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Mayor’s memo: Volunteering in the city

One volunteer can make a big difference even in a city of 88,885 people. Giving back, paying forward—either way, volunteering is an important form of community service. In 2017, more than 1,200 volunteers donated an average of 42 hours each. Their combined volunteer work is valued at approximately
$1.4 million. 

We are also home to some outstanding nonprofit organizations that rely on a tremendous network of volunteers to help fulfill their missions and provide their services. Corporate volunteerism thrives in companies that support the community by providing opportunities for their employees to give back in the city where they work. The City of Bloomington has finite resources, so we rely on the partnerships we have with these organizations. Volunteers help with special events, environmental projects, serving lunch to seniors, theatre ushering and so much more.

But getting people to give their time in a 24/7 world is challenging. Bloomington’s latest citizen survey results showed that just 34 percent of survey respondents said “yes” when asked if they had volunteered in the last 12 months. Strengthening civic engagement builds stronger community ties and a stronger Bloomington.

Volunteering is a great way to get more active locally, acquire new skills, meet new people and make new friends. You, your family, small business, corporate employer or other organization can make a difference helping with park cleanups, the Halloween party, Fare for All, serving on the medical reserve corps and more. 

Great opportunities to volunteer abound for individuals and businesses alike. Recently, Black and Veatch took part in a park cleanup day. Its participants were all smiles on a picture-perfect summer day, above. Corporate events are great for team building and an enjoyable way to make a positive impact in the community.

Most volunteer shifts run two to three hours. Typically, a City staff member will provide beginning instruction or a walk-through, and the volunteers take it from there. Currently, the City has more than 750 volunteers. But there’s still a need for more volunteers year-round and citywide. 

We also have opportunities for teens to volunteer for park programming and on advisory commissions. 

To take part and help your community, call Parks and Recreation at 952-563-8877, Human Services at 952-563-8733 or visit  blm.mn/volunteer

Discover the fun of volunteering as you meet other volunteers. You and your City will be glad you did.