Study: Only 19 Percent of New Yorkers Volunteer in Their Communities

BATH, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - - As the holiday season spotlights acts of kindness, a new federal study shows New York ranked last in the nation in volunteerism.

The study was conducted by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC), shows that service to others continues to be a priority for millions of Americans.

According to the study, 19 percent of New Yorkers volunteer in their communities, sharply down from the national average rate of volunteerism of 25 percent.

“It certainly seems to be an ongoing struggle to recruit volunteers,” said Christine Towner, Steuben County RSVP director. “This sentiment is echoed not only with RSVP, but also with the agencies that we partner with.” Towner said one reason for the lack of volunteerism in the county appears to be overbooked schedules. “But it doesn't take all that much time to make a difference in your community,” she said. “All it takes is just an hour or two - each week, a month, a year - to bring a lot of good to a lot of people. There are ways for individuals, groups, and families to pitch in and help in practically any area where they see a need.”

RSVP helps people 55 and older connect with agencies that need help to support the issues that volunteers are the most passionate about, and turn that hour or two of service into a meaningful, positive experience, she said.

Volunteerism also increases a person's overall sense of happiness and well-being, Towner said.

“Rather than despairing at this statistic, I like to see it as a challenge,” Towner said. “I believe Steuben County can lead the way in showing New York how we get things done here.”

For more information on RSVP, call (607) 664-2298 or by email

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