- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 31, 2002

Political staffer Kim Taylor leaves a 10-hour workday on Capitol Hill and heads to a poor section of Washington to tutor children. On Sundays, she takes them to a museum, play or skating rink.
"It's a chance for me to actually feel like I'm doing something," said Miss Taylor, 32, of Washington.
The Labor Department estimates that 59 million Americans like Miss Taylor have performed volunteer work between September 2001 and September 2002. They tutor, mentor, build affordable housing, teach computer skills, clean parks and streams, and help communities respond to disasters.
In its first such study of volunteerism in more than a decade, the agency found 27.6 percent of the civilian population 16 and older volunteered.
Americans put in an average of 52 hours of volunteer work during the year, according to the estimate by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The numbers were based on a survey of 60,000 households in September.
"It gives balance to my life," said Miss Taylor, who volunteers for the Washington-based Horton's Kids, a not-for-profit tutoring and mentoring organization. "Working with these children reminded me that no matter how hard my job was, it wasn't as hard as the challenges that these children have."
In his State of the Union address in January, President Bush urged Americans to commit at least 4,000 hours the equivalent of almost two years of workweeks to community service during their lifetimes. More recently, he has touted volunteerism in television ads.
The department survey showed religious, educational and youth-service-related organizations had the greatest number of volunteers. Other findings include:
The volunteer rate was higher among women than men.
Employed persons were more likely to volunteer than those who were unemployed or not in the labor force.
Among the age groups, those 35 to 54 were the most likely to volunteer, with one-third having donated their time. Volunteer rates were lowest among senior citizens and those in their early 20s.
The last time the Labor Department studied volunteerism, in 1989, Mr. Bush's father was stressing community service. The elder Mr. Bush initiated the Daily Points of Light awards, honoring organizations, citizens and groups for their work.
Since taking over the White House in 2001, the younger Mr. Bush has attempted to drum up support for volunteerism through his USA Freedom Corps, an effort that gained urgency after the September 11 attacks.
He also has tapped AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers, established under the Clinton administration, to support homeland security efforts. More than 20,000 volunteers have stepped up to assist in the nation's homeland security needs.
Earlier this month, the president helped kick off a White House-led effort to draw 500 businesses into a volunteer service network, telling executives that encouraging such efforts was part of corporate responsibility.
In its effort to involve churches and religious groups in social service, the Bush administration is giving $25 million to 21 groups, including several that are deeply religious in nature. Other recipients of Compassion Capital Fund grants are traditional social service providers, including Catholic Charities and the United Way.

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