MINNEAPOLIS-SAINT PAUL, Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Does the holiday season motivate you to volunteer in your community? If so, here are tips to get you started, inspired by hometown heroes statewide who have been nominated for the Minnesota Volvo for Life Awards ( www.mn-volvoforlifeawards.com ), the state's largest search for and celebration of everyday heroes: -- Consider helping those who once helped you, like Carol Voss of Hibbing, who in 1984 as a client of the Hibbing Food Shelf vowed to one day run the food shelf. Today, she is the organization's volunteer director, feeding 300 area families each week. -- Pay it forward: become an inspiration to others, like Bob Fischer of Wayzata, who for the past eight holiday seasons has slept outdoors in a tent each night to raise money for area homeless. He's raised millions of dollars, helping thousand of families and motivating school-age children, CEOs and professional athletes to brave the elements with him. -- Turn life experiences into tools for others, like Sona Mehring of Eagan, who in 1997 created a Web site to provide updates to friends and family worldwide on a close friend and her newborn baby's life-threatening medical conditions. Realizing the site's impact, Sona created CaringBridge, which has provided free templates and site hosting for 11,000 families seeking to update others on a loved one's medical situation. -- Tap your passion to channel your volunteerism, like Vern Waldner of Coon Rapids, a retiree seeking a safer Anoka County. A volunteer policeman, he donates 1,000 hours annually hosting safety camps for bicyclists, snowmobilers and boaters; teaching snow survival, search and rescue classes; hosting car seat clinics; and managing a program to fingerprint county children as a safety precaution. -- Make your hobby your philanthropy, like Jodi Townsend of Lakeville, who loves horses and manages a therapeutic horse-riding farm for kids with special needs. In addition to her work at Majestic Hills Ranch, Jodi and her husband are also involved in "hoofed animal" rescue; several of these unwanted animals have been trained to work with the children at the camp. If you know a Minnesota hero, nominations for the Minnesota Volvo for Life Awards are open until Jan. 16, 2004 at www.mn-volvoforlifeawards.com . Led by the Borton Volvo in Golden Valley and Minneapolis and Kline Volvo in Maplewood, the statewide public service program will celebrate and reward Minnesota heroes with up to $50,000 in financial contributions to Minnesota charities. During the nomination period, Volvo will profile select nominees on the www.mn-volvoforlifeawards.com Web site and in the media. Volvo is conducting the program in an effort to inspire Minnesotans to make outstanding contributions in their communities. The Minnesota Volvo for Life Awards seeks ordinary people who are doing extraordinary things -- such as building a neighborhood center for needy kids, developing recycling programs for their schools, or helping save the life of a perfect stranger. In February, celebrity judges based in Minnesota will select the top winners, who will be honored at an event in March. The top winner will receive up to $25,000 and the distinction of "Minnesota's Greatest Hometown Hero." The second and third top winners will receive up to $15,000 and $10,000, respectively. Award money will be donated to the heroes' Minnesota charities of choice. Minnesotans can help contribute money to the Minnesota Volvo for Life Awards fund by test-driving Volvos at Borton and Kline dealerships. For every test drive, the dealerships will donate $10 to the fund; Volvo expects to raise $50,000 from the test drives.
SOURCE Volvo Cars of North America