering also connects us with our neighbors and provides a chance to use own skills for the common good. Our Volunteering as a Pathway to Employment study showed that volunteers have a 27 percent higher likelihood of finding a job after being out of work than non-volunteers. These connections create benefits that are even more pronounced for volunteers who don’t have a high school diploma or who live in rural areas, increasing the likelihood of finding work by 51 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

This spirit of generosity doesn’t end with the time volunteers give. Our research found that volunteers are twice as likely to donate to charity as non-volunteers, with 8 in 10 volunteers ready to open their wallets for a good cause, compared to just 4 in 10 for those who don’t volunteer. 

All of this is great news for our nonprofits, our communities, and our country, and says so much about the nation in which we are blessed to live.

This time of year is often when we reflect on the past year and set our goals for the next. Given all the good it does for you and your community; resolve to make volunteering a part of your life in 2014.

Wendy Spencer is CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service. Learn more about the 2013 Volunteering in Civic Life in America research at VolunteeringinAmerica.gov. To find a volunteer opportunity in your community, visit Serve.gov. This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post Impact blog.

Keywords: AmeriCorps, Education, Literacy, Minnesota, Reading
“Where do you find the time?” is a question that could be posed to many parents, but the 2012 Volunteering and Civic Life in America (VCLA) report shows that many in this group are carving space in their busy schedules to help others in their communities. Allison Moore, a military spouse and mother of three young children in Missouri, is a prime example.
As Hurricane Sandy efforts transition from emergency response to long-term recovery, AmeriCorps members are providing vital leadership in communities up and down the East Coast.
The new Volunteering and Civic Life in America report gives researchers at the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) a chance to examine some of the trends in these two important areas of life in these United States. This data from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and 51 cities provides a snapshot of how Americans are coming together to improve our communities and who is leading the way.
Working together to strengthen our communities is at the core of our national values. New research indicates that this commitment to service burns brighter than ever.
The Hurricane Sandy recovery continues with more than 1,660 national service participants deployed in response to the storm and 715 currently serving on the ground and working with the storm’s victims. At this time 407 members of FEMA Corps, an AmeriCorps NCCC unit, have deployed or are being re-routed to New York and New Jersey to support FEMA Emergency Response operations in those areas.
Our friends weigh in often on our Facebook page with comments, opinions, and all kinds of interesting observations.
As military deployments became more common for National Guard and Reserve troops, the emotional strain hits children left behind especially hard. Operation: Military Kids (OMK) supports military youth age 5-18 with outreach programs to help them cope with the stresses of being away from their parents serving far from home.
Even though there are plenty of distractions around the holiday season, let’s not forget the victims of Hurricane Sandy who are still reassembling their lives in the storm’s aftermath. The Corporation for National and Community Service joins other federal and national agencies in the recovery effort with a commitment that’s used by our Disaster Services Unit: “You can count on us to respond fast and stay last.”
Did you know that some of the programs under the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) banner have been in existence for nearly 50 years? We’ve created a new national service timeline to show how we got to where we are today.
On Saturday, Dec. 1, the global community observes World AIDS Day as the march continues toward creating an AIDS-free generation. AIDS United, a Social Innovation Fund (SIF) and AmeriCorps grantee, is one of many groups supporting the work on the front lines of this epidemic.
When asked how to best honor her husband, Coretta Scott King replied, "The greatest birthday gift my husband could receive is if people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds celebrated the holiday by performing individual acts of kindness through service to others." As the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service approaches on Jan. 21, 2013, teachers and students across the country are exploring the idea of service to others through an online curriculum created by the Corporation for National and Community Service and Scholastic
As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, the Serve.gov blog will highlight some of the best stories from the field. Today we have a personal reflection from AmeriCorps NCCC member Nicole Wojcik, who is serving with team Delta 10 and staffing a donation hotline in New Jersey.
The transient nature of military life can make life difficult for students in military families, and many are stationed at Fort Leonard Wood for less than two years or experience parental deployment. They often have challenges with making new friends, fitting into social groups, and connecting with the community.
As President Obama said in his proclamation declaring November as Military Family Month, behind each service member "stands a parent, a sibling, a child, a spouse -- proud family members who share the weight of deployment and make profound sacrifices on behalf of our country."
This Thanksgiving, as we gather with loved ones and give thanks for the blessings in our lives, let us also commit to share those blessings through service to others.
AS220 Youth Studio, a Rhode Island program to help troubled youth get involved with the arts to bring positive outcomes in their lives and longstanding AmeriCorps VISTA project, was recognized as one of the nation’s 12 most outstanding arts programs for young people during a White House event hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama.
As the Hurricane Sandy recovery continues, more stories are starting to come in about our national service members' experiences in the field. Whether they traveled across the country to affected areas or collected much-needed items far from the storm's path, their work continues to inspire.
The following post was originally published on the White House Blog on November 19, 2012. Arthur T. Dean is the Chairman and CEO of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, and a retired Major General in the U.S. Army.
A day designed around the idea of “thanks” is a natural for those who want to give back. And as Americans have opened their hearts and wallets to disasters like the Hurricane Sandy relief and recovery efforts, there are many other ways to show thanks by helping those in need this holiday season.
Last week, I led a delegation to New York and New Jersey to visit sites providing disaster assistance to people affected by Hurricane Sandy. Throughout the day, we were joined by local elected officials who are working hard to meet the needs of their communities. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, New Jersey Lt. Gov. and Secretary of State Kim Guadagno, U.S. Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), and New York City Councilman Brad Lander each joined us for a portion of the day.
President Obama visited with members of FEMA Corps, a unit of AmeriCorps NCCC, during his November 15 trip to survey the Hurricane Sandy damage in Staten Island, NY. A small contingent of the 428 FEMA Corps members currently serving in New York and New Jersey met the President at a Staten Island Disaster Recovery Center as the scene was broadcast across the nation.
The work continues on the Hurricane Sandy recovery front in New York, New Jersey, and across the Northeast as approximately 1,200 national service members have been deployed in response to the storm. Read on to see some of the stories about service and volunteerism in the super storm’s wake.
Today's Wordless Wednesday focuses on national service in action as members and volunteers from the Corporation for National and Community Service programs join others working on the Hurricane Sandy recovery.
Many members of the national service family are hard at work in areas stricken by Hurricane Sandy, providing services that keep the recovery moving forward. Check out some scenes from the work we captured recently in New York and New Jersey.
On Veterans Day, thousands of veterans around the country will spend their time doing what they know how to do best: serve others selflessly.
Many of our AmeriCorps members have made cross-country treks to help with the Hurricane Sandy recovery and cleanup. Now one group from the Washington Conservation Corps has had its transition from working on trail projects to helping at a Brooklyn emergency shelter chronicled in The New York Times.
Community HealthCorps Navigators serving through the Institute for Family Health (IFH) have been involved in Hurricane Sandy Relief in a variety of areas in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City.
My name is Rebecca Lange and I am a proud alumna of the second class of AmeriCorps NCCC. I served at the Central Region campus in Denver, CO, from 1995-1996, a wide-eyed high school graduate looking for an adventure, a unique way to serve, and beyond excited to begin what I hoped to be an awesome life.
On Veterans Day, November 11, we honor the brave men and women who have selflessly served our country and risked their lives to protect our freedoms. There are many ways to give back to the more than 23 million vets who have sacrificed so much.
A six-member crew from the AmeriCorps Cape Cod Fire Corps is currently in the middle of a one-week deployment to the Fort Wadsworth area in Staten Island, NY.

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