Message on the Observance of National Volunteer Week, April 22 - 28, 1985

April 19, 1985

Our American tradition of neighbor helping neighbor has always been one of our greatest strengths and most noble traditions. American ingenuity, coupled with organizational know-how, has provided the basis for innovative approaches to meeting the needs of our communities.

The spirit of voluntarism and compassion for others is a vital part of our national character. Each year close to a hundred million Americans help their neighbors through voluntary service. Citizens from every walk of life volunteer their time, energy and resources to help those less fortunate than themselves. We can never fully measure the positive effects that each kind word or deed has upon this great and wonderful land of ours.

One of the chief aims of my Administration has been to emphasize the vital contributions which individuals, families and private organizations make to our community life. Every day we are learning about successful Private Sector Initiatives which are the result of people caring about other people. It is my hope that during National Volunteer Week, American volunteers both at home and around the world, will receive the recognition they deserve for their generosity. It is also my hope that still more Americans will be inspired to join these volunteers who are the backbone of our community life.

And so I hail the spirit of compassionate patriotic enterprise that National Volunteer Week is meant to strengthen. I ask my fellow Americans to exercise their right and responsibility to take an active role in their neighborhoods, town, cities and their nation.

I can only repeat what I have said many times before: volunteers make a difference. May God bless each and every one of you.

Ronald Reagan