By Melissa Wetherbee (IMCOM)March 29, 2012
YONGSAN GARRSION, Republic of Korea -- U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan is supported by a quiet army - of volunteers. Nearly 1,400 registered volunteers log countless hours at the offices, community centers, schools, and events that occur every day on post.
Over 400 opportunities to volunteer on post give potential volunteers ample opportunity to contribute to the Community.
"Organizations with the largest number of volunteers are definitely a factor when considering volunteer manpower in Yongsan," said Sese Jackson, Army Volunteer Corps Coordinator. "In that case, American Forces' Spouses' Club, American Red Cross, and the various Chapel congregations all have a very large volunteer pool. In terms of contribution, smaller organizations like the fraternities and sororities also make a great impact in our Community."
Jackson is often the first point of contact for newcomers looking to make a difference.
"I invite new volunteers into my office and talk to them about their interests," said Jackson. "I explain the volunteering process to them and demonstrate on the computer how they can register in VMIS."
The Volunteer Management Information System, or VMIS, is the virtual volunteer bank where potential volunteers can search for opportunities, connect with organizations, and track their volunteer hours. Since its introduction in 2007, volunteers have logged approximately 23,000 hours on USAG Yongsan. Lynn Omondi, ACS Specialist, noted that "ACS continues to promote documentation of volunteer hours in VMIS. The hours recorded in VMIS alone would not accurately represent the total volunteer contribution to the Community."
"Annually, volunteers contribute almost $1 million in services to the Community," added Jackson.
The Army recognizes the efforts of these volunteers with Volunteer of the Quarter events, culminating in the Volunteer of the Year Award ceremony, held this year on Friday, April 20. It is an opportunity for organizations to formally recognize the dedication and contribution their volunteers have made to USAG Yongsan. Last year's winner, Ella Catineau, contributed over 1,000 hours at the Thrift Shop.
This year's Volunteer of the Year ceremony will recognize one person's overall contribution to USAG Yongsan. Newly added categories, such as Most Hours Logged and a Special Projects award, will give volunteers with varying kinds of volunteer experience the chance to be recognized. Nominations for Volunteer of the Year are still being accepted via application at http://bit.ly/xBlFlE.
Those who contribute through volunteering experience many benefits beyond public recognition.
"Many volunteers work for the internal rewards, such as making a difference," noted Omondi. "Most importantly, I think, is that the volunteer feel appreciated where he or she volunteers, that paid staff take the time every day to thank the volunteer for the efforts and contributions- work and otherwise- that the volunteer makes."