Join Hands Day moved to May

Monday, January 19, 2004

One of the nation's most ambitious volunteer programs is making a major change in 2004.

Join Hands Day, the only national volunteer day with a focus to build respect and understanding across generations, will now take place the first Saturday in May rather than in mid-June.

Fred Ohlde, chair of the National Fraternal Congress of America (NFCA) and senior vice president at Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, said the change will help the event, which takes place May 1 this year, have an even greater impact.

"As we look back on four great years of helping others by combining the talents, expertise, dedication and hard work of our nation's youth and adults, we think this change will make Join Hands Day an even stronger event," Ohlde said, noting that with school still in session, the new date should make it easier to involve even more youth.

"By moving Join Hands Day to May from the early days of summer, we believe that we will be able to bring even more people together to help in even more ways in their community."

Ohlde said that the goal of Join Hands Day, beyond helping others, remains quite simple and quite powerful: "As youth and adults work side by side to tackle projects in their own communities, they get to know each other and begin to solve the generation disconnect."

Ohlde said that Join Hands Day:

  • Helps generations better understand each other.

  • Increases youth volunteerism.

  • Builds positive, long-lasting relationships between generations.

  • Gives youth and adults new community insights.

  • Allows adults and young people working as equal partners to plan and carry out a project together.

    "The role the NFCA can and does play in this interaction is one of the most rewarding things we do," he said. "When neighbors get together to help neighbors, no matter what the age, they earn respect from and for each other. We have seen so many special projects built over the first four years of Join Hands Day, and we believe that by making the date change, we will see even more people reaching out across generations to help build their communities."

    Ohlde also re-emphasized Thrivent Financial for Lutherans' commitment to Join Hands Day.

    "Our 1,378 chapters throughout the country are already working hard to come up with significant programs to do for Join Hands Day. It is our hope that everyone of them will be able to complete at least two projects this year and deliver more than $3 million in help for others," he said. "We realize this is setting a high standard, but we know that our volunteer network can have an amazing impact in communities in every state."

    Chapters are chartered local units of Thrivent Financial for Lutherans that bring Thrivent Financial members together for charitable, social and educational activities. All Thrivent Financial members belong to local chapters, which enables them to aid themselves and others through voluntary action.

    Thrivent Financial for Lutherans is a not-for-profit Fortune 500financial services organization helping 2.9 million members achieve their financial goals. Thrivent Financial and its affiliates offer a wide range of comprehensive solutions and has $60.6 billion (Sept. 30, 2003) in assets under management. Thrivent Financial for Lutherans and its members provide approximately $200 million annually for outreach programs and activities that support congregations, schools, charitable organizations and needy individuals.

    For more information, visit

    More than 80 fraternals, including Thrivent Financial for Lutherans, belong to the National Fraternal Congress of America (NFCA), an association that unites America's fraternal benefit societies. This group represents more than 10 million individuals and 40,000 grass-roots chapters. For more information, visit

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