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Volunteer Fairfax's VolunteerNow! Newsletter delivers relevant, up-to-date information right to your e-mail box. Special topic areas include resources for youth, groups, as well as boomers and seniors. To sign up, enter your e-mail address into the box below.

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April 1, 2010

VolunteerNow! Newsletter
Volunteer Fairfax is pleased to launch its first newsletter, designed specifically for individual volunteers and community engagement groups! VolunteerNow! offers quarterly updates on the newest happenings in volunteerism within the D.C. metro region and beyond. Special topic areas include resources for youth, groups, as well as boomers and seniors. Be sure to check out the VolunTips for applicable information on volunteering and the VF Minute for the most up-to-date highlights on Volunteer Fairfax.  VolunteerNow! is a great way to stay informed and engaged in community volunteerism. 

VF Minute: You're Cordially Invited to the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards
Come help us honor those who make our community a better place to live and work! On Friday, April 23, 2010, Volunteer Fairfax and the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors will honor our counties outstanding volunteers at the 18th annual Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards. This recognition event, attended by more than 500 guests recognizes individuals, groups and corporations for their service to the community in 2009. This year's special guests include Cynné Simpson, ABC7/WJLA-TV News Anchor as the emcee, and Earl Stafford, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Stafford Foundation, who will give the keynote address. Established in 1993, the Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards serve as a community-wide celebration of volunteerism. The Awards honor individuals, groups and organizations that have given outstanding volunteer service through a broad range of activities and programs. Over the last 17 years, Volunteer Fairfax has recognized more than 1,800 individuals for their commitment to the community. Tickets are $35 for individuals and nonprofit guests. Corporate guests can purchase their tickets for $50 per person. Click here to purchase tickets. For more information, please contact Samantha Watson.

VolunTips: Ready to get engaged with other volunteers in your community?
Join Volunteer Fairfax as we celebrate volunteerism across Fairfax County by participating in this year's National Volunteer Week, held the week of April 18-24. National Volunteer Week recognizes the people across the nation who go above and beyond each year to make the world a better place to live. Show your support for volunteerism by participating in the variety ofevents that will be occurring every day to provide volunteers the opportunity to try something new! Projects will include removing invasive plants, assisting with a sports camp and working a local plant sale. To find your next volunteer opportunity, visit Volunteer Fairfax's VolunteerNow! searchable database of volunteer opportunities, and under "Advanced Search," select "National Volunteer Week" in "Great For."

Baby Boomers Shed Traditional Volunteering Roles
According to a Philanthropy Today blog, Baby Boomers are finding creative new ways to volunteer and give back to their communities during the current economic hardships. Instead of turning to their traditional roles of volunteering, administrative or office work, these volunteers are using their professional experience to advantage nonprofits in a different way. By seeking opportunities in various segments, fundraising, marketing and publicity, these Baby Boomers are shedding their mundane roles and finding innovative ways to make a difference. The overall number of Baby Boomer volunteers has also increased from the previous year, according to The Bureau of Labor Statistics. Baby Boomer volunteers, people 45 years of age and older, have increased by 4.2 percent. This number is higher than the percent increase for younger people. To read more about this development, please visit The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Do Something: A Youth Volunteer Resource 
Dosomething.org is a fun, interactive website calling all youth volunteers. The website highlights the top causes for youth volunteers to get "fired up" about; including animal welfare, disaster relief, discrimination, environmental issues and poverty. The site also identifies specific ways youth can take action and provides monthly "club challenges" for youth groups that strive to do more. Last month's challenge urged clubs to collect more than 500 jeans to donate to the Teens for Jeans campaign. Also check out the wealth of information on youth volunteering: the Project of the Day, a blurb that touches on creative service projects youth are taking on across the country; Share Something, polls in which teens ask teens to vote on current issues; and Cause Videos to emphasize youth service projects in the popular YouTube fashion. Looking for information to volunteer in Fairfax County? Visit Volunteer Fairfax for projects near you and get involved today!

Calling All Volunteers: Join Volunteer Fairfax's $35 for 35 Campaign
Do you remember the first time you volunteered? I do. My mom asked me to come and volunteer at the hospital where she worked. As a candy striper (yes, I even had a red and white striped uniform), I delivered mail, flowers and smiles to patients. After this volunteer experience, I knew I wanted to continue to give my time but I wasn't sure where to begin. I turned to my local youth bureau, and found a neighborhood program serving low-income families at a church just one block away from my school. Over the course of my high school career, I volunteered about 100 hours to various organizations in my hometown.

Today, I'm proud to be the professional that helps connect students seeking service hours, families looking to volunteer together, companies looking to give back - with hundreds of worthy agencies fulfilling real needs in our community. In today's economy, volunteers are the lifeline to agencies who might be facing the possibility of closing their doors.

How did you find your last volunteer opportunity? If you used Volunteer Fairfax to search for a volunteer job or connect with a local nonprofit organization, I invite you to join Volunteer Fairfax's $35 for 35 cause. You can give through our website or find us on facebook, where we'd also love to hear about your favorite volunteer experience.

People who have a positive volunteer experience will continue volunteering. Studies have shown that youth who volunteer grow into adults who volunteer. It takes time, energy and TLC to ensure that volunteering is a positive experience. Volunteer Fairfax works with both volunteers and the nonprofit sector to ensure this success.

We hope you will join our drive to make sure that volunteering is available and accessible to anyone and everyone who has an interest in giving back to the community. If you can give $35 in honor of Volunteer Fairfax's 35th anniversary, your gift will be used to help future candy stripers and all those who want to make our community a better place.

Happy volunteering!

Tonya McCreary
Senior Director