What Constitutes Community? Why is Community Volunteering So Successful?

Picture taken from’s “Defining Community” essay, exact release date unknown

Strategic Planning: Social, Demographic, Economic, Technological Trends in the Volunteer Sector

We’ve been working on some strategic planning lately at Points of Light Institute and, as part of that effort, have been looking at how social, demographic, economic, and technological trends might impact our organization and the

Daily Point of Light #4415, Chuck Heacock

A fence may seem trivial. But to the women and children at the Neighborhood Center of West Volusia, the fence that Chuck Heacock installed means a lot. It allows the children to safely enjoy the butterfly garden and swing set and it ensures the privacy of residents. Chuck Heacock uses his time, resources and skills to help the women and children housed at the Neighborhood Center, a homeless shelter and transitional housing center. 

Daily Point of Light #4412, Sarah Nadarajan

High school students have notoriously developed a reputation for using their parents as an unlimited ATM machine, seemingly unaware of any financial discipline.  

Daily Point of Light #4362, Debbie Reid

Debbie Reid co-founded the Bikes for Kids of Utah non-profit organization. Each year the organization gives 1,000 underprivileged kids each a bike to promote exercise, give them a mode of transportation, and teach them safety. Service has always been important to Debbie. Many volunteers and sponsors step forward to help provide kids with a bike they will remember forever. Bike rides and silent auctions also raise money for the event.  The fundraising efforts are very successful and have brought in enough money to provide children with helmets, locks, and water bottles.

Daily Point of Light #4358, Cindy Brenneman

Sometimes it is not one action or cause that distinguishes an individual, but rather their instrumental role in establishing the groundwork where community can flourish.  Cindy Brenneman’s continuous efforts to strengthen her community of Costa Mesa follow that pattern. In 2008 Cindy received the Mayor’s Award for her work as president of the board of the Costa Mesa Community Foundation. During her tenure Cindy directed several ambitious projects.

Daily Point of Light #4357, Dr. Ken Johnson

Dr. Ken Johnson creates smiles that will last a lifetime through the free dental work he provides to children in need. "My father was a generous, giving man who instilled in me a core value of giving back & helping out,” recalls Ken. “He raised funds for needy community members even while not having much money to support his own family.” Ken has been giving back through providing volunteer dental services throughout his entire 44 year career. As a young dentist Ken made 25 international trips to provide volunteer dental care in impoverished countries throughout the world.

Daily Point of Light #4356, Colleen Belcher & South Shore YMCA

Sometimes a seemingly small decision has a big impact. At the South Shore YMCA it all started with the idea for a t-shirt – a shirt that would help others distinguish the volunteers from the staff. Two years ago the YMCA’s volunteer program was in shambles. It had only 15 volunteers. “We began our endeavor with nothing more than a blessing that we could run with this and nothing more than the determination that this was something that needed to be done,” recalls Colleen Belcher, who was part of the team charged with reinvigorating the YMCA’s volunteer program.

Daily Point of Light #4355, Jackie Knowles & The Women’s Room

For the founders of the Women’s Room 1,200 was the magic number. They had to do something for the 1,200 people sleeping on the streets each night in Pasadena, California. After a survey revealed a gap in available services for homeless women with no drug, alcohol or mental issues, the Women’s Issues Committee (WIC) of All Saints established The Women’s Room, a daytime refuge for women who are alone and homeless.

Daily Point of Light #4353, Rita Pinard

Every dollar counts and Rita Pinard makes sure that the people of western Oregon get to hang on to as much of their hard earned income as possible. “I know taxes can be complicated and frustrating, especially as people get older and rules become increasingly complex,” says Rita Pinard. “We help working people that may be paying taxes that they shouldn’t pay, helping those that might miss opportunities to save money.”