Nothing embodies the meaning of community more than giving back of one’s time with no expectations but to help others. 

Volunteering is, and always has been, one of the pillars of Evanston. In 2013, as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of our founding, we are highlighting just how much impact volunteerism has on our community. 

As discussions developed on how we could best honor Evanston on this important milestone, volunteerism and the spirit of community continued to re-emerge. 

 What better way to celebrate our anniversary than to bring to the forefront the many hours of volunteerism our residents invest in Evanston? 

The community has set forth the goal of performing 150,000 hours of volunteer service in 2013.

This is a lofty goal, but we believe that it’s attainable if each one of us does our part.

We recognize it is a daunting figure, even when you break it down: 12,500 hours a month, 2,884 hours a week, 421 hours a day. 

However, four months into the year, we are on track to meet our goal as a community with over 61,000 hours already logged by individuals and organizations. 

 Evanston150 has been instrumental in garnering support around the idea of logging 150,000 hours.  The volunteer group has been tirelessly working to spread the message, “log your hours.” 

As excitement surges about Volunteer Evanston, we’ve seen the number of volunteers soar; in January, we saw an all-time high registration of 199 new volunteers and we now have over 1,100 volunteers registered. 

 Agencies are also taking note. So far 20 new agencies have registered this calendar year.

The response from the community overall has been overwhelmingly positive.  Calls and e-mails come in on a regular basis from both individuals and groups who are ready and excited to help out our local non-profits.

Thanks to this, we are starting an ongoing “Project Wish List” which will help us match groups of volunteers to agencies that need one-time assistance with larger undertakings.

Projects can include anything from re-painting a nursery to a gardening project to a neighborhood park clean-up event. 

If you are an agency based in Evanston, or provide services to Evanston residents, please submit your “wish list” to Volunteer Evanston at www.engageevanston.org. 

 The impact of volunteer work is monumental.  According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, a Federal Agency, the estimated value of volunteer time for 2012 is $22.14 an hour. That means 150,000 hours of volunteer service is valued at $3,321,000. As this dollar amount grows, so does Evanston.

We hope community members continue to make time in their lives to give back to the community and those less fortunate.

To learn more about Volunteer Evanston, visit  www.volunteerevanston.org.

Go out there, give back, log your hours, be the change.