State's volunteer ranking low, but with reason - - Jackson, MS

State's volunteer ranking low, but with reason

JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

When disaster strikes or a community is in need, Mississippi typically doesn't have to look any further than it's own back yard.

 "Service seems to be ingrained into Mississippi's DNA," said Deirdra Harris Glover with the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service. "We're so open hearted and we're quick to lend a hand and we're not afraid of getting our hands dirty."

Glover says while that DNA of service speaks highly of Mississippians, it also comes with a downfall and it's reflected in a national report from the Corporation for National and Community Service. In it, Mississippi is ranked number 45 when it comes to volunteering.

From 2008 to 2010 about 500,000 Mississippians, just more than 23 percent of the population reported their volunteering.

"I think it's really an issue of Mississippi's humility when it comes to what they do in their communities. they don't really think of it as volunteerism," said Glover.

From painting to clearing trees, Glover says based on the numbers of helping hands brought in by volunteer centers and those silent helpers, Mississippi's ranking on the national scene is far lower than where it should be.

"It's one of those quiet victories of Mississippi. What we see over and over again is that Mississippians come out in droves to support causes and then never really think anything about it. they don't think that it's a big deal," said Glover.

To help make it a big deal, the service commission is working to create more public awareness on how volunteering is continuing to shape the state and the people who live in it.

"Giving our time and our skills and our talents, often is much more beneficial to the state than giving a few dollars here and there," said Glover.

The rankings also show Mississippi as one of the highest states in terms of charitable giving and voter turnout which volunteer advocates say is evidence of higher civic activity.

Copyright 2011 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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