Chapel Hill Celebrates Volunteers
Recognizing the value of volunteers, the Town of Chapel Hill takes the time to thank and celebrate its hundreds of volunteers in honor of Chapel Hill Volunteers Week. The Mayor and Town Council have proclaimed April 23-29 Chapel Hill Volunteers Week.
“Volunteer Week is an opportunity to shine a light on the people and causes that inspire us to serve,” said Mayor Pam Hemminger. “We honor and thank the dedicated residents of our community who give so freely of their valuable time, energy and abilities.”
During this spring’s recruitment for Town of Chapel Hill advisory boards and commissions, the Town has received 84 applications, a record number. The Town has more than 18 standing boards and commissions comprising about 180 volunteers who provide advice and input to Council and community decisions.
Many residents volunteer in programs at the Parks and Recreation Department, Chapel Hill Public Library, Stormwater Management, and the Office of Housing and Community. The Resident Leadership Team of the Town’s Public Housing division, is comprised of public housing residents who volunteer their time and talents to help provide guidance on resident programming and services and opportunities for improving public housing neighborhoods. The volunteer representatives of the team also serve as liaisons to their neighbors to share information and encourage community engagement. Learn more at http://www.townofchapelhill.org/volunteer
Voices of our Volunteers …
Amy Ryan, who serves as chair of the Planning Commission, is a book editor who holds a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the NC State University College of Design. She previously served two terms on the Community Design Commission.
“I joined a Town advisory board to pursue a design interest that I wasn’t using in my professional life,” Ryan said. “That was back in 2002, and I have continued to serve because I love working with other citizens on issues that are facing the town. I often serve as conduit back to my neighbors, explaining issues and topics of interest.”
“Chapel Hill residents are rich in expertise, but you don’t need special knowledge to serve on an advisory board,” Ryan said. “Your expertise can be in knowing your community and bringing a unique perspective. When we’re all involved, we make our community better. People forget sometimes that the government is us. Our Town is enthusiastic about bringing as many points of view to the discussion as possible.”
Paul Neebe, chair of the Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board, said he serves to make a difference in the community for the better.
“I was teaching at a university in Bayreuth, Germany, and I thought, wouldn’t it be great if Chapel Hill had a similar connected network for bicyclists and pedestrians,” Neebe said. “I asked how I could advocate, and I thought of no better way than serving on an advisory board.”