Put words into action this Make a Difference Day
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Volunteers help during the 2020 Make a Difference Day at the Joint Base Lewis-McChord Prairie Oak Preserve Oct. 22. (Photo Credit: Lori Parker, Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness) VIEW ORIGINAL
Put words into action this Make a Difference Day
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Volunteers with Santa’s Castle sort through toy donations at the Santa’s Castle location at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in December 2020. (Photo Credit: Lori Parker, Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness ) VIEW ORIGINAL
Put words into action this Make a Difference Day
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – A 2020 volunteer soccer coach addresses his players during soccer practice at Joint Base Lewis-McChord soccer fields. (Photo Credit: Lori Parker, Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD, Wash. – With over 540 organizations to volunteer with at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, including 350 Soldier and Family Readiness Groups, there’s no shortage of ways to get involved. The Installation Volunteer Corps offers a variety of opportunities for children, service members and family members.

Lori Parker, Installation Volunteer Corps program manager with the Directorate of Personnel and Family Readiness, has been heading the volunteer program for over 20 years and has seen it grow substantially during that time.

“Since 2006, we’ve used the online volunteer system, Volunteer Management Information System, to streamline the volunteering experience,” Parker said. “Everything from submitting volunteer applications to recording volunteer hours is done online.”

Currently, there are about 3,000 active volunteers at JBLM. Parker credits much of that success to the office’s partnership with its points of contact, who work directly in the VMIS to track and monitor their volunteer.

There are many reasons to volunteer. Each person is different and what they get from volunteering is different as well.

“It gives the youth a positive image and something to strive for,” said U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Tairrance Harris, an automated logistical specialist with Group Support Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), who is also a volunteer football coach with JBLM’s Directorate of Morale, Welfare and Recreation. “It’s not about me; it’s about those after me, and if I can reach one soul volunteering then I’ve done my job.”

One of the most notable volunteer opportunities is on the national Make a Difference Day. Held annually on the fourth Saturday in October, this single day of action is for millions of Americans to help change the world.

This year, on Oct. 23, Parker and her team will be doing a Prairie Oak Preserve Clean-Up. All are welcome to come and help. Registration is available, but not mandatory.

“Being a great volunteer isn’t just about the number of hours you spend volunteering,” Parker said. “You can volunteer for one hour a month, but the passion and energy you put into it makes all the difference.”

To register for the Make a Difference Day event, click here.

To learn more about volunteering at JBLM, click here.

For more JBLM News,  click here.