Give an Hour™ is a nonprofit 501(c)(3), founded in September 2005 by Dr. Barbara Van Dahlen, a psychologist in the Washington, D.C., area. Our mission is to develop national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society.
Our first target population is the U.S. troops and families who are being affected by the current military conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Give an Hour™ is asking mental health professionals nationwide to literally donate an hour of their time each week to provide free mental health services to military personnel and their families.
Research will guide the development of additional services needed by the military community, and appropriate networks will be created to respond to those needs. Individuals who receive services will be given the opportunity to give an hour back in their own community. Give an Hour™’s philosophy is based on several key beliefs. The first is that those in need are capable of and interested in becoming those who provide services for others. Providing people in need with an opportunity to give back in their communities promotes dignity and respect. Harnessing the resources available in those who receive services from Give an Hour™ will help communities across the country respond to their own needs. Give an Hour™ is partnering with a variety of federal, state, and local organizations and agencies to provide a range of community volunteer opportunities.
Organizations with community volunteer opportunities are encouraged to contact us. Examples include a shelter for the homeless in need of volunteers to staff a soup kitchen; a police station looking for volunteers to help run a public service event for children; or an animal shelter in need of volunteers to work on a newsletter promoting responsible pet care. Organizations with volunteer opportunities are registering through our Web site.
Once approved, these opportunities will be posted on our site. Individuals who receive services from Give an Hour™ will be able to choose an opportunity that best fits their own skills and interests. We are currently collecting information on volunteer opportunities with National Organizations and Regional Organizations.
Our primary focus will always be to attend to those in need by linking them to individuals in our society best equipped to respond effectively. In addition, we will develop research and educational programs to further promote the value and importance of a new kind of volunteerism. We hope to encourage an increase in shared responsibility for those citizens who are suffering. We need only look at the outpouring of aid and support following both the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, and Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 to see the potential we have to become a truly compassionate and united nation. We have not only the potential but the duty to help one another in times of need.