BROOKVILLE — The Jefferson County chapter of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR) presented a mock check to the county commissioners during the June 26 meeting.
The check, in the amount of $630,812, represented the amount of money school retirees saved the county through the 29,532 hours members volunteered last year in a wide variety of civic, non-profit and charitable organizations.
Chapter President Gordon Stuby said, “Following their years of outstanding service in the public schools to the children, youth and the communities of this area, our members continue to contribute to improving the quality of life for everyone through their volunteer work.
All of us are happy to be able to share our expertise, our experience and our enthusiasm by using our time and talents to make Jefferson County a better place for young and old alike.”
“It’s very impressive,” county Commission Chairman Paul Corbin said. “We appreciate what you folks do for the community and the hourly expense for
doing that. It’s very commendable.”
PASR partnered with Keystone Research Group to determine how many public school retirees are actively engaged in volunteer activities, the average number of hours they each contribute and the type of service activities in which they are involved.
The research discovered that statewide, 63 percent of PASR’s members are volunteering in their local communities, with each volunteer contributing on average, 308.4 hours per year, for a total of 6,600,876 hours volunteered.
It should come as no surprise that retired public school employees are some of the most active, involved people in their communities. After all, throughout their professional lives, these individuals were dedicated to helping others.
Even though, on the whole, the national trend is that individuals are volunteering less, school retirees are the exception and continue to volunteer in extraordinary high numbers.
In fact, the percentage of members who volunteer and the hours served to their communities is astounding when compared with the Pennsylvania averages documented by the Corporation for National and Community Service.
According to their findings, only 27.4 percent of the state’s residents volunteer, with 35.6 hours per volunteer each year.
In comparison, PASR members volunteer at better than two-and-a-half times the state average and contribute eight and a half times the state average in terms of hours of service provided annually.
So, how valuable is the service that school retirees contribute to the Commonwealth through volunteerism? According to Independent Sector, a non-profit, non-partisan coalition of charities, foundations, and corporate philanthropy programs, the value of volunteering during 2010 in the state was $21.36 per hour, based on the average hourly wage determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
With nearly 21,000 members contributing more than six and a half million hours of service to their local communities, the value of PASR members’ volunteer service to Pennsylvania is nearly $138 million per year.