To recognize the millions of Floridians who volunteer annually and also encourage other Floridians to serve our state’s communities, Governor Rick Scott has proclaimed April as Florida Volunteer Month.
Governor Scott said, “I'm glad to recognize the service of volunteers across Florida who dedicate their time to make a difference in their communities. Floridians dedicated millions of hours during last year's devastating hurricane season, and we are proud to honor them in April.”
This year Volunteer Florida, the lead agency for volunteerism and national service in Florida, is launching #VF30in30. This new initiative will recognize 30 outstanding Florida volunteers by highlighting one volunteer a day throughout the month of April.
Volunteer Florida CEO Vivian Myrtetus said, “It is always an honor to recognize the thousands of amazing volunteers throughout our state who work to make a difference in their communities each and every day. We are excited to celebrate this month—to honor and recognize our volunteers, as well as encourage others to learn more about volunteer opportunities throughout the state.”
Volunteer Florida administers more than $32 million in federal, state and local funding to deliver high-impact national service, including AmeriCorps, and volunteer programs in Florida. Volunteer Florida also serves as Florida’s lead agency for volunteers and donations before, during and after disasters.
Linda Smith is one of Florida’s volunteers who has been serving her community for over ten years. During the year, she spends time volunteering with senior adults, Florida Baptist Disaster Relief, Florida Baptist Children’s Home, going on church mission trips and working with Tallahassee Firefighters to feed the homeless during the holidays.
One of her most memorable moments is volunteering with the Florida Baptist Disaster Relief to provide mass feeding at the Greater Jacksonville Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham. Smith assisted with preparing over 2,200 meals that were delivered to 6 different locations by the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross.
“When we share our time and talents, we are able to solve problems, strengthen communities, improve lives, connect to others and even transform our own lives,” Smith said. “It only takes one person to change a life or multiple lives for good.”
“Making a difference in just one person’s life can have such a profound impact on them and on the person volunteering. I have found that the more you volunteer and help others, the more you want to do more,” she added.
Lisa Bush, the division director of Leon County’s volunteer center, also encourages volunteerism in the community. Between special events, days of service and ongoing volunteers in county departments, Leon County Volunteer Center currently has over 5,000 volunteers that participate annually.
“Volunteers are one of the biggest assets that our community has and especially during time of disaster, because the government cannot do things alone,” Bush said. “This is a great community for people for people who step up and want to do something.”
To find out additional information about Leon County Volunteer Services and to apply to become a county volunteer visit: http://volunteer.volunteerleon.org.