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National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week
Observed by United States
2016 date April 10 - April 16

National Volunteer Week is an annual celebration observed in the United States and in Canada in mid to late April, to promote and show appreciation for volunteerism in the two countries. In the United States it is organized by the Point of Light foundation."

In Canada, National Volunteer Week was first conceived in 1943 as a way to celebrate the contribution made by women on the home front to the war effort. After World War II ended, National Volunteer Week declined in popularity until the 1960s when it revived and eventually began gaining popularity in the United States as well.

National Volunteer Week in the United States was first established via Presidential Proclamation 4288, signed by Richard Nixon in 1974.

Former President George H. W. Bush showed his support of American Volunteering in his 1991 State of the Union Address, commending "a volunteer's generous gesture", and calling it "an idea that is simply right."

A National Volunteer Week new proclamation has been issued by the American President each year since the holiday's inception.

The manner of celebration for national volunteer week varies, but many organizations host special events to help engage their local communities in volunteering and make them aware of opportunities that are available year round.

During this week, news media feature volunteer activities in news reports.

In Canada the government has created the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards (PMVA), which recognizes and encourages volunteers across the nation. These are awarded each year during National Volunteer Week. Provincial awards are also presented to youth volunteers.

In the United States, the President's Volunteer Service Award is presented each year during National Volunteer week by various organizations to their members who have completed 500+ hours of volunteer service for adults. Young adults may earn the award with 250 hours of service while children may earn it with 100 hours.

The Daily Point of Light Award is awarded each weekday through Points of Light to recognize a person contributing to their community. This award is publicized during both National Volunteer Week and during the Points of Light Tribute Awards which are held annually.

Besides the benefits to society, scientific studies have shown that individuals who volunteer enjoy psychological and physical benefits, including increased satisfaction, improved sense of belonging, lower blood pressure, increased protection from Alzheimer's, and decreased mortality.

It is estimated that in Canada 13 million people, or half the adult population, volunteer some of their time.



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