Volunteer Mississippi engages 96,000 in volunteer service thanks to Volunteer Generation Fund

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This April, in honor of National Volunteer Month, we’ll be featuring stories of how volunteers are impacting states and the ways in which state service commissions are leveraging the power of volunteers to meet critical local needs through their Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) activities. Learn more at statecommissions.org/volunteer-generation-fund.

MISSISSIPPI. The mission of Volunteer Mississippi, the state commission on service and volunteerism in the Magnolia State, is to to engage and support Mississippians of all ages and backgrounds in service to their communities. Established in 1994 as the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service (MCVS), Volunteer Mississippi also administers the state’s volunteer center network with support from the Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF), helping mobilize volunteers in support of state and local priorities.

Last year, thanks to Volunteer Generation Fund support from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Mississippi Volunteer Center Network recruited or managed an overall total of 96,550 individual and group volunteers that served 875,246 hours for a wide range of causes throughout the state. Of the total number of volunteers, 51,981 were new volunteers who served 472,271 hours.

In addition, capacity building trainings were offered to 1,362 nonprofit participants — resulting in 167 nonprofit partners implementing 3 or more effective volunteer management practices.  The largest number of volunteers were active with programs that served Children and Family Services & Advocacy, Education, Hunger and Homelessness, and Disaster Services. Volunteer Centers hosted food, clothing, necessities and toy drives, and recruited volunteers to feed the homeless, build Habitat houses, read to children, and clean up parks and waterways. Volunteer Centers planned events and engaged 11,708 volunteers in projects for Family Volunteer Day in November; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service in January; National Volunteer Week and Global Youth Service Day in April; 9/11 Day of Service and Remembrance in September and Make a Difference Day in October, in addition to regional days of service like Day of Caring, Alternative Spring Break, the Big Event, and The Cotton Festival.

This year, 2017 is starting off strong with more than 31,000 volunteer engagements reported – 1,642 of those from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service educational events, parades, breakfasts and community projects. Volunteer Centers around the state will be recognizing volunteers in the month of April with celebration dinners and lunches, and press conferences. Several Global Youth Service Day events are scheduled, with Volunteer Starkville as the lead agency this year.

To learn more about Volunteer Mississippi’s VGF program and subgrantees, visit volunteermississippi.org/.

Meet ASC Board Member, Kelsey Pettus

Kelsey Pettus is a Youth Commissioner for Volunteer Mississippi and represents Youth Commissioners as a Board Member for America’s Service Commissions.

Pettus1. How did you get to where you are today?

Currently, I am a student at the University of Mississippi where I am a part of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College. My parents have instilled in me the importance of hard work and determination. Because of their love and support, I have been able to achieve many goals that I have set for myself, and I am determined to reach future goals. I give my parents full credit for the person that I am today, and I am so thankful for their encouragement.

2. What has been your best moment so far serving with your state commission?

Two years ago, I was given the honor to serve as Chair for the Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence (GIVE) Awards. The GIVE Awards give Volunteer Mississippi and the Office of the Governor the opportunity to honor those who have made a difference in their communities and the state of Mississippi through service each year. I was so honored to be able to meet some outstanding people and thank them for their service and leadership in the state of Mississippi. Their stories inspired me to become more involved with certain service opportunities that are presented throughout my community and the state of Mississippi. It was truly an inspiring and memorable experience, and I am so thankful that I got to be a part of it.

3. What keeps you motivated?

As a student at the University of Mississippi, hearing the success stories of mentors, teachers, and older students is what keeps me motivated. I aspire to one day attend medical school and become a practicing doctor, so when I hear stories of people older than me who have worked hard to reach their goals, I am motivated to continue striving towards my own goals. The great hope that I have for my future and the love and support that I receive from my family and friends are enough to motivate me to one day become successful.

4. In one word what would you describe as your greatest strength?