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University Relations

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Jan. 25, 2006
Contact: Mindy Osborne, Center for Community Outreach, (785) 864-4073.

KU’s CCO student volunteer service valued at $70,000 for Lawrence area agencies

LAWRENCE — The Center for Community Outreach at the University of Kansas has calculated that KU students contributed volunteer community service during the fall 2005 semester worth more than $70,000 to agencies in Lawrence and Douglas County.

The center is a student-run, student-funded clearinghouse organized in 1990 for KU students who want do community volunteer work, either as individuals or groups. The center serves as a referral agency, working mainly with 15 campus, community and national service organizations. Between August and December 2005, more than 1,300 KU students donated nearly 4,000 hours of community service valued at $17.55 per hour.

The financial value of the volunteers’ time donated between August and December was based on a formula developed by Independent Sector, a national leadership forum for charities and philanthropies. The latest information from Independent Sector estimated the dollar value of volunteer time as $17.55 per hour for 2004; 2005 figures will be posted in spring 2006.

These figures are widely used in volunteer agencies, including the United Way of Douglas County, to show the significant role that volunteers play in the health of a community, according to John Wilson, Lawton, Okla., senior in graphic design and co-director of the center.

“We have been able to identify institutional opportunities for growth and improvement, and that has greatly strengthened our impact on the community,” Wilson said.

Last semester, the center had the most accurate and detailed monitoring of volunteer activities in its 16-year history, Wilson said, thanks to about 30 volunteer coordinators who recorded volunteer information in personalized databases and posted volunteer service events using proprietary technology developed for the center’s Web site.

Among the service events last year, Concerned, Active and Aware Students held its annual Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat on Halloween, when about 200 KU volunteers collected more than 1,600 cans of food for area homeless shelters.

On four separate occasions, between 60 and 70 volunteers through Environmental Action to Revitalize the Heartland started a new service partnership with the Friends of the Black Jack Battlefield to help clean up the historic Civil War-era battle site east of Baldwin City.

For the winter holiday party through Mentoring in the Lives of Kids, 125 volunteers entertained more than 600 area elementary school students with activities inspired from various cultures.

In the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the center organized Jayhawks Band Together relief campaign, an extra project for disaster victims, and raised more than $10,000 that was donated to the American Red Cross disaster relief funds.

This spring, the center plans its annual Into the Streets Week April 23-29 to coincide with National Volunteer Week.

Among the other 15 community programs supported by the center are Best Buddies, Community Resources Engaging in the Arts Through Education, GROW Community Garden Project, Hawks for Health, Helping Unite Generations, Jubilee Café, Lifeline, Music Mentors, Natural Ties, Project Bridge and Students Tutoring for Literacy.

For more information on Center for Community Outreach activities, go to www.ku.edu/~cco. For more information on Independent Sector, go to www.independentsector.org/programs/research/volunteer_time.html.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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