Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Governor Calls Georgians to Serve During ‘Hands On Georgia Week’

Governor Sonny Perdue today challenged the citizens and businesses of Georgia to serve and enhance their communities during Hands On Georgia Week, which will take place from Saturday, September 27, through Saturday, October 4.

“We have much to be proud of and thankful for as Georgians, and volunteering in our communities is an essential part of our outstanding quality of life,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “I challenge each Georgian to join me and volunteer for a local community service project with your family, friends or co-workers during Hands On Georgia Week. I encourage everyone to find something that they are passionate about, whether it’s working with children or senior citizens, cleaning up and preserving our state’s natural resources, or supporting fine arts and sports programs.”

According to the Volunteering in America Report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, Georgians volunteered for nearly 229,575,000 hours of community service in 2007, worth an estimated $4.4 billion ($4,479,007,314) of time. Still, Georgia’s overall rate of volunteers was 24.2 percent, compared to the national average of 26.2 percent.

Hands On Georgia is the first statewide network in the nation that is dedicated to volunteer service and civic engagement, acting as a central organizing body for all of Georgia’s 159 counties to mobilize citizens to address community needs and enhance their respective communities. Hands On Georgia Week is the organization’s signature event, which attracted 68,000 volunteers who contributed 191,000 hours of community service in 2007.

Some projects scheduled for this year’s Hands On Georgia Week include:

· Atlanta: Hands On Atlanta and Accenture have partnered with the Atlanta City Council – District 2 for a neighborhood clean-up project with an estimated 600 volunteers at the Historic Old Fourth Ward from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 4.
· Columbia County (Augusta): 200 Volunteers will work on a mural honoring the 20th anniversary of the Oliver Hardy Festival in Harlem. The mural will be placed in a prominent area once completed.
· Columbus: 200 volunteers will participate in various service projects that include a cook-out for soldiers returning from Iraq and a Protecting Our Earth conservation program for school children.
· Macon: 200 Volunteers will make repairs to homes damaged by the tornados that occurred on Mother’s Day 2008.
· Milledgeville: 200 volunteers will participate in a clean-up and revitalization of the Walter B. Williams Recreational Park.
· Savannah: 300 volunteers participating in Beach Sweep- picking up litter on the beach and in the dunes of Tybee Island
· Thomas County (Thomasville): 1,000 volunteers will participate in several projects that include sorting and bagging food at the local food bank, cleaning up litter along the Ochlocknee River, gleaning a local farmer’s field for produce, and reviving a historic cemetery with Thomasville Landmarks.

“It is truly amazing to see thousands of Georgians volunteer their time to support their local communities,” said Laurie Grant Nichols, Chief Executive Officer of Hands On Georgia. “It’s a great feeling to work alongside your friends and neighbors to promote seat belt safety or paint a senior center, to help landscape your town squares or pick up litter from our parks and roadways. But it is awe-inspiring to look back and see what your fellow Georgians were doing at the same time around the state, and the collective difference that we all have made.”

Hands On Georgia has 14 affiliates across the state that include the communities of Athens, Atlanta, Brunswick, Columbus, Covington, Dalton, Dooly County, Forsyth County, Harlem, Macon, Milledgeville, Savannah, Wayne County and Thomas County.

Citizens interested in participating in Hands On Georgia Week are encouraged to e-mail or call Hands On Georgia at info@handsongeorgia.org or (404) 979-2842. Specific project information is available at www.handsongeorgia.org.
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