Clovis News

Disney offer helps Clovis volunteer program

Clovis started a volunteer program last year to spur people to help out in tough financial times -- and on Saturday the city is expected to get its largest volunteer turnout in memory.

The city can thank Disney Parks.

Disney has offered a free ticket to its amusement parks for people who volunteer and receive the proper documentation available through its "Give A Day Get A Disney Day program."

The Serve Clovis event has attracted 900 volunteers -- the maximum number the city would allow, for logistical reasons -- to work on 13 miles of city trails, said Kathy Hamlin, the city's volunteer coordinator.

"I have had many people I had to reject" because of the high turnout, Hamlin said. She said she has turned away about 500.

But even those turned away are willing to become part of a new crop of city volunteers.

"I have asked them if they would like to be on the Serve Clovis e-mail list, and they agree," Hamlin said.

The Disney program is modeled after one the corporation uses for its employees, said John McClintock, an Anaheim-based spokesman for Disneyland Resort.

Ticket vouchers can be redeemed at any of Disney's six U.S. parks, four in Florida and two in California.

"We have had a very good response, and we are very pleased we have encouraged people to volunteer," he said.

McClintock said the Clovis event sounds like it will bring out "an impressive number."

One of those volunteers is Hannah Norman of Fresno, who will work with her sister at Saturday's Clovis event.

"We love Disneyland, and I also enjoy being involved in service to our community, so it was putting two things together that I like," she said.

Her brother tried to sign up for the Clovis event, but he didn't get in on time.

It isn't the only local volunteer effort that has received a boost from Disney.

HandsOn Central California -- a clearinghouse for community volunteer programs in Fresno, Madera, Tulare, Kings, and Merced counties -- will hold a Disney volunteer program from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday at Manchester Center.

About 500 volunteers are expected at that event, which promotes local mentoring programs. Those attending also will make Valentine's Day cards for U.S. troops. The application period for Disney tickets has closed for the event.

"The Disney promotion just swamped us," said Wes Dodd, an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer working for HandsOn Central California. "It's been overwhelming, but great at the same time."

HandsOn Central California's Web site matches volunteers with programs that can use their talents. In some cases, people are retired or unemployed, while others may be changing careers and trying to gain experience in a new field, Dodd said.

"We are just happy to see that people take the first step," he said. "It's a great way for people to get their foot in the door."