The Advocate failed to provide news coverage of last week’s Volunteer Louisiana Champions of Service gala.
Formerly known as the Louisiana Serve Commission, it honored six outstanding volunteers or volunteer groups for 2013. Their accomplishments are newsworthy.
Ngu Nhoc Pham, from New Orleans, works to make quality health care more accessible to low-income communities.
Frank Elliot, an 83-year-old retired school principal, volunteers with the Rapides CASA.
Brittany Kelly is an AmeriCorps service member in Lake Charles who provides educational support to at-risk students.
Cyndi DiCarlo works toward the betterment of single-parent households with The Life of a Single Mom Ministries in Baton Rouge.
And the Barksdale Air Force Base Volunteer Team members are the first responders for volunteer calls in northwest Louisiana, with more than 300 airmen performing full-service volunteer work for 61 events so far this year.
Most significantly, Volunteer Louisiana honored Baton Rouge native Warrick Dunn for his work with Warrick Dunn Charities, a program that helps single parents reach stability. For years, Baton Rougeans have been familiar with his story and his efforts to give back to the community. His altruism previously had been recognized when he received the 2004 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, the only award given by the league for off-the-field excellence.
Volunteering not only helps the less fortunate, it also provides increased academic success and improved job opportunities for the volunteers. And it strengthens communities, especially in depressed economic times.
Louisianians are particularly benevolent, giving 129 million hours per year, translating to more than $2.3 billion.
I hope that in the future you will recognize the importance of volunteering in your news coverage.