Volunteer Week serves up opportunities for service

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

April 13, 2012
  Pictured, left to right, are James Leary and Kola Akindele of the Office of Community and Government Relations, joined by School of Medicine Dean Terence Flotte and Chancellor Michael Collins at the Veteran’s Inc. soup kitchen in Worcester.

In his proclamation declaring April 15 to 22, 2012, National Volunteer Week, President Barack Obama said, “I call upon all Americans to observe this week by volunteering in service projects across our country and pledging to make service a part of their daily lives.” Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.

Members of the UMass  Medical School community have long heeded the president’s call. Every day, students, faculty and staff at all levels and from all reaches of the institution are actively and passionately engaged in the communities where they live, work and study.

This year, the Medical School will observe National Volunteer Week with a roster of new and ongoing programs.

  • On Wednesday, April 18, a Volunteer Brown Bag Seminar will be held in the Lazare Auditorium at UMMS from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. Representatives from the American Heart Association and Veterans Inc. will discuss volunteer opportunities at their organizations. No RSVP is necessary and attendees can bring their lunch. 
  • The United Way of Central Massachusetts Volunteer Center is offering multiple volunteer opportunities during National Volunteer Week that focus on healthy minds, healthy bodies and a healthy environment. Individuals are invited to use their talents to improve the health of our community. To learn more, visit the United Way of Central Massachusetts’ website. 
  • Volunteer opportunities are also listed on the Office of Community and website. Visit the Internal Volunteer Opportunity website to explore options available within the Medical School, and External Volunteer Opportunities website to learn about numerous other opportunities.
  • In an initiative to recognize the unsung heroes among us, have them share their stories of volunteerism with the Medical School community, and inspire their colleagues to join them in making a difference, the Office of Community and Government Relations’ Community Heroes web page highlights UMMS volunteers and organizations that are truly making a difference in our community. The site also provides a form to nominate a volunteer or an organization.
  • For individuals who want to contribute to community organizations at a leadership level, the Office of Community and Government Relations offers assistance in connecting them to not-for-profit entities seeking new members for their boards of trustees. Interested individuals are invited to send emails stating areas of interest and related skills and experience (attaching a resume is fine) to ocgr@umassmed.edu.

Karin Fitch, senior manager for human resources, recently followed a referral to become a board member of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Massachusetts. Fitch has long volunteered as a private citizen, but sought another way to give back that was more closely connected with UMMS and its mission. “Supporting and serving the community is what we do as an institution,” Fitch said. “The board connection helped me find the right fit.”

To join the UMMS students, staff, and faculty who last year contributed more than 50,000 volunteer hours to the community, call, visit or email the Office of Community and Government Relations.

Related links on UMassMedNow:
Third annual Volunteer Fair does brisk business
Veterans receive turkeys and appreciation from volunteers