In every Florida county, community members turn to their local UF/IFAS Extension office for year-round assistance in gardening, youth programming, and other needs. In Levy and surrounding counties, non-paid volunteers play an essential role in fulfilling Extension commitment to the community, and we recognize their service during Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 16-22.
Volunteerism is an admirable gift to our rural area. No matter an individual’s age, race, skill set or otherwise, to generously give one’s time, energy and expertise is of immeasurable value to our community as a whole.
“The hands-on expertise that is so critical to Extension work would be limited without the partnership of local volunteers,” said Andra Johnson, dean of UF/IFAS Extension and the director of the Florida Cooperative Extension Service. “I also applaud the commitment they make to gaining knowledge and sharing it. These are lifelong learners, and they invest that expertise right back into their community.”
NCMG’s provide a needed service in our rural area, enabling Extension to significantly increase outreach without additional costs. As non-paid volunteers, NCMG’s have self-reported more than 31,200 service hours, since the 2007 inaugural class. They meet with residents, assist with UF research, table Extension booth at festivals, serve as class assistants, work as off-site garden assistant, perform committee work, manage Extension gardens, write articles, conduct youth programs, and much more. I appreciate each NCMG for who they are and thank them for their commitment to expand their knowledge regularly, educate community members, and advocate for the continued enrichment of the citizens they serve by sharing lived life experience, skill, and education. I encourage the celebration of their service to the community and their inspiration to others to commit to volunteerism.
For more information, contact Levy Extension Center, 352-486-5131. Until then – Happy Gardening!