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Keeping with tradition: Service to others one day at a time

Across the country, West Virginians are known for their true hospitality and live out the tradition of neighbor helping neighbor. Throughout the year, West Virginians of all ages across the Mountain State participate in community service activities in our hometowns to improve our neighborhoods. Last week, those activities were showcased through a statewide effort as part of the third annual Day to Serve celebration.

During the Day to Serve kickoff event last Friday, more than 280 volunteers partnered with Volunteer West Virginia to complete over 550 hours of community service and collected 83 bags of trash on Charleston’s West Side and East End. Organized community service events and activities will continue through the end of September, and many groups and organizations are already planning ahead. The West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection’s Adopt-A-Highway program has already organized nearly 300 cleanups for the end of this month.

The kickoff celebration also marked the 20th anniversary of AmeriCorps and recognized the support those volunteers provide in West Virginia communities across the state each and every day. Since its inception in 1993, more than 900,000 AmeriCorps members have volunteered more than 1 billion hours of community service work. The efforts of these men and women have improved the lives of many across both our state and our nation.

Serving others is a hallmark of our state’s storied past and remains an important part of our rich heritage. In fact, a number of community and faith-based organizations, civic and charitable groups as well as government agencies participate in community service activities year round. For those of you who have participated in these efforts, thank you for sharing your time and talents with those in need. For those of you who may be considering this type of volunteer effort, I encourage you to get together a group of family and friends and volunteer your time to support your neighborhoods and communities.

Whether you choose to help an elderly neighbor to the grocery store, collect items for military care packages, organize a neighborhood clean-up effort or something else important to your community, it’s important to know that the work you do does matter. You are establishing relationships and providing life-changing support in the lives of many.

To our state’s volunteers, thank you for all you do for West Virginia and the people who call our state home. By sharing our time and talents with others, we can continue strengthen our hometowns and ensure an even brighter future for West Virginia. For more information about volunteering during Day to Serve, or to organize a volunteer event in your area, visit www.volunteerwv.org?.

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