GG to launch national volunteer program

Governor General C.A. Smith will launch a national volunteer program next Monday.

The announcement for the program, “Volunteer Bahamas: a call to action,” came during a press conference at Government House yesterday.

“We note that there are more than 850 organizations and groups in The Bahamas today who are engaged in some form of civic, community or volunteer work,” said Barry Rassin, chairman of the Bahamas National Volunteerism Advisory Committee, during the press conference.

“Volunteer Bahamas will strive to help co-ordinate activities and hopefully will serve a key role [in] preparing for or following disasters or emergencies.

“The roles the secretariat would play would range from bringing groups together for everything from beautifying a park to collaborating urgent feeding efforts or other needs after a storm. We want to provide as much support as possible through a very active secretariat.”

He added, “One thing we will do — and we’re considering and we have to build [because] we’re not ready for it quite yet — is to create a secretariat that can help us with the details and help with the answering of the phone and those kinds of things.”

The secretariat will serve as a registry for volunteer organizations and for individuals who volunteer their time, talent, resources or materials, according to a statement.

Asked whether the secretariat will have a budget or whether it will operate off of volunteerism, Rassin replied, “There will be a budget for that.”

When pressed on the budget, he said, “We’re working on that.” 

The program’s launch will take place at Government House at 11 a.m.

“We have the power and potential in our hands to make every single community, every neighborhood, every school, children’s or seniors’ home, every park and public space a place in which we can all take pride if each of us pledges to play some small part in a volunteer movement that we hope will serve the nation and make the culture of volunteerism part of our lives from March 16 forward for generations to come,” the governor general said.

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