Service and Celebration on Set the Tone

Opening day of the 2014 Conference on Volunteering and Service in Atlanta brought together an entertainment icon, a president’s daughter, a Super Bowl MVP, civil rights legends and leaders in government, business and the nonprofit world.

turner_field_event_cropped_for_story.jpgVolunteers meet at Turner Field to assemble teacher appreciation kits.

Conference attendees spent the morning with Hands On Atlanta volunteering for Mayor Kasim Reed’s “Unsheltered No More” initiative to end homelessness in Atlanta. Volunteers worked across seven locations providing meal service, assembling hygiene kits, helping with employment workshops, building picnic tables and more.

Later in the day, volunteers from Target, Points of Light and Hands On Atlanta packed teacher appreciation kits for thousands of Atlanta-area educators at Turner Field before the Atlanta Braves game.

The kits contained markers, post-it notes, disinfecting wipes and other supplies teachers often have pay for themselves. Atlanta Braves fans were encouraged to stop by and help pack kits.

At the opening plenary, filmmaker, actor and philanthropist Tyler Perry told his story of overcoming abuse to become a point of light. Chelsea Clinton, vice chair of the Clinton Foundation, explored the commitment of young people to volunteer service.

Three civil rights legends – Congressman John Lewis, Ambassador Andrew Young and the Rev. C.T. Vivian – joined by Bernice King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s daughter, discussed what the volunteer movement could learn from the civil rights movement. (Read more about the opening plenary here.)

brees.jpgSuper Bowl MVP Drew Brees, left, handed autographed footballs to corporate leaders who support employee volunteer programs.

Throughout the day attendees met in sessions to discuss such topics as how small and midsized businesses are leading change, how to craft compelling stories about volunteer service and how to guide AmeriCorps members toward careers with purpose.

And there was time for celebration. Attendees met on Main Street, the Conference’s special exhibit hall, for music, networking and getting to know the exhibitors. At a Billion + Change reception, business leaders – joined by Super Bowl MVP Drew Brees – celebrated service and the outstanding achievements of companies that give back to nonprofits and their communities through the workplace.

For what’s next at the Conference on Volunteering and Service, sponsored by UPS, visit www.volunteeringandservice.org.