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Marsha McLean: Volunteer and make a Santa Clarita difference

Live From City Hall

Posted: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 9, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

National Volunteer Week, April 10-16, is a time to catch the giving-back fever through volunteering. Winston Churchill once stated, “We make a living by what we do, but we make a life by what we give.”

Volunteerism is deeply rooted in our country’s history and culture.

From the time of early settlers, when they had a barn-raising, neighbors came from near and far to help. Times have changed, and so has volunteerism, but not the spirit of it. We still make a dramatic difference in our communities and in our quality of life through the gift of our time.

Fundamentally, volunteering is about giving your time, energy and skills freely. Unlike many things in life, there is choice involved in what you choose to give of your time.

It is true that by giving back in your own community you are expressing a sense of achievement and motivation, and this is ultimately generated from a desire to serve and enthusiasm to help.

If we took a satellite photo of the city’s volunteers, you’d see that their work is part of a much greater movement in today’s society.

In 2010, Santa Clarita had more than 4,100 participants log in more than 21,000 volunteer hours for various city events including the Cowboy Festival, Earth/Arbor Day, Make a Difference Day, SCV Marathon, Newhall Community Center, Santa Clarita Visions In Progress Youth Advisory Committee, River Rally, Concerts in the Park and many more.

According to the Independent Sector, a leading coalition of nonprofit programs, the estimated value of a volunteer hour is $20.25.

Using their estimate, the total value of the city’s volunteer efforts for 2010 is over $425,000. Quantifying the price of this time provides us with an indicator of how important this endeavor is to our community.

In addition to these statistics, another benefit is a better quality of life.

Volunteers are a diverse group of people with differing backgrounds, differing experiences, and differing interests.

However, together they represent a critical part of maintaining the vitality of our community and enriching the lives of others through their work.

The city’s volunteers are families, students, homemakers, senior citizens, professionals, service organizations, churches and more. They range in age from 5 years old to more than 80 years old.

From assisting at fun community events, to offering homework help at the city’s Newhall Community Center, volunteers help to enrich the lives of Santa Clarita residents and community children every day.

In celebrating volunteers this month, the city of Santa Clarita would like to extend its gratitude to the thousands of amazing community members who help make Santa Clarita such a great place to live, work and play.

The city honors those who continue the important tradition of volunteerism in our society and who dedicate themselves to taking action and bettering their communities. It is because of the giving of a volunteer’s time and commitment that our events and programs are so successful.

Santa Clarita is one of the most caring cities in the nation. Whether through city or community volunteerism, Santa Clarita ranks among the highest.

If you’re interested in joining the ranks of Santa Clarita’s empowering volunteer community, the city offers countless ways to lend a hand locally to suit varying interests and passions, including signature city events, fun local festivals and much more.

For additional information on local volunteer opportunities, visit www.santa-clarita.com/volunteer or contact the city’s volunteer supervisor at (661) 250-3708.

Marsha McLean is mayor of the city of Santa Clarita and can be reached at mclean@santa-clarita.com. Her column reflects her own views, not necessarily those of The Signal.

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