By Governor Dave Heineman
I encourage all Nebraskans to get involved in their communities as a volunteer during ServeNebraska Week, April 20-26. Many Nebraskans generously give their time through volunteerism every day, and this special week is set aside to focus on the ability of all Nebraskans to serve others. My wife Sally and I look forward to volunteering for ServeNebraska Week alongside many others in our state. To do our part, we will be reading to students at McPhee Elementary in Lincoln.
The ServeNebraska Week works to inspire Nebraskans to seek out creative ways to serve their communities. This statewide effort encourages families, students, civic groups, nonprofits, employees, and individuals of all ages and backgrounds to volunteer their time in giving back to their communities.
The ServeNebraska website includes a way to find an ambassador in each county. The ambassador can help volunteers locate a volunteer activity in their community if they don’t know where to start.
I’d like to speak directly to one misconception about being a volunteer – you don’t have to be a super hero to volunteer. Every Nebraskan can have a big impact. You can make a difference in the lives of your neighbors and in your communities on any given day.
Volunteerism is one thing that sets Nebraska apart because Nebraskans are always quick to step up and help others. The great thing about volunteering is that we all have something we can contribute. Anyone can volunteer, and volunteerism spans all ages. It’s about working together to meet your community needs and accomplish your goals. Once you start volunteering and you realize the little things that you can do and the positive difference that you can make, Nebraskans are more than willing to keep contributing.
According to the recent Volunteering in America Report, Nebraska ranks 5th in volunteerism among the 50 states. This week-long effort provides Nebraskans with the flexibility to volunteer at any time or place with a goal to have participation in all 93 counties.
Volunteer service has a tremendous impact on our state. In 2012, 500,000 Nebraska residents volunteered. They donated over 50 million hours of service worth $900 million of service contributed.
We also want to create a culture that makes volunteerism a life-long activity. By volunteering, an individual gives of their time and talents to benefit someone else’s life. The beneficiaries of ServeNebraska Week will be the organizations where our state’s volunteers direct their efforts.
For more information on ServeNebraska Week and to register your individual or group volunteer activity, visit their website at www.serve.nebraska.gov. By registering your volunteer activity at the ServeNebraska website we are able to track volunteer participation and impact across the state. Thank you for contributing to our communities through volunteering and helping others.