The 10,000 Hours Show

Daily Point of Light # 3363 Dec 25, 2006

The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Services report indicates a strong volunteer base, but a significant drop in the college-age population. The mission of The 10,000 Hours Show (10K) is to mobilize young people to meet community needs and to develop the next generation of engaged citizens.

10K was founded by Iowa college students and has been entirely organized by young Iowa volunteers. 10K is a student-led effort to recruit and recognize volunteers who serve nonprofits, culminating each spring with a free concert just for volunteers.

During the past three years, 10K has celebrated more than 71,000 volunteer service hours by 3,500 volunteers at hundreds of Iowa nonprofits. It has featured nationally-known performers Ben Folds, Guster, and Cake at concerts in Iowa City and Des Moines.

The true “Show” of The 10,000 Hours Show is its year-round, peer-to-peer effort by 10K volunteer staff to reach peers and involve them in volunteering. With volunteer fairs, class presentations, tabling events, and an all-out effort to spread the word, 10K students recruit new volunteers and recognize existing ones.

The 10L model has been adapted at the University of Wisconsin and Michigan State University, where students are organizing their own 10K’s. Further, 10K has also partnered with United Way of America to adapt the model for other communities.

10K meets community needs by offering a unique volunteer recognition concert, recruiting new volunteers to serve nonprofits, and ensuring young people become involved. It is unique in that 10K builds vital connections between young people and nonprofits, young people and their communities and between institutions.

Since its inception, 10K has continued to flourish as an ongoing project. Student founders realized a single year of peer-to-peer efforts on volunteering and nonprofits was not enough. 10K has taken steps to become a permanent part of its communities, and its founding members have taken national responsibilities with 10K in outreach, organization, marketing, alumni connections, and management.

More than 3,500 volunteers fulfilled the 10 hour requirement for 37,000 total volunteer hours to date. In addition, 100% of 10K2 volunteers and 95% of 10K3 volunteers plan to serve again. 10K has also helped to build volunteer fairs into standard programming at the University of Iowa where volunteer fair attendance increased from 100 to 1,300 in three years. In addition, Drake University and Iowa State University have added spring volunteer fairs as a result of 10K.