Friday, April 20, 2007

Illinois ranks 29th in adult volunteering. Can we change this?

This is National Volunteer Week in America. All across the country volunteers are being recognized for the service they give to their communities. As the leader of Cabrini Connections, a volunteer-based tutor/mentor program, I am deeply grateful for the many volunteers who share time and talent to help us mentor kids through school and to careers.

This week the Corporation for National and Community Service released a report showing volunteer involvement in Illinois and other states. This is one of many resources that the Corporation offers to help states and communities increase volunteer involvement.

Illinois ranks 29th in volunteer involvement and 38th in measures of civic engagement.

As a leader of volunteerism in Illinois, and as the leader of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, I want to see us do better than ranking 29th in measures of volunteer involvement, and 38th in civic engagement.

In May the Tutor/Mentor Connection will host a leadership conference in Chicago. Our aim is to share ideas that can help tutor/mentor programs recruit volunteers and donors. We want to extend an invitation to participate to the leaders of volunteerism in business, hospitals, universities and faith communities. If business leaders become more strategic in how you encourage volunteerism and philanthropy, you can do more to help tutor/mentor programs get volunteers than the programs can do to help themselves.

If we can build the connection between business and volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs, we can create a pipeline that leads more kids from poverty to jobs and careers.

If we do this creatively in Illinois, and consistently for many years, we can be NUMBER 1 in this important ranking of volunteer involvement from state to state.

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