FORT COLLINS, CO – April is National Volunteer Month, and the City of Fort Collins wants to highlight the “Power of the Volunteer” by highlighting the impact volunteers have on the local community.
Volunteers give their time to numerous efforts across the city, including youth sports, maintenance of trails, parks, and natural areas, event support, victim advocacy, restorative justice programs, and many more. During 2020 and 2021, nearly 4,000 individuals volunteered approximately 137,000 hours to a variety of different programs and initiatives, providing an equivalent of nearly $4.2 million in economic impact to our community.
“We would not have youth sports and many other community programs without volunteers. They give their time and talents to care for our community,” says Susan Schafer, Volunteer Program Manager for the City of Fort Collins. “City staff who manage volunteer programs are creative and agile, allowing programs to pivot quickly to serve our residents in an ever-changing world.”
Even as the COVID-19 pandemic caused many volunteer programs to pause or shift, City volunteers continued to serve in any way necessary, often by supporting new programs launched to meet emergent needs. The popular Adopt-A-Neighbor volunteer program was expanded, and a new VirtuVisit program was launched to counter the isolation many felt during the height of the pandemic. VirtuVisit loaned participants user-friendly digital tablets and connected them with volunteers who taught them how to use the tablets to connect virtually with friends, family, and other crucial services. VirtuVisit served as a critical lifeline for those who could not connect in person.
Residents of all ages volunteer for the City, including teens. Launched in 2021, the NextGenServe program runs from June to August for youth ages 11-18. Participants volunteer in many departments as they meet and interact with City staff to learn about various career paths in local government.
“I liked helping others in our community, specifically at the Larimer County Food Bank. I would recommend this volunteer program to other teens because it’s a good chance to meet other students while helping improve the area we live in,”NexGenServe participant Tanner Halopoff shared.
The City would like to thank all volunteers who have given back to the Fort Collins community. The time they give is valuable and their impact powerful. Community members interested in volunteering can learn more and sign up at fcgov.com/volunteer.