Three mayors from Barton County recognized the local Action AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers with a proclamation Tuesday, marking the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service.
The proclamation recognized the volunteers “who demonstrate commitment, dedication and patriotism by making an intensive commitment to service through the Retired Senior Volunter Program, working with the Meals on Wheels program, the RSVP Medical Transportation program, and many other non-profit agencies and programs in Barton and Pawnee counties.”
Mayors who participated by signing included Mike Allison of Great Bend, Frank Koelsch of Ellinwood and Mayor Clayton Williamson of Hoisington.
“We just want to make people aware of volutneer service and how important it is to our communities,” said Donna Baugh, director of Volunteers in Action. She thanked the civic leaders who lent their support to the cause.
Volunteers in Action is the newly formed umbrella organization that encompasses RSVP with the focus to help volunteers of all ages.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service’s website “every day, in cities across America, national service is tackling tough problems and strengthening communities. Whether supporting food banks and homeless shelters, restoring city parks, building homes, managing community volunteers, providing health services, or tutoring and mentoring students, national service members help mayors tackle tough problems.
“So, to spotlight the impact of national service and thank those who serve, mayors across the country will participate in the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service. On this day, mayors will hold public events and use traditional and social media to highlight the value and impact of national service to the nation’s cities.”
This initiative is being led by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the CNCS, Cities of Service, the National League of Cities, and other organizations.
As the federal agency for service and volunteering, CNCS funds RSVP, as well as the AmeriCorps (designed for any age) and Senior Corps (for those 55 and older). Annually, it works with more than four million citizens in service at 70,000 sites across the country.
Last year, CNCS leveraged more than $1 billion in investments for organizations operating or based in 500 cities with a population of at least 30,000. National service also plays a key role in many smaller cities and towns and rural areas.
Sadly, “volunteer programs are on the cutting block every year,” Baugh said. Lawmakers don’t see the value in them, so CNCS has to fight for funding.