The goal of the reflections project is to foster and encourage volunteerism by honoring it, which, in turn, encourages community engagement and strengthens the entire community. Volunteers are vitally important to the development and support of a strong community core, and the ability to get things done. A place that specifically honors volunteers gives visibility to and honors those who are the lifeblood of not for profit organizations, civic entities, and the broader community.
A recent study of volunteers across the U.S. found the following in Illinois*:
27.4% of residents volunteer
26.9% of residents over 55 volunteer
2.73 million volunteers
28.5 volunteer hours per resident
$6.3 billion of service contributed
286 million hours of service
55.8% of residents donate to charity
8.7% of residents participate in public meetings
The estimated value of volunteer time for 2012 is $22.14 per hour*. This value estimate acknowledges the millions of people who dedicate their time, talents, and energy to making a difference and helps to quantify the enormous value volunteers provide to their communities. “Volunteering continues to be a vital component of the fabric of our nation, enriching both our communities and those who serve.”
There are immediate benefits to this project – support and expansion of the volunteer corps, riverfront beautification, and cultural tourism. Support for the project runs the gamut from individuals to organization such as the American Legion, the River Corridor Foundation, and the St Charles Arts Council – more of which are volunteer related than arts related.
* Volunteering and Civic Life in America – Corporation for National and Community Service, National Conference on Citizenship – VolunteeringInAmerica.gov
** National Value of Volunteer Time – IndependentSector.org