Nothing, in my opinion, is more deserving of our attention than the intellectual and moral associations of America…they are as necessary to the American people as [political and industrial associations], and perhaps more so. In democratic countries the science of association is the mother of science; the progress of all the rest depends upon the progress it has made.
~ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America
It’s time for more Rhode Islanders to step up:
It turns out that Rhode Islanders don’t volunteer as much as its neighbors in Connecticut and Massachusetts or even the rest of the country.
In a Jan. 14 news conference given by the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island and the Serve Rhode Island group, it was announced that a Serve Rhode Island Volunteer Corps was being instituted. The above two groups would be merging in the hopes that together they could increase the amount of volunteerism that takes place in Rhode Island.
The Corporation for National and Community Service’s “Volunteering in the United States” provides a detailed yearly assessment of volunteering at all levels: state, country and city.
In the 2008 assessment, Rhode Island ranked 41st in the country as far as its overall rate of volunteerism.
“The average number of volunteer hours served per resident of 28.2 hours per year ranks even lower, at 46th among the 50 states in the U.S.,” the report states.
Despite its low ranking nationally, there were some bright spots for Rhode Island in the report. Volunteer rates for specific demographics in our state ranked higher in some areas.
“College students [volunteering] in Rhode Island rank fourth nationally. Young adults in Rhode Island ages 16-24 rank 24th, black Rhode Islanders rank 27th [and] Latino Rhode Islanders rank 30th,” reads the 2008 report.
Volunteerism by Rhode Island Seniors ages 67-74, however, trails behind most of the nation. Rhode Island ranks 47th out of the 50 states in that area.
In comparison, “Rhode Island’s overall volunteer rate of 24.9 percent trails well behind Connecticut (30.3 percent) and slightly behind Massachusetts (27 percent),” the report goes on to say.
The good news is good. Ocean State “youngsters” seem to have more of a volunteer spirit than our elders. Make of that what you will.
All solutions don’t come from government programs, agencies or funding. If you’re interested in volunteering–in putting your time, if not your money, where your ideals are–take some initiative and head on over to www.vcri.org.