Volunteers are priceless

National Volunteer Week is April 21-27. This special week has always been a worthy reminder to recognize and appreciate all that volunteers accomplish. According to the report “Volunteering and Civic Life in America 2012,” volunteers in the United States gave 8 billion hours with an estimated economic value of $171 billion. In Minnesota, we’re especially good at it. The same report ranked Minnesota fourth among the states with 38 percent of Minnesotans giving 171.8 million hours for a value of $3.7 billion to the economy.

If you crunch some numbers, you will note that the hourly value placed on volunteer service is currently just over $20 an hour. That figure is annually recalculated and set by the organization Independent Sector using a long-standing formula. To wrap our thoughts around a value of the diverse and prolific tasks performed by volunteers, some are attempting to peg a formula that will perhaps be used to uncover an actual return on investment figure for any training, material and management dollars invested in preparing volunteers to complete a mission.

During this week celebrating volunteers, setting all those numbers aside, all 38 member organizations of The Volunteer Bridge overwhelmingly agree that the value of volunteer service to each of our agencies in the Sherburne County area is priceless. Our missions could not be successfully accomplished without our volunteers. There are also many neighbor-to-neighbor tasks being done that are priceless, often unnoticed and uncelebrated.

So, if you are able to, and choose to volunteer in any way to make the world a better place, please know that you are truly priceless. Thank you very much.

Thank you, also to the Star News. In the spirit of volunteer service, this newspaper routinely donates space to publish a variety of current needs for volunteers that are submitted by The Volunteer Bridge. Watch for that listing near the RSVP/Volunteer Bridge logo to find out how you can help. — Charlotte Strei, RSVP, for the member agencies of The Volunteer Bridge, Elk River

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