By Jason Patnosh
Community Health Centers were built on the backs of volunteer community organizers and clinicians nearly 50 years ago. Today, volunteers continue to play an important role in health centers across the country. During the week of April 6-12, 2014 America celebrates National Volunteer Week. At NACHC, we also celebrate the thousands of volunteers who help health centers in three very important ways.
First, the majority of health center volunteers help health centers extend their services to the community. They read to children in waiting rooms or develop fundraising campaigns. Their manpower is deeply appreciated.
Additionally, NACHC has been home to the Community HealthCorps, one of the largest AmeriCorps national service programs in the nation. Each year over 500 individuals provide a year of service in a Community Health Center and many of these AmeriCorps members help to recruit other volunteers for the health centers. In fact, over the last two years 14,404 volunteers were mobilized by AmeriCorps members. These volunteers served 81,484 hours for an estimated value of $1,786,830.
Finally, all health center board members, a majority of whom are also patients of the health centers, are all volunteers and dedicate countless hours to ensure necessary medical and social services are provided to their fellow community residents. These board members commit to multiple years of service, travel to state and national conferences to represent their health center and serve as the voice for their health center in countless meetings with state and federal legislators.
NACHC is pleased to use this occasion to release a new resource: Community Health Center Volunteer Experiences. This one-pager will provided interested volunteers a brief background on Community Health Centers and how to seek a volunteer experience at a local health center.
While we recognize Volunteer Week we encourage you to thank your volunteers every day!