February 19, 2009


Marc Comtois

Nothing, in my opinion, is more deserving of our attention than the intellectual and moral associations of America...they are as necessary to the American people as [political and industrial associations], and perhaps more so. In democratic countries the science of association is the mother of science; the progress of all the rest depends upon the progress it has made.
~ Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

It's time for more Rhode Islanders to step up:

It turns out that Rhode Islanders don’t volunteer as much as its neighbors in Connecticut and Massachusetts or even the rest of the country.

In a Jan. 14 news conference given by the Volunteer Center of Rhode Island and the Serve Rhode Island group, it was announced that a Serve Rhode Island Volunteer Corps was being instituted. The above two groups would be merging in the hopes that together they could increase the amount of volunteerism that takes place in Rhode Island.

The Corporation for National and Community Service’s “Volunteering in the United States” provides a detailed yearly assessment of volunteering at all levels: state, country and city.

In the 2008 assessment, Rhode Island ranked 41st in the country as far as its overall rate of volunteerism.

“The average number of volunteer hours served per resident of 28.2 hours per year ranks even lower, at 46th among the 50 states in the U.S.,” the report states.

Despite its low ranking nationally, there were some bright spots for Rhode Island in the report. Volunteer rates for specific demographics in our state ranked higher in some areas.

“College students [volunteering] in Rhode Island rank fourth nationally. Young adults in Rhode Island ages 16-24 rank 24th, black Rhode Islanders rank 27th [and] Latino Rhode Islanders rank 30th,” reads the 2008 report.

Volunteerism by Rhode Island Seniors ages 67-74, however, trails behind most of the nation. Rhode Island ranks 47th out of the 50 states in that area.

In comparison, “Rhode Island’s overall volunteer rate of 24.9 percent trails well behind Connecticut (30.3 percent) and slightly behind Massachusetts (27 percent),” the report goes on to say.

The good news is good. Ocean State "youngsters" seem to have more of a volunteer spirit than our elders. Make of that what you will.

All solutions don't come from government programs, agencies or funding. If you're interested in volunteering--in putting your time, if not your money, where your ideals are--take some initiative and head on over to www.vcri.org.

Comments, although monitored, are not necessarily representative of the views Anchor Rising's contributors or approved by them. We reserve the right to delete or modify comments for any reason.

Might it not be more effective to first try to understand why RI's ranking is so low when it comes to volunteering? I recall that our charitable donations of money also rank in or close to the national cellar.

Why is this? Could it have anything to do with our high taxes? With our multiple welfare programs? Or with the deep cynicism bred by decades of self-serving political "leadership" and oppressive sense of pervasive corruption?

What does Crowley think? Or the folks at Ocean State Action? Or the Poverty Institute? Or AFSCME or the AFL/CIO?

Posted by: John at February 19, 2009 5:51 PM

If I remember correctly, charitable giving and volunteering have a strong inverse correlation with the tax rate. Internationally, the US has a very high rate of volunteering. It doesn't surprise me that RI has a low rate nationally.

Posted by: Mario at February 19, 2009 5:53 PM

this is what Crowley thinks:

I volunteer about 15-20 hours a week, at minimum. Some of that is with my church, some of that is with groups like MERI. If you added in JWJ it would be about 40 hours. I contribute few hundred dollars a month, again, to church, the NEARI Children's fund, and to other groups.

Why do I think more people don't? Because why folks like the usual suspects here look at the world they see everyone with an angle or a plot. I happen to think it is because we are working to much and over extended with activities that are focused on ourselves or our families and not the world at large. And why is that? Because for 30 years the conservatives have told us the only people who matter are family members and everyone else is an enemy.

Let me ask your conservative readers: Why are you asking Monique, Andrew, Justin or Mark, or for that matter, Tom W. Bill Felkner or Mike Capelli how much money they donate every month or how much time they volunteer?

Posted by: Pat Crowley at February 20, 2009 6:01 AM

wow, no response. Not that I am surprised...

Posted by: Pat Crowley at February 21, 2009 9:41 AM

Pat, nice try. Acta non verba, baby. Call it me being conservative, but I was raised not to brag about my charitable actions.

Posted by: Marc at February 22, 2009 11:07 AM

but criticizing others is OK? Sad.

Posted by: Pat Crowley at February 23, 2009 12:22 PM
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