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Its National Volunteer Week
MADISON, Wis. (4/12/11)--National Volunteer Week is this week and its theme--Celebrating People in Action--recognizes the 63 million Americans who gave their time last year in community service. Many of them are volunteers from credit unions. "This is a time to recognize your volunteers and the tremendous impact they make in your credit union, guiding you through your successes, challenges, and into the future," said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association in its newsletter, Life is a Highway Monday. The week presents an opportunity to celebrate the ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service, PCUA said. At least one league--the Maine Credit Union League--keeps track of how much the state's credit unions volunteer through its Credit Unions Share for ME. In 2010, Maine's credit unions--staff and directors--volunteered a record-setting 31,349.75 hours--a 35% increase over their total hours in 2009--to various community projects. Since it began in 2001, the program has documented more than 180,000 volunteer hours completed, said the league on its website. The Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the value of one hour volunteered in Maine at $16.53. That brings the value of the time volunteered by Maine's credit unions equal to $518,000 in 2010, said the league. More than 2,000 individuals volunteered in their communities this past year. An average of 334 credit union staff and directors volunteered each month in 2010. In 2010, the top five credit unions in Maine contributing the most volunteer hours were: Saco Valley CU, based in Saco, with 3,808 hours volunteered; Community CU in Lewiston (2,562.25); University CU in Orono (2,388.50); Rainbow FCU in Lewiston (2,301); and Five County CU in Bath (2,108). The top five credit unions in the state with the highest average number of individuals volunteering each month were: University CU (30 people); Maine Savings FCU in Hampden (24); Saco Valley CU (19); Rainbow FCU (18); and Community CU and Five County CU tied for fifth place with an average of 16 staff members volunteering each month. "Credit unions were formed by volunteers and, to this day, are still governed by a volunteer board of directors," said John Murphy, president of the Maine league. "The participation and involvement on the part of Maine credit unions in the communities they serve is a commitment that credit unions take very seriously. From working to end hunger to taking a leadership role in helping to bring financial education to students in record numbers, giving back through time is a core value and philosophy of Maine's credit unions. Volunteering is part of the fabric of what credit unions are all about," Murphy added. Credit unions volunteer in their communities nearly every single day, said Jon Paradise, Maine league governmental and public affairs manager. "Credit union staff and directors are active on non-profit boards, helping in schools and at soup kitchens, as well as countless other activities and events. The reason is simple--helping others is the right thing to do." In 2010, the Maine program averaged 2,612 hours volunteered per month, a 31% increase over the previous year, with an average of 334 volunteers participating--nearly double 2009 participation levels. These figures are only the documented figures provided by participating Maine credit unions; "the actual number is likely significantly higher but we are pleased with the growth the program experienced in the past year," said Paradise. In his proclamation of National Volunteer Week, President Barack Obama noted that, "During National Volunteer Week, we celebrate the profound impact of volunteers and encourage all Americans to discover their own power to make a difference." National Volunteer Week, sponsored by Points of Light Institute and HandsOn Network, the nation's largest volunteer network, was established in 1974. This year's recognition is a week earlier than the traditional third week of April to avoid conflicts with religious holidays of Passover and Easter, said the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association.


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