Vols: The wave of the future

Written by Diana Nelson Jones on .


The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership is always looking for a few good volunteers to add to the cadre of souls who in 2012 gave almost 5,000 hours of this service, a 332 percent increase over 2011, according to Leigh Ann White, A PDP spokesman.

The total number of volunteers throughout 2012 was 1,850, and 860 percent increase over 2011. They provided services valued at roughly  $108,000.621.00.

Mark my words, volunteerism is what's going to keep us going as a society when towns, cities and even business improvement districts become more and more strapped. So be prepared to shift your idea of busy as giving to the greater good instead of to your own, personal orbit ... or do without the services.

Just sayin'.

Pittsburgh is still lucky to have foundations that step up, and in this case the Richard King Mellon Foundation paid for supplies that led to this explosion of volunteers.

They clean the river walk,remove  graffiti, weed and mulch flower beds, pick up rocks and rubble, paint fixtures and furniture, wash bus shelters and rake leaves. Volunteers have also been enlisted as hospitality guides — a service, for which the PDP used to pay people, that is stepped up for special events such as the Pittsburgh Marathon and Light Up Night.

Last year’s highlights:

+ In March, PDP, Pittsburgh Cares and AmeriCorps collected 50 volunteers for a “service crawl” of sites throughout Downtown for graffiti and debris removal, the cleaning of parklets, landscaping of the Riverwalk and cleaning of Market Square.
+ In September, members of the Naval Reserves Submarine Support Unit in North Versailles planted 50 shrubs along the exit ramps near Fort Pitt Boulevard and Grant Street.
+ In October, more than 25 corporate volunteers from BNY Mellon volunteered every Friday to paint poles and fixtures, clean a commuter parklet of trash and weeds and removed graffiti and litter around the BNY Mellon campus and at gateways from Uptown to Downtown.

Volunteers typically work on Saturdays and they include individuals and school and corporate groups.

If you or members of your organization want to give time to this program, contact Rich Dethlefs at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (412) 325-0156. Check out the PDP Partnership Volunteer Program Facebook page.

Photo by John Altdorfer

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