How to recognize a volunteer

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 17, 2006

By Adam Hammer, staff writer

Volunteers often do not receive public recognition for their work since it is often performed for personal reward and without a need for compensation. April 23 through 29, the Council of Local Organizations for Volunteer Effectiveness will make sure volunteers are recognized.

Last week, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, an organization affiliated with CLOVE, mailed notices regarding National Volunteer Week to more than 500 volunteers. Each notice had a purple ribbon with tag that read &8220;I Volunteer!&8221; attached to it.

The ribbons entitle the wearers to discounts and free items at 29 businesses in and around Albert Lea during National Volunteer Week. The ribbons will also help volunteers stand out from the crowd.

&8220;When volunteer week rolls around, people can wear their purple ribbons and get thanks and recognition for their volunteering,&8221; Beth Spande of Southern Tri-County RSVP in Albert Lea said.

RSVP is one of the many organizations in Freeborn and Mower Counties that joined together to form CLOVE, an organization of volunteer managers and leaders. This is the second year CLOVE has done the purple ribbon recognition program.

&8220;A lot of things wouldn’t get done if it wasn’t for volunteers,&8221; Spande said.

Even mailing the purple ribbons relies on volunteers.

Spande has been working with volunteers at Senior Tower and Senior Court in Albert Lea to prepare the mailings. The group enjoys having volunteer opportunities where they live and the conversation that they have during their work.

&8220;Burnette gets us started laughing. It’s a good time,&8221; one of the residents said Thursday at Senior Tower while they were preparing purple ribbons to be mailed.

About every two weeks, Spande visits Senior Tower with work for the volunteers. Like many other volunteers, their compensation is minimal &045; cookies.

Next week, volunteers’ efforts will be publicly recognized with rewards such as a one day free pass to the Family YMCA or $3 off a haircut at The Hair Place as well as discounts at 23 other businesses in Albert Lea.

Businesses in Alden, Emmons and Glenville are also participating. Family Tree Restaurant in Emmons will have free cookie and beverage, Soap Wizards in Glenville with offer a 10 percent discount, while Main Street Grill in Alden will have a free cup of coffee and the Alden Shoe and Clothing Store will give away samples of boot oil.

About 1,100 mailings will be sent out to volunteers from different organizations in the area including the Family YMCA and Girl Scouts.

Last year’s purple ribbon recognition event was not as big as expected, but CLOVE decided to try it again this year now that people know about it, Spande said.

CLOVE will

meet in May to assess the event to see if it will do it again next year.