Gov. Schwarzenegger proclaimed April 18–24 as “Volunteer Week” in California, CaliforniaVolunteers announced Monday.

“From building houses to being a mentor, the variety of volunteer opportunities is immense, varied and important,” Schwarzenegger said. “Those motivated citizens who stepped up to help the victims of the recent Haitian earthquake, for example, are a perfect reminder of why California, and the world, depends on its volunteers.”

National Volunteer Week was designated in 1974 to call attention to the tremendous contribution of volunteers. This year’s theme, “Celebrating People in Action” honors individuals who take action and solve significant problems in their communities.

Several events will be held throughout California to mark National Volunteer Week including Hand’s on Central California’s volunteer telethon aimed at recruiting new volunteers and a volunteer recognition picnic and BBQ hosted by L.A. Works to celebrate the contributions of the area’s volunteers.

“The recent tough times experienced by many Californians means that the need for volunteers is greater than ever,” said Karen Baker, secretary of Service and Volunteering. “Nonprofits are reporting a decrease in donations and a rising demand for services. I encourage all Californians to be part of the solution by finding a meaningful volunteer opportunity at”

In 2008, 7.1 million Californians performed 989.2 million hours of service with an estimated economic contribution of more than $18 billion. Additionally, Californians gave more time than the national average, last year contributing 35.2 hours per resident compared to 34.2 nationally.

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