On Dec. 17, 2003, the USA Freedom Corps, an office of the White House, announced the results of a September survey showing an increase in service nationwide. The survey, conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor, showed that the percent of Americans who volunteered during 2003 rose from 27.4 percent to 28.8 percent. However, here in Utah, a recent survey conducted by public relations students at Brigham Young University showed that 81 percent of Utahns volunteer. Utah, clearly, is a national leader in service with a rate of volunteerism almost triple the national average. Utah's greatest resource is it volunteers who do everything from preserving the beauty of public lands, to reading with a child.
Here at the Utah Commission on Volunteers, we appreciate Gov. Walker and Lt. Gov. McKeachnie for their leadership and vision. We also wish to commend the unique statewide collaboration of the many service and volunteer organizations that have come together to create tools such as ILoveto Give.org that make service more effective.
Nevertheless, while Utah stands as an example of service and volunteerism to the world, there is still so much more that we can and must do within our own borders. Utah has a legacy of service and we should each examine our lives and ensure that we are helping carry on that legacy. We should involve our families and friends in service, making it a common, integral part of our daily lives, not just a holiday tradition. Doing so will not only make Utah a better place to live in, but it will make each of us a better person to live with.