The Volunteer Center of Bergen County will be presented with a 2012 Daily Point of Light Award on May 18 by the Points of Light Institute, the largest volunteer management and civic engagement organization in the nation. The award was established in 1998 to honor individuals and groups who take action to create change in their communities. It was launched in theory by former President George H.W. Bush, who, from his first day in office, devoted special attention to voluntary community service as a means to address serious social issues.
The Volunteer Center was awarded this honor in recognition of its selection as an Innovation Hub of the HandsOn Network, the volunteer activation arm of the Points of Light Institute. HandsOn Network affiliate centers help people plug into volunteer opportunities in their local communities, and partner with corporate, faith and non-profit organizations to manage volunteer resources, and develop leadership capacity for volunteers.
As an Innovation Hub, the Volunteer Center will be a learning lab for community involvement that will drive innovation, build strong leadership and advance volunteer engagement through acquired skills and knowledge.
“Innovation is key to addressing the challenges communities across the country are facing,” says Janet Sharma, executive director of the Volunteer Center. “As an Innovation Hub, we will be able to conceive and develop new ideas and programs that we will be able to share with the entire HandsOn Network for the benefit of all Americans.” Over a period of three years, the practices and learning emerging from the Volunteer Center and nine other Innovation Hubs will form the blueprint for evolving the model of civic engagement to meet 21st century needs of both volunteers and the communities in which they engage.
The Volunteer Center of Bergen County strengthens the community by connecting people with opportunities to serve, operating model direct-service volunteer programs, building capacity for effective volunteering, and participating in strategic partnerships that meet community needs.