Mark your calendars for National Volunteer Week

This year, National Volunteer Week takes place April 15-21. The theme is “Volunteers – Every One Counts.” The goal is to send a strong message to existing volunteers that they are valued, and to support potential volunteers by reinforcing that every single volunteer makes an important contribution to the broader community.

The Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) program honors it volunteers.  SHIBA volunteers provide free and unbiased health care access and information resources, as well as information and counseling services for evaluating, planning, and using health insurance and public health programs.

A brief history of SHIBA

  • In operation since 1979
  • Started by a volunteer in Skagit County
  • The first program of its kind in the nation
  • Recognized nationally as a model for health insurance consumer counseling
  • Inspired federal funding to create State Health Insurance Programs (SHIPs) in all states
  • Approximately 400 volunteers statewide
  • Twenty-two local sponsoring agencies representing all 39 Washington counties

SHIBA volunteer contributions in 2010

  • SHIBA volunteers counseled 37,562 clients
  • Served 11,479 folks at enrollment events
  • Provided outreach to more than 71,041 folks by email/fax/postal mail
  • Assisted 58,977 folks at 237 health fairs
  • Counseled 12,064 at 419 public presentations and workshops

In Washington state:

  • 34.4 percent of state residents volunteered – ranking Washington 10th nationwide.
  • Washington has consistently had more volunteers than the national average for the past decade.
  • Volunteers served an average of 39.8 hours per resident – ranking Washington 11th nationwide.
  •  Volunteers in Washingtone have consistently served more hours than in the rest of the country.

SHIBA works because of you.  Many thanks for what you give to your local communities and to SHIBA.   We offer many volunteer opportunities.   If you have any question or would like to become a volunteer, call 1-800-562-6900 or check us out on the web at