By: Anthony Matrisciano
April 10, 2012
April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week
Wilkes-Barre, PA — April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week, and this year’s theme is “Celebrating People in Action.” The national observance was established in 1974 to help organize people into taking action and making their community a better place to live.
Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania (BCNEPA) puts that spirit of volunteerism into practice throughout the year by helping area nonprofit agencies through its Caring Corps Employee Volunteer Program.
Created in 2005, BCNEPA’s Caring Corps organizes employees to volunteer together on community projects through BCNEPA’s progressive Volunteer Day policy, which provides paid time off for community service. Caring Corps projects include serving meals at food banks, conducting health fairs, sorting and organizing donations at food and clothing banks, sprucing up community gardens, and pitching in at local animal shelters.
One employee volunteer who participated in a Caring Corps project in the Scranton area last year was Brigid Peet, who worked at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeastern Pennsylvania’s annual Back-to-School Health Fair.
“Volunteering at the Boys & Girls Clubs fit my interest of helping children,” said Peet, Benefits Manager for BCNEPA. “A co-worker recommended that I volunteer through the Caring Corps, and the Back-to-School Health Fair was the first project I volunteered for.”
Peet and other Caring Corps volunteers helped ensure that all the youngsters attending the fair visited each screening and information station, taking advantage of all the services offered.
“By volunteering, I really gained an appreciation of what we can do for our community by just giving a little time,” said Peet. “I didn’t realize how much of a difference I could make until I participated in this project.”
Since the Caring Corps program began in 2005, employee volunteers from BCNEPA have logged more than 24,000 hours of community service while completing 254 projects for regional nonprofits. Using statistics from the Points of Light Institute, which indicate that every volunteer hour is valued at $20.25, Caring Corps volunteers have saved local agencies nearly $500,000.
About Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Headquartered in Wilkes-Barre, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCNEPA offers a comprehensive portfolio of health insurance products and administrative services to nearly 540,000 individuals in 13 counties in northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. The company’s mission is to provide integrated health care services and products to improve the quality, accessibility and affordability of health care in the populations it serves.