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Originally published Saturday, June 6, 2009 at 12:34 AM

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In praise of volunteerism

The Seattle area is renown for its lush parks and green spaces. Saturday provides a great opportunity to give back to a region that gives much.

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THIS time of year the Puget Sound region reflects nature at her best. An opportunity to give back to a natural setting that gives us so much comes today when Seattle Works Day ought to compel hundreds, if not thousands, to area parks and open spaces.

Volunteers will gather at 30 sites around Seattle and the Eastside. Duties include planting, weeding and tamping back our region's tenacious blackberry bushes.

By day's end, you're done, having joined the 60 million Americans who perform volunteer work each year, according to an annual study based on U.S. Census figures.

Credit a local organization, Seattle Works, for today's admirable effort. Their goal is to involve more people in their 20s and 30s in volunteer efforts. It is all part of a larger effort, HandsOn Network, the largest volunteer effort in the nation.

Former President George H.W. Bush laid the seed with his "Points of Light" call to public service. President Obama has repeatedly underscored the value of individual efforts. Our communities are the better for the focus on volunteerism.

The brilliance of Seattle Works' annual designated day is its simple dedication to a single effort each year recognizing the fact that while volunteerism is a closely held value for many of us, large projects can be time-consuming and overwhelming.

Next year's Seattle Works Day may involve some of the other efforts the organization has undertaken, including painting schools, sorting clothes and collecting food.

Copyright © 2009 The Seattle Times Company

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