Volunteer Louisiana | Celebrating 20 years

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Louisianians volunteer 129 million hours per year

Read Their Stories
Nicholas Guillery

Nicholas Guillery

Do you think volunteer service is important? Why?
Yes, volunteer service is important not only because it is good to give back to your community, but because when you serve, you not only help those around you but you help yourself grow as an individual by pushing yourself pass your limits..
Please share an example of when you volunteer service really made a significant impact.
While working with Rebuilding Together of Acadiana, I was able to help build a wheelchair access ramp that gave a person who was wheelchair bound the ease to enter their home without struggling. I was able to see the instant appreciation from the people who receive this gift.
What is your favorite/ most memorable volunteer experience?
My favorite experience was going on the service trip this past winter. I was able to work with a large number of my teammates accomplishing home restoration in area that were affected by Hurricane Katrina. We stayed in New Orleans for an entire week living side by side. Not only were we able to give people their lives back by helping in the reconstruction, we as grew alongside each other by getting to know each other better.
Shelby Wilson

Shelby Wilson

How did you get started in volunteer service?
I started volunteer service with beta clubs back in high school. Volunteer service was required and everyone was expected to do so. While my volunteer service started with mandatory activities, I quickly realized that I had a passion for helping people/communities. I started to volunteer more of my time in clubs and church groups.
How would you go about recruiting additional volunteers for a project you were planning?
I believe the best way to promote volunteerism is to show your passion for it. Passion is contagious and people will want to make a difference. They simply need to be given the opportunity.
What is your favorite or most memorable volunteer experience?
I participated in an event called “Zumbathon” that was raising awareness for human trafficking. Slavery is a great injustice and should not be allowed to continue. Just getting the word out about human trafficking can help prevent incidents. The event managed to raise $2000 for the Polaris Project that performs victim rescue.
Do you feel volunteering has been rewarding for you as a person? Has it enriched you in some way?
Volunteer service has been rewarding for me as a person in many ways. I have met a lot of great people and made important contacts. You will also learn a lot about yourself. What you do and don’t like. A few of the greatest features you are likely to develop from volunteer service are patience and compassion.
Kathy Lenard

Kathy Lenard

How would you describe a volunteer/volunteer service?
Volunteer service is the giving of you without monetary or other kind of reward. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Do you feel volunteer service is important? Why?
Yes, volunteer service improves the condition of the community. It also has the effect of making the volunteer good about themselves for helping others. If you lead a blessed life then you should feel a need to help others less fortunate.
Has volunteer service helped you establish meaningful connections with people in the community?
Yes, I have met a lot of people and friends through volunteerism. I have met a lot of families and was able to help them. Helping these people makes me feel good that I have done something important. My volunteer service eventually drew my husband and grandson into similar activities.
What is your favorite/memorable volunteer experience?
I have many great experiences volunteering but my favorite was The United Way’s A Dollars in Sense Fair. This event was designed to help college students make smart decisions with their money and avoid costly mistakes while in school. Some of the biggest topics were avoiding deep debt and bad credit. Bad credit can follow you through life so it is important to learn how to make smart choices early on.
Jennifer Burdette

Jennifer Burdette

How would you describe a volunteer
A volunteer is someone who gives without expecting anything in return, who reaches out to help those in need without selfish motivation such as monetary payment. Serving as a volunteer means stepping up to give yourself and your service to a cause in which you believe is worthy. I’d describe a volunteer as giving, caring, unselfish and probably loving-among other similar characteristics.
How did you get started in volunteer service?
My first experiences with volunteering began at animal shelters. After the care cadet program at the LASPCA in New Orleans, I started volunteering with The Animal Assistance League at Slidell Animal Shelter—which is something I continued doing for over 6 years. I also grew to love going on mission trips with my youth group at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Slidell for a number of summers doing a variety of things in a variety of places such as West Virginia, Florida, and helping a lot of different people. I am currently involved as an AmeriCorps volunteer.
When has your volunteer service made a significant impact?
An example of the most significant volunteer service that really made a significant impact on my life—it actually was the defining moment that lead me to follow my calling of helping people that need it. My youth group went on a mission trip to Juarez, Mexico with the intentions of building three homes for local families suffering from poverty and really horrible living conditions. What I saw in Juarez impacted my life so severely, so many things that I had taken for granted came to the light. It was the first time I really witnessed poverty in almost third world form. The families for whom we built houses were living out of cardboard boxes pulled apart and stapled together with tarps for the lucky ones. After a mere three days, our three teams of teenagers had built all three homes. It was the look and tears in their eyes that day, and the gratefulness and warmth we felt that changed my life entirely.
Cheryl Bryant

Cheryl Bryant

How would you describe a volunteer
I would describe a volunteer as a person giving their time and talent to help others or a cause in their community.
How did you get started in volunteer service?
I started volunteering with my mother in the 70’s. I was in middle school and I would help her during summer camp at the Boys and Girls Club when she did arts and crafts with the younger children.
Share an example of when your volunteer service really made a significant impact.
When I was collecting clothing and toys for Katrina disaster victims, people were so willing to help anyway possible.
Has volunteer service helped you establish meaningful connections with people in the community? Make additional friends or work contacts?
Yes, volunteering has allowed me to make strong connections with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Acadiana, as well as several social organizations in the community.
Dionna Henry

Dionna Henry

Do you think volunteer service is important? Why?
I think volunteer service is extremely important. As a citizen of your community, it's almost an obligation to give back to the less fortunate and just helping out others in need. One day you may be in the position where you need help, so it's only the right thing you give back because you'd expect the same in return.
How did you get started in volunteer service?
As a young child, I've always been involved in community service. I started when I was maybe nine or ten. My mother is involved in a lot of projects so I always went to work with her to help her out.
Please share an example of when your volunteer service really made a significant impact.
Recently, a park in my community was burned down. It was a great asset to our community and it really devastated my community. I volunteered to help rebuild the park, and it has benefited not only myself, but the whole community.
Judd Jeansonne

Judd Jeansonne

What is a volunteer/volunteer service?
A volunteer is someone who makes a difference in their community. A volunteer gives up their time to give a little back.
Please share an example of when your volunteer service made a significant impact.
What comes to mind is the disaster recovery effort after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Hurricane Rita in particular because it struck so close to home. A lot of neighborhoods were devastated. Houses were in complete ruin and the local people were forced to cram into emergency shelters or relative’s homes. We were able to come through and help fix these ravaged houses. We gave the people hope and a place to live in again.
Has volunteer service helped you establish meaningful connections with people in the community?
Yes, I believe that all volunteer service is a community effort. In order to accomplish great things it takes a strong team effort. Volunteer service will help build team-building and leadership skills. It also provides an opportunity, especially for young people, to do some effective networking.
What is your most memorable volunteer experience?
My most memorable volunteer experience would be building a wheel chair ramp for a disabled person’s home. The disabled person had been stuck in their house for years, only able to get something as basic as fresh air with help. Our group spent twelve hours building the ramp. After we finished, she broke into tears called the whole group back to the home to thank them. This was an unforgettable experience where we made a real difference.
D'ina Brown

D'ina Brown

How would you describe a volunteer/volunteer service? What is it?
Volunteer service is exactly what it says, services that are volunteered. A volunteer is someone who has a passion for making a difference, no matter how small or big that difference may be.
Do you think volunteer service is important? Why?
I believe that volunteer service in very important. Not only is it important to the organization or cause in which you are volunteering for but it is also important for the volunteer. It is important for the volunteer because it makes them feel awesome; they are doing something that they love to do.
How would you go about recruiting additional volunteers for a project you were planning?
I would do a survey of interest because I believe that people work more efficiently when they are doing something that they enjoy.
What is your favorite/memorable volunteer experience?
The most memorable experience was when I volunteered in New Orleans, LA. It was with Project Homecoming and we were repairing Katrina victims’ homes. Fortunately for the home I was working on I got a chance to meet the homeowner. She was an amazing woman and the gratitude she showed us for volunteering our services to working on her home was awesome.
Kay Barnett

Kay Barnett

How would you describe a volunteer/volunteer service? What is it?
Volunteers are people who give of themselves to improve quality of life and quality of place. Volunteer service provides an opportunity to meet people, to connect to meaningful things, to make a difference and to become better people. Volunteering is a way to share our talents and skills and to also learn from others. I believe we become more well-rounded people when we volunteer. We develop the whole self.
How did you get started in volunteer service?
I began volunteering as a child through school organizations and church activities. When I was in first grade, I became a member of Girl Scouts and Camp Fire starting out as a Bluebird, then a Brownie and so on. I was always volunteering at church functions and summer camps. Having a great love for people and life, I have found that volunteering adds to the balance I need in my life to keep me grounded.
Do your family and friends volunteer as well?
Yes, my family and friends volunteer. It can be contagious and can bring families and friends closer together. It is great fun to volunteer with our families and friends, and I also find it rewarding to do “my thing” as well.
Do you think volunteer service is important? Why?
Volunteer service is essential so that we can have that continuum of betterment in our communities. It does take “a village” to make the world better! Having access to volunteer services not only helps assure the completion of efforts and projects, but it also allows people to give back to the things that are most important to them.
Mayor Randy Roach

Mayor Randy Roach

Mayor Randy Roach has served the public in various capacities at the local and state levels over the past 20 years. He served as State Representative for District 36 from 1988 to 1996 and has served as Mayor of Lake Charles since 2000. He is an ardent support of the Impact Lake Charles – AmeriCorps, which is housed in his office.

Impact Lake Charles provides academic assistance and mentoring to at-risk students in schools and after-school programs at one school in Lake Charles. Corps members also provide assistance to nonprofits and participate in community events to promote volunteerism and community growth.

20 years of service

For 20 years, the Volunteer Louisiana Commission in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor has promoted and encouraged national service and volunteerism as a cost-effective strategy to meet critical community needs. Programming includes community service projects, AmeriCorps grants, management of volunteers in disaster and voluntourism.

Since its inception, Volunteer Louisiana has invested over more than $55 million in federal funds which have been matched locally by over more than $40 million to deploy 18,889 AmeriCorps members in 47 programs serving 6,338,975 hours to meet community needs. Currently 47 percent of all Louisiana citizens are now engaged in service in to their communities. They give 129 million hours annually at an average of 60 hours per person, which translates to $2.8 billion in service to the state.

To commemorate the anniversary Volunteer Louisiana is featuring signature community service and celebratory events to highlight volunteerism’s impact throughout the state.

Jay Dardenne

"Since 1993, the Volunteer Louisiana Commission has created and fostered high quality programming to meet the critical needs of our citizens and to promote an ethic of service. Community service provides opportunities for individuals to achieve academic success, develop job skills, strengthen communities and build a culture of good citizenship and personal responsibility. Volunteers are some of our state’s most valuable resources."

- Lt. Governor Jay Dardenne

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Champions of Service Gala

October 24th

Volunteer Louisiana 20th Anniversary

There is a National Day of Service in almost every month. These are special days to encourage people to volunteer in their communities. In Louisiana, we focus on five days where we spearhead efforts to encourage our citizens to get involved:
* January: MLK Day
* April: National Volunteer Week
* April: Global Youth Service Day
* September: 9/11 Day of Remembrance and Service
* October: Make a Difference Day

Days of Service organizers typically have large-scale events that make it easy to participate for an hour, a half-day or a full day. The simple act of individuals coming together for a common goal makes a huge impact in the lives of our most vulnerable citizens and our most critical social priorities such as education, healthy futures, affordable housing, economic opportunity and disaster recovery. Join us by participating in a project near you. Watch for postings on our Facebook page, our website homepage and our Twitter feed. See a list of all National Days of Service at http://www.energizeinc.com/prof/events/eventsNA.html.