Thursday, August 11, 2011

HandsOn West Central Ohio Volunteers Serving Through RSVP Give Four Times Annual Hours as Other Volunteers in Dayton Region

While giving back through a volunteer-matching program such as HandsOn West Central Ohio is just one way Americans are making a difference, local statistics from the group show that volunteers serving through the program are contributing to their communities at rates higher than those of their peers. In 2010, the average Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) volunteer serving through HandsOn gave more than 110 hours throughout the year as opposed to the 25 hours contributed by residents of the Dayton region during the same time period. Eight percent of those same RSVP volunteers shared five hours or more per week, with the average RSVP member volunteering within at least two nonprofit organizations.

Volunteers provide a powerful economic and social benefit to communities across the nation, with 62.8 million adults serving almost 8.1 billion hours through organizations in 2010, according to research released today by the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). HandsOn West Central Ohio, a program of Council on Rural Services, saw more than 1,500 volunteers share 35,700 hours last year, including 301 members of the group’s RSVP program. CNCS’s annual Volunteering in America research finds that America’s volunteers provided services valued at nearly $173 billion to communities and the nation last year, using Independent Sector’s estimate of the dollar value of volunteer time. HandsOn, including RSVP, reports that volunteers contributed services valued at over $744,600 to more than 100 nonprofit organizations in Darke, Logan, Miami and Shelby Counties during 2010.

As volunteers fill critical voids in their community’s infrastructure, state and local leaders increasingly recognize the key role volunteers play in addressing economic and social challenges at a time of fiscal constraint. “Our volunteers, particularly our RSVP members, are making a real difference in the lives of so many people,” says Nicolette Winner, HandsOn West Central Ohio Director. “Our RSVP volunteers have started a mobile food pantry, coordinate volunteer physicians and nurses for a local health clinic, respond to local and national disasters, tutor students, manage other volunteers for blood drives, organize large days of volunteer service for our entire region, and so much more. With 225 nonprofit organizations requesting our assistance locally and only 100 of them currently receiving volunteers through us, there is so much more need to be met.”

Nearly 500 service opportunities are available via the HandsOn website at, and the group is already making plans for its third annual celebration of Make a Difference Day in October. To learn more about the program, which is a program of Council on Rural Services, visit the group’s website or call (937) 778-5220. Like the program’s page on Facebook at

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