Governor pushes volunteer initiative - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Governor pushes volunteer initiative

September 28, 2006

Albany -- Governor Sonny Purdue is challenging you to serve and volunteer in your community starting tommorow. "Hands on Georgia Week" goes from September 30th through October 7th.

It's a push by the governor to get people out of their homes and into volunteerism. The governor says that volunteers help shape an educated, healthy, and safe state of Georgia.

Volunteers I spoke with say helping achieve those goals is very gratifying.

Three days a week YMCA volunteer soccer coach Robert Paige reaches out to young ball players.

"It brings a joy to me to just be able to come out here play the game that I love, playing soccer, and then to be playing it with the next generation, the youth of tommorow," said Robert Paige.

Like any other college student Paige has other commitments in life such as a part-time job and schoolwork. But his current game plan includes giving back to his community.

It's volunteer work like this that the United Way's Volunteer Albany organization looks to fill.

"Volunteers will come to our office and actually submit a resume or fill out an application, just like they were applying for a job," said Wayne Mehearg.

But they don't get a job, they are assigned to volunteer with a particular civic, non-profit, church or government group.

"You've got volunteers who want to give up their time, give something to the community, but they don't have any partcular program in their mind so they come to us," said Wayne Mehearg.

Those volunteers are matched with volunteer work in their area of expertise, and when volunteers are matched with work they enjoy...

"It's just to experience that wonderful feeling that you're giving back to your community," said Nathan Crider.

Volunteer Coach Nathan Crider says impacting young people in soccer is how he gives back. Others volunteers say it's a matter of finding something you get a kick out of.

"You can volunteer whatever you like doing if you like picking up trash, if it's fun for you, it's not volunteer work," said Robert Paige.

Coach Paige says his volunteer work positively impacts the community, and he hopes it will impact the future too.

Governor Purdue's "Hands on Georgia Week" encourages Georgians to get into literacy programs, outdoor cleanup, and civic services.

Volunteer Albany can place volunteers into 119 different groups. To find a place where you can volunteer, call the organization at 883-6700.

Feedback: news@walb.com?subject=GeorgiaVolunteers/NJ