Summit increased volunteers

A year after the Presidents' Summit for America's Future, volunteerism at Penn has hit all-time highs, according to reports released March 20 by Isabel Mapp, associate director of faculty, staff and alumni volunteer services and director of Penn Volunteers in Public Service (Penn VIPS).

More than 2,500 students, faculty and staff provide service to the community, the reports stated.

The growth in education-related programs included a gain of close to 60 volunteers in mentoring, the addition of a third community school and a third extended-day literacy program. The Police Athletic League program opened its doors at the Wilson School, with 600 children registered.

The numbers of children receiving health-related education or services from University volunteer efforts have grown too, the report stated. Among the services the children receive are dental screenings and lead avoidance education -- more than 1,000 children and adolescents received health education through School of Nursing programs, and more than 6,500 children received dental screenings and/or education. Nearly 900 children have been served through the Lead Avoidance Program.

The Nursing School also provided primary health care to 526 children, and immunizations to 628, Mapp said.

Numbers were up in every phase of the commitments that President Judith Rodin made for the year 2000 at last year's Summit. "Very few institutions committed to all five goals," Mapp said, but Penn did.

"We're doing exceptionally well," Mapp said. "We have an increase in faculty interest, we have an increase in the mentoring program where faculty and staff around the University are volunteering, we have an increase in community service courses." Mapp, who began her job about five weeks ago, takes no credit for the progress that she is reporting.

She is particularly impressed by Penn's commitment to make sure not only students but faculty and staff volunteer. "Not many people get employed to volunteer," she said. "If we ask the students to volunteer, we need to be role models."

Her job, Mapp says, is unique -- a further demonstration of the University's commitment to volunteerism. "Nobody in this country has a position like this one, to make sure faculty and staff volunteer."

Originally published on April 16, 1998