TOPEKA -- The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) recognizes the efforts of volunteers during National Volunteer Week, April 15-21 and encourages all Kansans to become active in their communities, not just this week but throughout the year.
“There are many ways we can volunteer in our community, and sometimes, we do it without even realizing -- for example, helping out a neighbor or coaching your child’s basketball team,” explained Robert Moser, M.D., KDHE Secretary and State Health Officer. “These acts of volunteerism all deserve to be applauded and I encourage all Kansans to find a way to give back even in the smallest of ways.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 64 million people volunteered at least once between September 2010 and September 2011. KDHE’s Bureau of Community Health Systems (BCHS) administrators two volunteer programs: the Kansas Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) and the Kansas System for the Early Registration of Volunteers (K-SERV).
Kansas Medical Reserve Corps:
The MRC is a community-based volunteer organization of people who wish to engage in response and public health-based volunteerism. Volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds, not just health professionals, are needed, including interpreters, chaplains, office workers, legal advisors or those that simply want to be involved in healthy living and disaster preparedness and response. Currently, 18 MRC units are located throughout the state, including one statewide Kansas Veterinary MRC unit, and have planned activities to recognize National Volunteer Week in their communities.
Willard Epling and Paula Hladky of the Douglas County MRC were recently awarded the Volunteers of the Year for the Contributions by a Group or Family category by the United Way Rodger Hill Volunteer Center.
Kansas System for the Early Registration of Volunteers:
K-SERV is a secure statewide database of pre-credentialed health care professionals and other non-medical individuals who are willing to volunteer their services in the event of a disaster or public health emergency. Currently, there are more than 2,100 medical and non-medical volunteers registered in K-SERV. The ultimate goal of K-SERV is to engage volunteers in local emergency service and respond to requests for emergency assistance from other states.