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Thank You For Being a Friend? Miami Has the Least Volunteers

Though the quintessential Miamian, the late Sophia Petrillo, might disapprove —the Southern city has just been found at the bottom of the friendly heap. Miami comes in dead last in a study of volunteerism in 50 major US cities. Possible causes for the falloff could include traffic, an exploding number of new immigrants, or the better offer of time on the beach.

Miami might be last, but nationally the US isn't doing so well either; the volunteerism rate fell last year for the second year in a row to about 26 percent. Miami's volunteer rate is 14.5 percent. Who's best at giving back? Minneapolis-St. Paul, at a solid 39 percent. Stellar states include Utah, Nebraska, and Alaska with New York, Florida, and Nevada on the bottom tier.

The chairman of the Corporation for National and Community Service says, "with more people in need — losing houses, losing jobs — there are more people to serve. You have fewer people helping and more people needing help."

Both Obama and McCain have stressed the need for public service in this campaign — is volunteerism just the balm we need to soothe these challenging times? What kind of catalyst will it take to spark an upward trend in service? Do you give back?

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