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February 5, 2007

U-M Health System helps employees find their perfect volunteering match

New Web site promotes community involvement

ANN ARBOR, MI – This Valentine’s Day, the University of Michigan Health System will be encouraging their unattached employees to browse through some personal ads. And their married employees. In fact, UMHS hopes that everyone takes a moment to find their perfect match.

Pink HeartsLuckily for their significant others, these employees will be looking for their perfect volunteering match, thanks to a new Web site launched by U of M’s Volunteer Services and VolunteerMatch, a national online volunteering database. The Web site allows Health System employees to search for a variety of volunteering opportunities by location, interest, and skills required. Results can even be filtered to show those best for teens, seniors, or large groups.

The Web site kicks off a broader volunteering initiative within UMHS, encouraging all employees to become more active in their communities. Finding an opportunity suited for a particular interest is easy. For example, several area animal shelters are seeking people to help play with and walk their animals, the U-M Health System is looking for volunteers to read to recovering children, mentors are needed for high risk youth, and area hospice centers are asking for hand-knitted or crocheted blankets for their patients.

Framed around Valentine’s Day, the Health System has created a listing of organizations’ “personal ads” seeking volunteers. UMHS has made it fun for employees to find something that interests them by printing Valentines that fall under interest categories such as “Animal lover” and “Child at heart.” Inside, employees will find a volunteering opportunity that matches their interest.

U-M Volunteer Services hopes the new Web site will create an easy way for their staff to get involved in the community in fun and interesting ways like these.

“We learned from [Hurricane] Katrina that our community is much bigger than southeast Michigan,” says Alfreda Rooks Jordan, U-M Community Health Services. “This is a way for us to reach a larger community – to bring more volunteers in and help our staff volunteer externally.”

Another version of the Web site is available for the general public. This version will match interested users with volunteering opportunities available within the University’s Health System. Like the employee version, users can search by location, interest, and skills required.

For more information, visit www.med.umich.edu/volunteer.

Written by Marissa Mann

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