The readers’ forum

Volunteer to serve your community


Today is Make a Difference Day, one of a handful of National Service Days designated for volunteers to provide public service to their communities. If you’re not able to join a local organization’s volunteer efforts or create your own service project today, don’t worry. On Saturday, Nov. 2, HandsOn Miami will return as more than 150 volunteers help rid Vizcaya Museum and Gardens of invasive exotic plants.

Hundreds of nonprofit organizations across South Florida count on volunteers to help clean our beaches and waterways, provide meals for the hungry, build homes for the needy, comfort the sick, and provide thousands of hours of essential services to local organizations. Without volunteers, many nonprofits would not be able to fulfill their missions.

Not everyone can write a check to their favorite charity, but everyone can give the gift of time. The challenge is to help volunteers find creative and meaningful ways to serve as their schedules allow.

Last year, 8,670 HandsOn Broward volunteers provided 38,738 hours of community service to 144 nonprofit partner organizations at a value of $827,444. And these figures do not include those organizations, such as healthcare, educational, human services, and religious institutions that run their own volunteer efforts. Now, HandsOn Broward has extended an arm of support to help its neighbor to the south rebuild.

From 1993 to 2011, 20,000 HandsOn Miami volunteers provided more than 100,000 hours of service each year. But the organization closed because of the economic downturn. We are proud to announce the relaunch of HandsOn Miami, thanks to a unique partnership with HandsOn Broward and support from the national HandsOn Network and The Miami Foundation.

Beginning with next Saturday’s kick-off event at Vizcaya, HandsOn Miami will engage volunteers through: a web-based volunteer scheduling system allowing it to do more with less; a Youth Engagement Program designed to inspire, equip and mobilize young volunteers; and a Corporate Projects Program to engage the business community for employee team building and corporate citizenship. More than a dozen companies already have signed up.

With your help, HandsOn Miami will soon join HandsOn Broward as a leader of volunteer engagement in South Florida. Our community will be better for it. Volunteer for your favorite charity. If you need a cause, visit or

Dale Hirsch, president & CEO,

HandsOn Broward, Lauderhill

Patrick Morris, founder, former CEO,

HandsOn Miami, Coral Gables

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