Volunteerism and community service have long been considered cherished American traditions. While Americans are recognized the world over for their hard work ethic – U.S. workers receive far less vacation time than their European counterparts, with many never using the paid days off they receive! – so, too, are we well known for the amount of time we donate to civic and charitable causes.
According to the Corporation for National & Community Service, one out of every four Americans volunteers for a worthy cause. In 2012, more than 64.5 million Americans contributed 7.9 billion hours of volunteer time valued at $175 billion.
A sense of community
Master-planned communities have been praised by policymakers for helping to foster the community spirit that inspires residents to volunteer for local organizations. The sprawling subdivisions of the past, they say, actually discouraged volunteerism: Homes spaced far apart left residents feeling disconnected, while longer commutes cut down on the time families had to volunteer. In contrast, the planning principles used in today’s master-planned communities encourage residents to get to know their neighbors. Vibrant town centers, meanwhile, cut down on long car trips for work and errands, allowing residents more time to participate in rewarding community work.
In a book exploring the best practices of such communities, architectural historian Vincent Scully wrote:
“Americans today seem to feel that a sense of community is exactly what needs to be revived in this country, and many apparently want exactly that for their families. It is therefore no great wonder that they are choosing to live in the kind of integrated architectural groupings that are suggestive of the towns in which they grew up, or about which they have always dreamed.”
Nocatee is an example of a master-planned community where local residents have embraced that sense of community spirit and a desire to help others. While many Nocatee neighborhoods are just a few years old, residents have already begun forming interest groups where residents can volunteer for local charities. Helping Hands of Nocatee, for example, is a group founded by Nocatee residents that holds fundraisers and drives to support local nonprofits. From holiday toy drives and donating books to filling summer backpacks for homeless students, Helping Hands of Nocatee makes a positive impact on the Ponte Vedra/ St. Augustine area.
Other Nocatee residents have volunteered to make and serve meals for the homeless in St. Augustine, while still others have also volunteered for K9s for Warriors, playing with the service dogs and providing home cooked meals for veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries. And the connection between Nocatee and the nonprofit is about to grow even stronger: Nocatee’s developer, The PARC Group, recently donated the land to build a new home for K9s for Warriors within Nocatee. The new training facility will enable the organization to serve four times as many veterans in need of assistance.
“Nocatee residents have really embraced K9s for Warriors and their mission,” PARC Group President Richard Ray says. “It’s wonderful to see the sense of community spirit that thrives in Nocatee.”
For more information on new homes available for sale in Nocatee, visit the Nocatee Welcome Center or call 1-800-NOCATEE.