Laura Dickinson: Volunteerism’s critical role in Summit County |

Laura Dickinson: Volunteerism’s critical role in Summit County

It’s National Volunteer Week, and that means it’s time to increase awareness in our community about the value and importance of volunteering. Whether you are trying to meet new people, “give back” to your community, or increase skills to improve your prospects in the job market, volunteer work can be a tremendously rewarding experience.

Summit County holds a wide variety of opportunities for members of our community to get involved in volunteering. One example is RSVP, a national volunteer program designed specifically for ages 55 and beyond. During 2009, 271 volunteers in Summit County’s RSVP program contributed over 16,494 volunteer hours at 42 diverse non-profit and volunteer “stations,” representing a value of more than $375,000 in service to our community. Last year, over 7,500 volunteers served over a million volunteer hours in 14 RSVP programs throughout our state. Contact Christy Nelson at the Summit County Community and Senior Center at (970) 668-2942, or at, if you are interested in becoming an RSVP volunteer.

The newly formed Mountain Meals on Wheels Program is another worthwhile volunteer option in our community. The purpose of this program is to provide nutritious home-delivered meals to adults of any age who are homebound and unable to prepare their own meals due to health issues. Volunteers with Mountain Meals on Wheels are required to undergo a thorough background screening before they are scheduled to deliver meals. If you would like to learn more about volunteering for Mountain Meals on Wheels, contact Mary Jane Hayhurst at (970) 485-0641, or at

Many other volunteer opportunities abound in our community. If you would like to access a central listing of volunteer opportunities available in Summit County, please visit and click on the “Volunteer!” tab at the top of the page. If you have volunteer needs that you would like to be included in this listing, please e-mail detailed information, along with your contact info to:

Make room in your life for volunteering … the rewards you receive from giving of yourself will come back to you and to our community in abundance!

Laura Dickinson is the website coordinator for She may be contacted at

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