Henrico County Volunteer Program

In 1984, Henrico County created the Volunteer Services Program. A coordinator was assigned to establish guidelines for effectively using volunteers in county government departments. A department coordinator, or primary volunteer supervisor, was also identified in most departments. At the program’s start, about 500 volunteers worked in as few as ten departments in the county. Since then, the opportunities available to volunteers and the services provided by non-paid staff members have grown significantly.

The term “volunteer” has taken on many meanings. Specifically, to Henrico County, a volunteer is a person who has chosen to give their time and talent to a worthwhile group or cause without concern for monetary profit. The county has come to rely more and more upon volunteers to: 

  • Enrich and extend the programs now being offered through various county agencies
  • Gain skills and practical experience through personal development 
  • Perform and support direct services that impact the community by encouraging civic engagement 
  • Afford residents and employees an opportunity to affect the environment in which they live, work, and play

Community support and interest are essential in providing quality services for County residents. Volunteers’ contributions, dedication, and commitment are vital to the county’s growth. Each opportunity is different and contributes an essential part to the organization.  

In the last few years, the county has expanded volunteer programs to serve volunteer opportunities with county employees, residents, and students. The county aims to provide a practical and rewarding experience to engage with public service and community organizations.  

The Volunteer Program has been a vital resource to the county’s community and workforce for forty years. Throughout the past few years, Henrico volunteers have contributed hundreds and thousands of hours of volunteer work in several ways. 

  • 2018, 1,232 volunteers contributed 147,530 hours
  • 2019, 960 volunteers contributed 146,263 hours
  • 2020, 806 volunteers contributed 90,289 hours
  • 2021-2022, no data due to COVID-19
  • 2023, almost 618 volunteers per month contributed 104,928 hours

Henrico honors its volunteers for their commitment to serve, and we encourage all agencies to take time to recognize their volunteers and all the work they do throughout the year. Every year, a national organization shines a light on the individuals inspired to serve and lend their time, talent, and voice to make a difference in our community during National Volunteer Week (NVW). NVW was established in 1974 to host thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week to celebrate the power of people who actively support their communities through volunteerism. This year, NVW will be observed April 21-27, and Henrico County will participate by hosting various community service activities from Wednesday, April 24 to Saturday, April 27. From food pantries and clothing closets to beautification projects and community partner events for kids, there will be something for everyone. Stay connected with General Notice messages to sign up for all the activities.

The Board of Supervisors will also proclaim that week as Volunteer Week for Henrico County at its April 9 meeting. 

Thank you again for your support of the Volunteer Program. We look forward to continuing the rich tradition of volunteerism here in Henrico County! 

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Summer Bowl Food Drive Winners!

Henrico County’s Volunteer Services Program strives to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities to individuals and groups seeking to devote their time and services to our organization. Volunteers can make a difference in many ways, including participating in park clean-ups, serving at the animal shelter, working with departmental programs and events, and more.

The Henrico Volunteer Program is evolving and thriving to support the residents and employees. The greatest motivation for people to serve as volunteers in this community is the desire to become involved and give something back. They are not looking for benefits or recognition as much as they have a personal need that serving others helps to fulfill.

Community support and interest are essential in providing quality services for county residents. Henrico strives to implement services and programs in our volunteer efforts to support our county departments and community partners, such as the Henrico Community Food Bank.

Recently, 21 Henrico general government departments participated in the first Summer Bowl Food Drive competition to aid the Henrico Community Food Bank in its efforts to support families in Henrico County Public Schools. A total of 9,248 non-perishable and canned food items were collected! The 9,024 pounds of food that was collected equates to over 6,015 meals. This donation amount will support the food bank for the next four months.

Community Corrections, with 27 employees, was the winning department, with 3,143 items donated: the second place department was Mental Health and Developmental Services, with 1,397 items donated. Third place went to Finance, with 947 items donated.

To learn more about the Henrico Community Food Bank, please visit their website at https://henricocommunityfoodbank.org.  

To learn more about Henrico’s Volunteer Program, visit https://henrico.us/services/volunteer/.

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Volunteering: Improve Your Well-being AND That of the Ones You Serve

Volunteers support meaningful work at no cost to those being served. There are noticeable gains on the receiving end, and it usually makes a volunteer feel good on the giving side. Moreso, science shows that volunteering has additional value for the charitable side.

There are mental benefits from doing good, like confidence when you know you are making a difference. There are unexpected physical benefits, as well. Here are just five of the many ways that volunteering is proven to be advantageous for your health1:

  • Decreases risks of depression and anxiety
  • Releases endorphins, which make you feel happier
  • Improves activity levels and overall physical health
  • Reduces stress through a renewed sense of purpose
  • Lowers blood pressure

The combined effect of these health benefits shows that volunteering strengthens your overall well-being. So maybe it’s not surprising to note that volunteering can also extend your life. “Researchers say that people over 50 years old who volunteer for about two hours weekly have a considerably lower risk of death.” 2

Do good. Live longer. It sounds great, but it takes time, and time is a resource that we often lack. So here’s the irony—studies3 also show that your time feels meaningful when you share your time with others. In response, you feel like you have more time and more time to give.

April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month. Please consider sharing your time with Henrico CASA to help improve the well-being of local children who have experienced abuse and neglect. Last year, Henrico CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc.) served 385 children and teens whose families were in crisis. Judges in Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court-appointed volunteer CASAs for each of these children. CASAs spoke up for these children, working with County employees in court and the community, promoting the children’s well-being, and establishing a network of supportive connections.

Connecting with Henrico CASA is yet another way for Henrico employees to work to better our community. Advocates are everyday people who leverage the many services our county offers to work towards ensuring every child has a safe, healthy, and loving home. To learn more about volunteering with CASA, visit www.HenricoCASA.org.

[1] SummaHealth

2 StudyFinds

3 Stanford.edu

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