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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: April 19, 2013


NEW CASTLE (April 19, 2013) - First lady Carla Markell will be joined by Sen. Tom Carper and DNREC Secretary Collin O'Mara on April 20 at the Brandywine State Park Community Volunteer Day, the kick-off event for Delaware's Week of Service April 20-27.

The Brandywine State Park event, from 9 a.m. to noon, will begin at Baynard Stadium, 1000-1035 N. Park Drive, Wilmington. Volunteer Day is a partnership between Old Brandywine Village, Friends of Wilmington State Parks, Delaware State Parks and the State Office of Volunteerism, which is coordinating the Week of Service. Projects will include litter pick-up along the creek, invasive plant pull, mulching of playgrounds, clean-ups of Alapocas Falls and Rockford Tower and wood splitting. To register, go to

The event begins the April 20-27 Week of Service in Delaware by calling attention to volunteerism across the state. The State Office of Volunteerism, the Governor's Commission for Community and Volunteer Service, and AmeriCorps Delaware work with such nonprofit groups as the Delaware Association of Nonprofit Agencies and the United Way of Delaware to foster and encourage volunteerism.

"The Delaware Week of Service helps to shine a spotlight on the value of volunteerism and the benefits it brings to our communities," Gov. Jack Markell said. "Serving others in need binds us together as individuals and strengthens our connection to the larger community. Carla and I know that volunteerism is a vital part of our culture in Delaware and it helps to promote the high quality of life that we enjoy in our state."

As first lady, Carla Markell has been a strong advocate for volunteerism during her husband's time as Governor.

"Jack and I know that by working together as Delawareans we can improve the lives of many and create a positive and healthy future for all," Carla Markell said. "We believe that we are a state of neighbors. By volunteering, each person can make a difference in the lives of others, their communities, and themselves. Together, we will build an even better Delaware."

Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Secretary Collin O'Mara will host the first lady and Sen. Carper at the April 20 Volunteer Day at Brandywine State Park.

"Brandywine State Park is the perfect place to kick off Delaware's eek of Service," O'Mara said. "With more than 5,000 Delawareans volunteering at our state parks last year, volunteers have been critical to making our parks beautiful for families to enjoy and connect to nature. Governor and Mrs. Markell have led by example, working on volunteer projects and promoting community service throughout our state."

Other events during the Week of Service include the Governor's Youth Volunteer Service Awards in Dover; the Western Sussex Laurel Boys and Girls Club Open House in Laurel; beautification of Baylor Potter's Field and a Garden Project with the Terry Children's Center, both on DHSS' Herman Holloway Campus near New Castle; and Capital School District Clean-up in Dover, part of the Youth Service America for Global Youth Service Day.

Secretary Rita Landgraf, whose Department of Health and Social Services oversees the State Office of Volunteerism, said volunteers not only enhance the lives of the people they serve, but also change their own lives.

"Those who volunteer benefit from giving back, from making a difference in someone else's life, from strengthening our neighborhoods and communities," Landgraf said. "One of the great things about volunteering is that, for many, the benefit is immediate. It's that satisfaction of helping others that brings so many Delawareans back time after time, and instills a commitment to service."

Delawareans can search for volunteer opportunities by visiting Also, organizations and nonprofits are encouraged to list events and activities in which volunteers can are needed - anything from clothing drives and charitable walks, to clean-ups and plantings.

In a nationwide survey, the Corporation for National and Community Service ranked Delaware No. 1 for the greatest percentage increase in volunteering from 2010 to 2011 - up 5.3 percentage points - 26.6 percent of Delawareans.


For information about all of the events listed or to list your event, please visit

SATURDAY, April 20 Week of Service Kick-Off Event Brandywine State Park Community Volunteer Day 9 a.m.-noon.

Begin at Baynard Stadium, 1000-1035 N. Park Drive, Wilmington This day is a partnership between Old Brandywine Village, Friends of Wilmington State Parks, Delaware State Parks and the State Office of Volunteerism.

Projects will include litter pick-up along the creek, invasive pull, mulching of play grounds, Alapocas Falls Clean-up, Rockford Tower clean-up, wood splitting at Wilmington shop.

To register, visit

TUESDAY, April 22
Middle Run Earth Day
4 p.m.- 6 p.m.
Park at Middle Run Natural Area, Smith Mill Road, off Polly Drummond Road (look for tree planting signs) Volunteers will assist with checking the 7,000 trees planted in the field to make sure they are properly mulched, weed-free and healthy. Work with wire cages to protect the trees from deer damage and provide growing space. Plant a special "habitat circle" of native berry-producing shrubs and help install nest boxes for Eastern bluebirds as the spring nesting season begins. Pre-registration is required.

Great Dames Mini-Closet Cleanout 5-6 p.m.

Pizza by Elizabeth's, 3801 Kennett Pike, Wilmington Great Dames is encouraging those attending their Delaware Series "Designing the Life of Your Dreams" on April 22 to bring new or gently used, clean business and dress attire for women (and men and children) - any size, shape or color. All clothes will benefit the Friendship House & the Delaware Clothing Bank Dress for Success Delaware. Even if you are not attending the event, clothes will be accepted at that location during the above hours. For more information, visit

WEDNESDAY, April 23 Baylor Potter's Field Beautification
9:30-11:30 a.m.
Herman Holloway Campus, U.S. 13, New Castle A potter's field or common grave is a term for a place for the burial. The expression derives from the Bible, referring to a field used for the extraction of potter's clay, which was useless for agriculture but could be used as a burial site. AmeriCorps members, students from Salesianum High School and volunteers will be working to beautify the potter's field located on the Herman Holloway Campus near New Castle. Activities will include planting flowers, weeding and mulching. This is one of many events sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, the State Office of Volunteerism and Youth Service America for Global Youth Service Day. For more information, visit

Ashland Nature Center Butterfly House Cleaning 1-4 p.m.
Ashland Nature Center, 3511 Barley Mill Road, Hockessin Even though the butterflies have not begun to flutter, the Butterfly House needs help getting ready for our winged friends to arrive. With weather permitting, help weed and clean out the beds to plant butterfly attracting plants. Bring your favorite garden gloves and tools. Pre-registration is required.

THURSDAY, April 25
Abbott's Mill Spring Spruce Up
10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Abbott's Mill Nature Center, 15411 Abbott's Pond Road, Milford Spend the day in Milford, getting the land and nature center ready for spring. Help with an invasive plant removal and stream clean-up. Wear your favorite pair of gloves, sturdy boots and a thick pair of pants to dress appropriate for the weather. Bring a bag lunch. Tools and gloves will be provided.

Governor's Youth Volunteer Service Awards 5-8:30 p.m.
Dover Downs Hotel, U.S. 13, Dover
Gov. Jack Markell honors 19 individual young people and groups at the Governor's Youth Volunteer Service Awards. More than 300 people are expected to join the governor in honoring the young volunteers for their service across the state. The event begins with a reception at 5 p.m., dinner at 6 and the ceremony starting at 7. For tickets ($25 per person) or more details, visit

FRIDAY, April 26
Garden Project with Terry Children's Center
12:30 p.m. Herman Holloway Campus, U.S. 13, New Castle
Youth from the Terry's Children's Center will be doing gardening projects at the DHSS Community Garden on the Holloway Campus near New Castle. Projects include planting seedlings, weeding and adding lawn ornaments. This is one of many events sponsored by the Department of Agriculture, the State Office of Volunteerism, AmeriCorps, and Youth Service America for Global Youth Service Day. For more information, visit

Great Closet Clean-Out
8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Great Dames in collaboration with the State office of Volunteerism, United Way of Delaware and Pettinaro Relocation will be holding its 4th annual Great Closet Clean Out. For locations and details, visit

SATURDAY, April 27 Western Sussex Laurel Boys and Girls Club Open House
10 a.m.-1 p.m.: Gardening and activities
Noon-1 p.m.: Lunch and volunteer fair
1-3 p.m.: Science fair and open house
Western Sussex Laurel Boys and Girls Club, 454 Central Ave., Laurel This open house is an opportunity for the community and the Boys and Girls Club family to see the progress from the Inaugural Week of Service event in January at the Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club in Laurel and to volunteer for additional projects. The event, in celebration of Global Youth Service Day, is sponsored by the Governor's Office, the State Office of Volunteerism, United Healthcare-Community Plan, the Delaware Nature Society and Youth Service America. Morning activities include planting a sustainable vegetable garden and building a pergola. In the afternoon, Boys and Girls Club members will display their science projects and showcase their new and improved club.

Everyone is welcome to volunteer. Projects designed for youth ages 5-25. For more details, please call 302-255-9745 or e-mail For more information, visit

Celebrating Healthy Kids Noon-2 p.m.
Walnut Street YMCA, 1000 N. Walnut St., Wilmington
The Walnut Street YMCA, along with Boys and Girls Scouts, AmeriCorps members and volunteers, will host a family-fun event that includes swimming, art and crafts, basketball and more for the entire family. National sponsors are Sprout and Lazy Town. Healthy Kids Day is just one more way the YMCA works to strengthen the community. For more information, visit

Brain Tumor Walk
11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Dravo Plaza, Wilmington Riverfront
Welcome to the Delaware Brain Tumor Walk, a family-friendly walk and community day benefiting the National Brain Tumor Society. Funds raised through this event help the National Brain Tumor Society to drive strategic research initiatives aimed at finding new therapies as quickly as possible, and empower the brain tumor community to advocate for vital government programs and policies that will result in better treatments and quality of life for those affected by brain tumors. Volunteer positions vary from cheerleaders, balloon arch helpers, rest stop station attendants and many more. As part of Global Youth Service Day, AmeriCorps members will be serving in various capacities at this event.

For more information, visit

Capital School District Clean-up Central Middle School and William Henry Middle School, both in Dover 9 a.m.-noon
Help AmeriCorps members, students and volunteers as they work to beautify the schools and continue the work that was done during AmeriCorps week. This is one of many events sponsored by the State Office of Volunteerism and Youth Service America for Global Youth Service Day. For project information, visit

Saturday in the Park 10 a.m.-noon
Several parks Join the Mormon Helping Hands in cooperation with the Delaware Council of Faith-Based Partnership and Delaware State Parks for a morning of service at several state parks. Volunteer with your family, friends or neighbors. Locations include: White Clay Creek, Lums Pond, Brandywine Creek, Bellevue, Trap Pond and Killens Pond. Registration is required. For additional information, please visit or contact Flora McConkie at 302-633-4825 or

For more information the Delaware Week of Service, go to , or contact Carrie Hart, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 857-5006.

For more information on the Global Youth Service Day, go to , or contact Catherine Fox, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 255-9745.

For more information about all of the State Office of Volunteerism Programs, go to , or contact Catherine Fox, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 255-9745.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.