County government volunteer program expanded

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Gwinnett's volunteer efforts got a boost last week with the official launch of the Volunteer Gwinnett program.

The program, announced last year, boosts efforts for residents to help the funding-strapped government in areas from cleaning up parks to helping out police officers.

With a new coordinator and online coordination, the program includes a standardized training and registration process along with events to recognize people's efforts.

For years, some county services have been successful at using volunteers to help with activities, but the Volunteer Gwinnett program was developed to expand that to every county department.

"This program gives every resident an opportunity to give back to our community in a meaningful way, gain valuable experience and help us keep expenses down," said Chairwoman Charlotte Nash, who talked about the program in last week's State of the County address.

Last commission, commissioners set a goal of reaching 1 million volunteer hours per year by 2015.

"Last year, volunteers donated 471,000 valuable hours, and with the launch of the Volunteer Gwinnett program, we hope it will be easier for more residents to get involved and find ways to use their talents," said Kay Sibetta, the initiative's new coordinator.

For more information and access to Gwinnett's volunteer network, visit www.volunteergwinnett.net.