Sunday, June 26, 2022

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Pregnancy could now be the only option in Florida, more landmark privacy-related cases are now in the balance, and just how pro-LGBTQ are your local businesses?

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Gun reform suffers a defeat in the Supreme Court but notches a win in the U.S. Senate, former Justice Dept. officials testify before the Jan. 6 Committee, and the White House meets with big oil on high pump prices.

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COVID funding kept rural hospitals open, cryptocurrency companies make inroads on the backroads of America, and rural communities' efforts to escape long-term poverty have unintended side effects.

Oregonians Can Donate Time, Skills for National Volunteer Month

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Friday, April 1, 2022   

April is National Volunteer Month, recognizing the time people give to help their local communities.

John Afryl, senior program manager for Hands On Greater Portland, the largest volunteer center in Oregon and a program of the United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, said the past two years of the pandemic have been challenging for nonprofits that rely on volunteers. However, Afryl said interest in volunteering never fully waned.

"One of the things that's been so rewarding the past couple of years is seeing the influx of people really wanting to give back and support their community," he said.

Afryl said social distancing rules and other regulations because of COVID-19 often meant organizations had to limit the number of opportunities available. His group pairs people with volunteer opportunities in the areas that interest them. In pre-pandemic times, he said, about 20,000 people used its site every year.

Arfyl said volunteering is an easy first step to becoming engaged in community issues.

"As a result of that experience, they can feel so much more empowered," he said. "They can understand, 'Here's something I can do that's tangible, that's really making a difference in my community.' That makes them feel so much more fulfilled about their role in society."

Afryl noted there are ways even for people with busy schedules to get involved, including some duties that are just two to three hours in length and don't require training or an ongoing commitment.

"You can just go and take immediate action," he said. "You can fit volunteerism into your schedule, no matter if you are working days or nights, or weekends."


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