Having spent much of our lives involved with civic activities, we have seen firsthand how community involvement can make a difference. We have seen how volunteer service can transform people and create healthy communities where people are happier, more fulfilled and actually live longer!
Volunteer service has the power to unite. Though we come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, we are joined in the belief that volunteering and civic engagement can help us make Georgia a better place to live, work and raise a family.
As the nation prepares to enter another whirlwind election season, we want to remind the citizens of Georgia that a person doesn't need to take an oath of office to serve the public. In fact, being a good citizen is one of the highest offices in this land.
For three years, Hands On Georgia has led the way in turning good intentions into good deeds. The organization's innovative methods encourage engagement and have led tens of thousands of Georgians to discover their power to make a difference through their investment of time, leadership and service to the community.
Every year Hands On Georgia Week coordinates volunteer activities throughout the state, from the coast to the mountains, for Georgians to spend a weekend, a day or even an hour positively impacting the local community. This year volunteers will be helping senior citizens, cleaning up public spaces and mentoring Georgia youth. We challenge Georgians across the state to join Hands On Georgia and donate time from Saturday, Sept. 29, to Saturday, Oct. 6, to a local community project.
Despite tremendous opportunities to volunteer across Georgia and great need, our state was close to the bottom of a recent survey by the Corporation for National and Community Service measuring state-by-state volunteerism, ranking 46th in the nation for volunteerism rates. In fact, in every age group Georgia fell behind the national average in hours spent volunteering annually.
We can do better. Whether a farmer or lawyer, Democrat or Republican, Bulldog or Yellow Jacket, we ask that each Georgian lend a hand and help strengthen our state and build better communities. Hands On Georgia Week 2007 is a great place to start. By joining hands across differences, we can demonstrate that we can tackle tough community problems. We can demonstrate that what unites us is far more powerful than what divides us.
Michelle Nunn is the CEO of Points Of Light and Hands On Network and daughter of former Sen. Sam Nunn; Eric Tanenblatt is senior managing director at McKenna, Long & Aldridge and the Hands On Georgia Board Chairman and former chief of staff for Gov. Perdue. Georgia citizens interested in participating this month can contact Hands On Georgia at (404) 979-2842 or visit www.handsongeorgia.org to locate the closest Hands On Georgia affiliate.