The national average is 25.6 percent, so we're significantly above the national average, but I still feel like there's a lot of room for growth. We're still under 50 percent, so we're encouraging (Utahns) to find ways to become engaged. —LaDawn Stoddard, UServeUtah
SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns are being encouraged to give 100 hours of service in 2014, which Gov. Gary Herbert has declared a "A Year of Service in Utah."
Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox and the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism presented the declaration Thursday at the Capitol to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the state commission and of the federal AmeriCorps program.
"As we travel around the country, we discover more and more that what makes Utah great are the incredible people and specifically the volunteers that we have here in our state," Cox said before reading the governor's declaration.
The official declaration says Utah residents volunteered an average of 81 hours in 2013, ranking the state tops in the nation for volunteerism for the eighth consecutive year.
Now the state and the commission are asking for Utahns to up the ante and serve 19 more hours to reach 100 total hours of volunteering this year.
"Just 20 additional hours. Step it up. Let's do it," said LaDawn Stoddard, executive director of UServeUtah, the Utah Commission on Service and Volunteerism.
Stoddard said 47.7 percent of Utah residents participate with organized voluntarism.
"The national average is 25.6 percent, so we're significantly above the national average, but I still feel like there's a lot of room for growth," she said. "We're still under 50 percent, so we're encouraging (Utahns) to find ways to become engaged."
Stoddard said many people don't seek out opportunities to volunteer, but they almost always say yes when asked to participate. She said there's room for improvement in that area and suggested Utahns visit the UServeUtah website or call 211 to find ways to get involved and volunteer.
"There's just never enough money to go around," Cox said. "But what makes this state work, regardless of how much of a shortfall we have, are the incredible volunteers and these organizations that give of their time, they give of their money and their efforts to make this state great."
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