Since the formation of the SA2020 organization nearly a year ago, workers have been focusing on setting up volunteer areas for the community to help the city achieve major goals.
Under the direction of Darryl Byrd, CEO of SA2020, 11 categories ranging from education, arts and culture, environmental sustainability and neighborhoods were identified as interests to attract volunteers. Partner agencies like Rackspace and AT&T will lead the causes, and currently only half have a lead agency.
"I expect both progress and challenges in all the issue areas from education to health and fitness, even the ones that we focused on,” said Mayor Julián Castro, whose SA2020 plan is at the heart of nearly every initiative the city takes on these days. “That's just the nature of how challenging these issues are."
The Texas State Data Center will evaluate the initiative's progress each May in a report card, the first of which will be out this May. Members from the community may now log on to the SA2020 website to determine their interests and areas where they’d like to volunteer.
"We're saying time, talent, energy, resources. Whatever you've got, give it back,” said Molly Cox, who works with SA2020’s communications department.
So far, Cox has 1,200 member profiles -- or volunteers -- registered to the SA2020 site. She says women are outpacing men 2 to 1 in volunteer initiative.
"I believe that once you get involved in one opportunity, you're going to get hooked in giving back,” she said. “I can guarantee it. It's your passion anyway, so give back in a way that's meaningful."
Making a pledge
At a kick-off event Monday at the San Antonio Area Foundation’s offices at the Pearl, partners signed plexiglass panels positioned atop the interest areas to show their commitment for those volunteer categories. In line with his education push, Castro signed the education board.
Education, along with arts and culture, family well-being, and health and fitness were among the areas with the most signatures. Environmental sustainability, transportation, civic engagement, community safety, and neighborhoods were areas with the least amount of signatures.
In response, Cox said some of the areas do not lend themselves to volunteers, but rather are lifestyle changes.
Her challenge to the community for 2013 is to pick one area and stick with it.
“Focus your attention on the thing that makes you so excited when you wake up in the morning,” said Cox.
- Learn more about SA2020 and sign up to volunteer online at: www.sa2020.org