By LOUISVILLE MAYOR GREG FISCHER
Your Voice Contributor
The week before this yearâ€™s Kentucky Derby Festival, Louisville will be making some thunder of a different kind with our premier â€œGive A Dayâ€ week of community service, April 15-22.
The dream for our city is to be a place of lifelong learning and great jobs; a much healthier city and an even more compassionate city than it already is. Louisville has already grown strong roots for compassion with the Muhammad Ali Center, the Festival of Faiths, the seminaries headquartered here and other organizations and initiatives. Weâ€™re also the largest city in the U.S. to sign on to the International Charter for Compassion. We may not have all the money weâ€™d like to have â€“ especially during this prolonged recession â€“ but we can always use our time, energy and talents to help others.
Now, during our annual Give A Day week, we want to grab the worldâ€™s attention and make a big statement by setting a record for volunteering and community service. At the end of the week, I will declare Louisville the most compassionate and caring city in the world.Â If other cities take issue with that, then â€œgame on.â€ Weâ€™re up for a spirited competition!
Our goal is for people from all walks of life to be talking this up and challenging each other: â€˜What are you doing for Give A Day week? How will you make Louisville an even more compassionate city?â€™â€
Youâ€™ll be in good company â€” people from throughout Louisville are joining forces. Youâ€™ll see Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts tackling projects around the city. Churches and neighborhood associations are joining in. Employee teams from many companies large and small will be doing service work throughout Louisville. School students will be helping with needy causes. Student-athletes from a variety of University of Louisville sports teamsÂ will be tackling service projects. Brightside will need extra volunteers for cleaning up our neighborhoods. Plus, youâ€™ll be able to give blood at dozens of American Red Cross sites, drop off cans of food for Dare to Care at local Kroger stores and donate shoes to EDGE Outreach. So, no excuse for not getting involved!
And itâ€™s easy to get involved: just go to www.mygiveaday.com. There individuals, companies and groups can sign up to help local non-profit agencies, churches and other organizations. There are projects and needs of all kinds â€“ choose the one that appeals to you or best fits your schedule or companyâ€™s number of volunteers.
You can also report your own community service. Does your church or company have a volunteer or service project happening during Give A Day week? Let us know about it so it can count toward the worldâ€™s record! Any act of kindness counts. Mowing grass for an elderly neighbor, giving clothing or blankets, reading to a student who might be struggling â€“ it all makes a difference, it all helps build a better and more caring community.
If youâ€™re an agency needing volunteer help, you can register your project or need on the website as well.
Give A Day week would not be possible without our partnership with Metro United Way and its Volunteer Connection which helps organizations find the volunteers they need and helps volunteers share their time and talent with worthy causes 365 days a year.
Thereâ€™s a good reason that our Give A Day week is being held as the lead-up to Aprilâ€™s Kentucky Derby Festival. The Derby Festival, in many ways defines the fabric of Louisville. The Derby Festival proves we can be best in the world â€“ not only in the quality of our fireworks display but in our spirit of volunteerism. Itâ€™s appropriate that Give A Day be part of a festival so emblematic of our volunteerism and pride. So, itâ€™s a perfect time to put our city in the world spotlight for making a loud statement about compassion and helping others!
We can do it together. Whether you have an hour or a day, you can make a difference and be part of the Give A Day movement. Volunteer. Give blood. Donate food or help your neighbor. Use your time or your professional skills to help others. Just go to www.mygiveaday.com.
For more information about â€œGive A Dayâ€ week, please contact Patty Belden, Metro United Way, 502.292.6152 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Brenda Frank, Special Assistant to Mayor Fischer, 502.574.2018 or email@example.com.