Service to Others Strengthens Orlando
By Buddy Dyer
Tuesday April 9, the City of Orlando will join with Mayors across the
country to participate in the first-ever Mayors Day of Recognition for
National Service. This day gives our community an opportunity to
celebrate our nationís unsung heroes. Our citizens who volunteer not for
recognition but who use their time and talents to help solve community
challenges and make cities across the nation, including Orlando a better
and brighter place for everyone.
They are heroes like Alex Ocampo, who credits his achievement as one of
the only members of his family to graduate from college to a tutor he
had while in college. Because of the impact a volunteer had in his life,
Alex knew he wanted to give back and to help children from disadvantaged
backgrounds make the most of their education. Now through the national
AmeriCorps volunteer organization, he serves as a mentor and tutor here
in Orlando at Evans High School, giving students the help they need to
stay on track and graduate.
And then thereís 85 year-old Sixta Rivera, who has adopted our
communityís youth as her own grandchildren, serving as a teacher and
role model. For the past 12 years she volunteers 20 hours a week helping
our youth develop early literacy skills and putting them on a path to
success using her lifetime of experience and passion for kids.
You donít hear these stories on the nightly news, but everyday all over
our country, volunteers like Alex and Sixta head out, quietly without
fanfare, to improve the lives of Americaís citizens and strengthen our
communities. Through the Corporation for National and Community Service,
more than 850 AmeriCorps members and Senior Corps volunteers are serving
here in Orlando in addition to 1,200 City citizens who volunteer
annually. These volunteers are helping us tackle tough challenges in a
cost-effective way that doesnít burden our tax payers and meets critical
needs like youth crime prevention, adult literacy, disaster
preparedness, childhood obesity and bridging the education gap.
Engaging citizens and nonprofit partners is a proven, responsible and
smart strategy to make real progress on city challenges. The Corporation
for National and Community Service estimates just one volunteer hour
provides services valued at $22.14. As you can see, our volunteers are
invaluable resources that create valuable impact.
Let us join together today to thank our volunteers working here in
Orlando and all over the country for the positive impact they are making
in our community. Let us thank them for turning toward problems instead
of away and working together to find solutions that benefit our
communities. And let us all pledge to do our own part to strengthen
Orlando through service and volunteering.
Buddy Dyer is Mayor of Orlando. To find a local volunteer
ORLANDOCARES.NET. To learn more about AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and
other national service programs, visit