Volunteers are essential to extension in a multitude of ways. The biggest impacts volunteers have on the work of extension faculty, is their assistance of delivering research-based resources to communities. Volunteers carry out the UF/IFAS motto “Solutions for Your Life”, by advocating on behalf of the extension programs they assist with. Extensions volunteer base spreads from 4-H, Master Financial, to Master Gardeners with many volunteers overlapping in their dedication to the educational mission of extension.
Benefits of Volunteering:
Volunteering provides a sense of self-confidence by allowing the individual to learn a new skill or engage others in an area of interest they enjoy. Volunteering allows individuals to network with like-minded people and create a community that advocates for the overall volunteering goal.
According to unitedway.org and https://www.wcsu.edu, volunteering creates a sense of connection, improves physical and mental health, and provides a chance to learn soft skills and trade skills that can lead to potential employment.
Volusia County Master Gardener Volunteer Program:
The Volusia County Master Gardener Volunteer program has been in existence since 1980, for the sole purpose of addressing the horticulture concerns of county residents. In order to meet the demands of the community, volunteers undergo approximately 84-105 hours of educational training after which they have to secure 75 service hours to complete their initial certification process. To maintain program quality, volunteers are required to secure 10 continuing education hours as well as 35 volunteer hours annually. Studies have shown that horticulture education instills mastery, belonging, generosity, and a sense of independence for not only youth but adults as well. Master Gardener Volunteers are an integral part of the Urban Horticulture program thus successful volunteer recruitment and retention is essential. To date, the Volusia County Master Gardener Volunteer program is comprised of 133 volunteers that have contributed an estimated 90,328 volunteer hours.
How YOU can become a Volunteer:
We are always looking for folks interested in community service based horticulture to join our group! If you are would like a meaningful way to donate your time to benefit the citizens of Volusia County young and old, then consider becoming a Master Gardener Volunteer. As a Master Gardener Volunteer you will receive training to provide the best guidance to homeowners in regards to their horticulture concerns. Our 2022 training cohort is well underway and our program will re-open for enrollment September 2022. To find out more about the Volusia County Master Gardener Volunteer program, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (386)-822-5778.