Philadelphia is in the process of concentrating volunteer efforts in an attempt to help alleviate the most pressing needs of our communities and schools.
Cities of Service was founded in 2009 by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomburg, in an attempt to unite numerous cities to expand community service and volunteerism. The three main goals of Cities of Service are to identify priorities and use volunteers to target a community’s biggest needs, to use good practices in order to maximize the program’s results and to set clear goals to gauge progress.
Mayor Michael Nutter is determined to do just this. According to Mayor Nutter’s blueprint, there are three major goals to target some of Philadelphia’s most critical needs—needs that were identified by engaging diverse groups of policy experts, schools, non-profit organizations, public agencies and citizens. SERVE Philadelphia aims to create or elevate volunteer opportunities that impact educational outcomes and contribute to community vitality, to “make it easier for citizens of every age to volunteer,” and to “support both public and private sector efforts to engage more volunteers in ways that have the greatest impact.
Mayor Michael Nutter believes there is a wealth of untapped volunteer energy in the city, and a major outreach could help convince people to share their time.
SERVE Philadelphia’s five impact initiatives include:
(1) Graduation Coach Campaign, which calls on mentors to promise to help the young people in their lives earn a high school diploma and succeed in college and careers;
(2) College Access Writing Clinics, which will involve college student volunteers in tutoring high school students at citywide writing clinics each month, as well as regularly scheduled clinics;
(3) Public Service Areas, which will increase the capability of community groups to rejuvenate their neighborhoods by teaming city agencies with both non-profit and for-profit entities who will work with local residents to develop partnerships, leverage resources and manage volunteers;
(4) Volunteer Afterschool, which recruits and prepares volunteers to provide engaging afterschool activities in libraries and rec centers that do not have an appropriate amount of volunteers;
(5) Green Philly, Grow Philly, in which volunteers will be recruited to support Philly Parks & Recreation’s plan to achieve the goal of planting 300,000 trees across the city by 2015.
When the plan was unveiled in September, Mayor Nutter powerfully and eloquently described the ethos of Philadelphia in his ‘Message from the Mayor’ on SERVE Philadelphia’s website.
“As Philadelphians,” he said, “we have always been committed to helping our fellow citizens. I am deeply proud of the ethic of service that permeates our city. Whether it’s our network of 6,000 block captains dedicated to supporting their communities, the outpouring of volunteers for Philly’s Annual Spring Clean-Up, the generosity of City government employees who tutor children on their lunch hour, or the thousands of citizens who volunteer regularly in support of issues they care about, Philadelphians have always found meaningful ways to help one another.”
SERVE Philadelphia is the city’s most concentrated effort to engage volunteers, and it certainly appears that the next few years will bring on a safer, greener and more educated city.
For upcoming volunteer opportunities, visit SERVE Philadelphia’s website.
You can contact Stephanie Zrebiec at email@example.com.
Photo: © http://www.phila.gov/mayor/