The last episode of IN Focus aired August 2013; the page below is an archive.
The WFIU/WTIU news team continues its coverage of local and regional issues
in a new weekly program, Indiana Newsdesk.
April 1, 2009
Volunteerism and Community Services
Volunteerism in Bloomington and Indiana
Citizens in the Hoosier state volunteer more on the average compared to other states. Learn how community members are making a different.Watch Video »View Article
Indiana’s 1.5 million volunteers rank 11th in the nation for most hours donated, according to the Corporation of National and Community Service. Those hours are volunteered by people like Bella Caruso, a seven year-old girl who volunteers her time to help cancer awareness and raise funds for Camp Kesem.
Bella, Natalie and almost 100 others were nominated for this year’s Be More Awards, which recognizes outstanding volunteerism and community service in Bloomington and Monroe County.
Beth Gazley, PhD SPEA, indicates that Indiana does compare favorably with the rest of the nation, but that the rate of volunteerism has not changed nationwide.
Elizabeth (Bet) Savich of Bloomington’s Volunteer Network reports that volunteers have less time to volunteer than in the past.
Barry Lessow, Executive Director of United Way of Bloomington and Monroe County, indicated that one quarter of Monroe County nonprofit agencies had trouble retaining volunteers.
One possible solution for the high turnover rates among volunteers is to better match the volunteer with a rewarding outcome that satisfies their need to contribute. Another is the Be More Awards, which was created to celebrate volunteers and the spirit of community service in Bloomington and Monroe County. There were over 100 nominations submitted to the awards this year.
People interested in finding out about volunteer opportunities can contact the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, or their local United Way office.
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Tags: Be More Awards, Bloomington, Camp Kesem, Cancer, Charities, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, Community Service, Corporation of National and Community Service, Elizabeth Savich, Indiana University, Monroe County, Nonprofits, School for Public and Enviormental Affairs, Templeton Elementary School, United Way of Bloomington and Monroe County, Volunteers
Non-Profits strained with few resources and more to help
No matter where you live, someone needs help from the community, especially during times of economic turmoil, when non-profits are strained.Watch Video »View Article
“Whether you’re in Beverly Hills or the inner city of Chicago, there is always a segment of the population that is underserved in terms of affordable housing,” says Mark Andrews, head of US Operations for Habitat for Humanity. Andrews feels that social service agencies eventually win out over economic hardships, even though the process is lengthy, challenging and non-linear.
Natalie Cabanaw, an employee of Nick’s English Hut and another nominee for The Be More Awards, donates her tips on every third Thursday to collect money for charity. The amount varies each month, but Natalie feels her contribution does make a difference. According to the Corporation of National and Community Service, about 30% of Indiana residents volunteer their time, which is slightly above the national average.
Community volunteer Lynn Schwartzberg volunteers because “a certain area of society — primarily the arts and culture – would not exist without the core of volunteers that drive that mission in every community.”
Beth Gazley, PhD SPEA, indicates that volunteers have an impact on over 1.5 million non-profit agencies in the US, since volunteer boards govern those nonprofits. Barry Lessow, Executive Director of United Way of Bloomington and Monroe County, pointed out that in difficult economic times, nonprofits rely even more on volunteers. Volunteer numbers are significantly less during the summer months and people are encouraged to go online and find organizations that need their assistance.
The Lotus Festival, for example, is a three-day music festival that is completely organized by over 500 volunteers. The Festival volunteers recruit and train other volunteers to put on this international festival and oversee organizations with multi-million-dollar annual budgets.
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Tags: Be More Awards, Charities, Community Service, Corporation of National and Community Service, Economic Impact, Habitat for Humanity, Indiana University, Lotus Festival, Mark Andrews, Natalie Cabanaw
Volunteering has other things to offer
Volunteering has its benefits, besides the apparent benefit of feeling all good and warm inside–it can benefit your education, career, and your future.Watch Video »View Article
The O’Bannon Institute exposes Ivy Tech students to service and the value of non-profit organizations to their communities, according to Ivy Tech Bloomington Chancellor, John Whikehart. In an interview with WFIU News Director Stan Jastrzebski, Chancellor Whikehart comments that the philosophy of community service at Ivy Tech has three aspects: 1) Individual volunteerism of students, staff and faculty; 2) service learning that is part of the curriculum; and 3) institutional resources like facilities and events like the O’Bannon Institute.
Elizabeth Savich of Bloomington’s Volunteer Network reports that volunteers who get the most out of volunteering find an organization that is a reflection of themselves. Many of the current nonprofits in Bloomington were created by volunteers, and sustaining those nonprofits through tough economic times will again be dependent upon volunteers.
Steve Goldsmith, former Mayor of Indianapolis and Board Chair of Americorps, feels that people who spend much time in an organization are able to shape the organization, learn what works and what doesn’t work in terms of raising money and are able to really make a difference. Others who do not spend much time in one specific organization give back to many and are able to experience many different ways to organize a fund raiser and will learn a lot while giving back to their community.
Beth Gazley, PhD SPEA, adds that research shows that people who volunteer were raised in families that volunteer.
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Tags: Americorps, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, Community Service, Indiana University, Ivy Tech Community College, O'Bannon Institute, School for Public and Enviormental Affairs, Service Learning, United Way of Bloomington and Monroe County