Virginians will celebrate the accomplishments of the more than 36,000 Extension volunteers who donate their time and talents to the people of the commonwealth every year, following Gov. Bob McDonnell’s declaration of October as Virginia Cooperative Extension Volunteer Month.
The governor’s proclamation acknowledges the value of Extension volunteers to Virginia citizens and salutes the state’s Extension Leadership Councils (ELCs) – groups of citizens who help design, implement, and evaluate Extension’s community-based programs.
“Whether enhancing and protecting the quality of our land and water resources, giving families the information they need to become healthy and financially secure, creating opportunities for 4-H youth to develop life skills through a strong science-based curriculum, or providing education to small business owners and local leaders to help them create business-friendly communities, our volunteers serve their local communities in ways that transcend a dollar amount,” said Eddie Hannah, chair of the State ELC. “Our network of volunteers brings research-based solutions to Virginia’s homes, farms, businesses, and communities.”
According to a report from Independent Sector, more than 36,000 Extension volunteers donated more than 1.1 million hours of their time in 2008, valued at nearly $24.6 million. This includes volunteers from the Master Gardener program, established in 1979, and the Master Food Volunteer program, established in 2010.
Extension will focus on specific aspects of the organization during each week of October:
- Week 1: 4-H volunteers, coincides with National 4-H Week, Oct. 3-9.
- Week 2: ELC members and community viability volunteers.
- Week 3: Agriculture and natural resource volunteers.
- Week 4: Family and consumer science volunteers.
“Every year, Virginia Cooperative Extension counts on the energy and talent of hardworking volunteers who bring the knowledge of Virginia’s land-grant universities – Virginia Tech and Virginia State University – to communities both rural and urban,” said Alan Grant, dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and interim director of Extension. “Virginia Cooperative Extension Volunteer Month gives us a way to show our thanks to our volunteers and supporters who make it possible for us to deliver programs that improve the quality of life for Virginians.”
For more information about volunteering in your area, contact your local Extension office.
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