Fresno's Mayor Ashley Swearengin Calls for Volunteer Action

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A dismal statistic on the level of volunteerism in Fresno has become a call to action. 'Serve Fresno' was launched Tuesday with the goal of one-million volunteer hours of service by next April and those already volunteering welcome the help to come.

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Lynn Mann spends three mornings a week at the Fresno County S.P.C.A. She's retired but committed to this 'part time' volunteer job.

"You know, just about any place you can do volunteer work. You feel good and it helps others," said Mann.

On Tuesday morning Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin and like-minded citizens gathered outside City Hall calling for volunteer action.

In a national survey of 75 medium sized American cities ... Fresno ranked number 74 in resident volunteers.

Swearengin introduced 'Serve Fresno' challenging citizens to contribute a total of one-million hours over the next 12 months.

Swearengin explained, "And I think frankly, there's nothing like a crisis to really raise awareness about the things that can be done in these hard times."

Volunteers can sign up at 'Serve Fresno's website.

Cathy Caples with Hands on Central California said, "Through 'Serve Fresno' we have the opportunity to connect every resident of the city of Fresno to volunteer service."

Groups, individuals and business can all play a role says Caples. Just as Cedric Rees is doing as a volunteer with the city's "Community Emergency Response Team."

It arrived at Monday night's three alarm blaze to set up a dry place for fire fighters to catch their breath, get water and take a break.

Cedric Reese said, "We had easy-ups and covered the fire fighters so they didn't have to stand in the rain and normally they would have."

Not everyone will be drawn to this kind of volunteerism but everyone says Reese can do something to improve their communities.

"You can look around and say somebody ought to do something about that. And that's the kind of role that you should jump in and do. Just take care of it. Go do it," said Reese.

Mayor Swearengin is asking for 10 volunteer hours from everyone in Fresno over the next 12 months ... a million hours total she says.

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volunteer, fresno, ashley swearengin, local, nancy osborne
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