I am thrilled to see the progress members are making with their Celebrate America! service hours and to see the impact this service has on local communities.
Every time I check the ticker on the Members’ Website or e-Membership the number just keeps going up! In the 7 weeks we have had the Online Tally available we have already reached 871,082 hours. I hope you all will continue to enter your hours so that we can reach the 1 million hours goal before the end of the year.
I know some members may be recording their hours on the paper tally and planning to enter them at the end of the year on the eMQ. I want to encourage you to enter these service hours now via the Online Tally so that we can have the most accurate number of hours available come December 31, 2013. The Online Tally is very easy to use, you can refer to National Chair, LeAnn Turbyfill’s guest blog for more information.
My favorite part of this initiative so far has been hearing how our DAR members are Celebrating America! and making a difference in their communities. It is simply amazing to see the wide range of meaningful service activities with which they are involved.
Today I am going to share with you a few stories that stood out to me.
One member works as a docent at her local zoo where she spends her days volunteering at the elephant and shark exhibits. She gives tours of these animals’ habitats at the zoo and tells visitors all about the life and habits of the elephants and sharks and what the zoo is doing to help these species thrive. She enjoys interacting with the public who always seems to go away learning something new.
Another member spends her volunteer hours working with the Red Cross. She works as a Red Cross Mental Health Volunteer and helps out with disasters in her region and also nationally. Her duties include providing emotional support and comfort, helping survivors understand the range of emotions that goes with a disaster and encourages positive self-care and steps to recovery. Most recently she used her skills to help a community with more than 500 burned-down homes and hundreds of acres of charred forest. She says she is honored and privileged to serve as a Red Cross volunteer and hopes that each contact she makes as a volunteer helps to relieve suffering and provides comfort.
Another interesting volunteer activity is helping people in the local community become registered voters. This member sets up a table at local city events and encourages people to be active citizens and exercise their right to vote. In addition to assisting youth who will soon turn 18 and new residents get registered to vote, she also helps voters update their name or address and answers questions about voting and upcoming elections. She enjoys this service because of the positive impacts it makes by providing a place to learn about the importance of voting and hopes to encourage those who are frustrated to believe in the voting process again and return to the poles.
Another member volunteers with her local VA for an event called “Waves for the Brave,” which is an adaptive sports program that allows veterans to go surfing. The program is designed for veterans who have limited mobility and it provides them with social, emotional, cognitive and physical support. The member worked to help get the adaptive sports wheel chairs down to the water and then served as a “catcher” in the water to help the vets who were riding the waves not get to close to the shore. She was thrilled to see these veterans having fun and experiencing this simple pleasure that we all tend to take for granted.
Each of these members embodies what it means to be a member of Today’s DAR: they each give so much to help others. I hope all members will continue the incredible service work you are doing to Celebrate America! and use the Online Tally to record your hours and tell us what you are doing to make a meaningful volunteer contribution in your local community.