According to 2015 data from the Corporation for National And Community Service (CNACS), volunteerism and community service is on the rise in Pennsylvania, trending upward against statistics that are trending downward nationwide.
Overall, Pennsylvania ranks 22nd in the nation in per capita participation in community service, charitable contributions and volunteerism.
Here’s the good news from Pennsylvania overall as a state that freely gives of its time, services and money in community service.
In Pennsylvania, twenty-eight percent of residents engage in some kind of volunteer work, with over 3 million volunteers participating in 13 indexed categories of community service. That translates into nearly 339 MILLION hours of service worth approximately 7.7 billion dollars—and that includes the 55% percent of residents who donated 25 dollars or more to charity!
With The Good News… Comes Some Bad News For Volunteer Fire Departments.
Of the volunteering categories indexed by the CNACS – also the national organization responsible for AmeriCorps and Senior Corps — in Pennsylvania, the category of “providing counseling, medical care and fire/EMS services” finished last in participation.
This trend is mimicked nationwide, with volunteer fire companies working harder than ever before to simply maintain their active ranks.
According to the National Volunteer Fire Council (NVFC), a slow-growing economy, fast-moving technology and a workforce that’s now increasingly reliant on two-income households are ever-increasing barriers to high-commitment, high-reward service like volunteer firefighting. Especially when you consider the expanding list of call response demands and the extensive training necessary to become a volunteer firefighter.
“There’s having a cause that moves you to give money or donate time a few times a week, and then there’s being a volunteer firefighter,” says Steve Bair, Fire Director for Alpha Fire Company. “What we ask of our membership is a significant commitment. But as with all worthy causes, you get so much more out of it than what you put in.”
What’s It Mean To Be An Alpha Volunteer Firefighter?
Over the next several months, Alpha Fire Company will explore and explain the countless benefits of service as a volunteer firefighter—not just as a cause that protects and serves a community, but a personal calling that provides an individual with incredible, diverse training, standout portable skills and knowhow for life.
All this, plus the quiet pride of becoming part of a family of first responders that dates back to Benjamin Franklin. It’s community service that’s as old as the nation itself.
Bookmark this page or simply email [email protected] to keep in touch with some of our region’s most notable volunteers. And keep up the good work, Pennsylvania!