In honor of more than 160 million hours of service by 1.8 million volunteers, Gov. Phil Murphy has declared April 7 through 13 as “Volunteer Week” in New Jersey.

“Volunteers represent all facets of our Garden State family—schools and colleges, faith-based organizations, senior citizen groups, the business community, non-profit agencies, and national service program members,” states Gov. Murphy’s proclamation.

The service of New Jersey’s local school board members is an important part of the equation.

“School board members are the quintessential volunteers,” explained NJSBA Executive Director Dr. Lawrence S. Feinsod. “No other public officials have as great an impact on the lives of New Jersey’s children than the 5,000 men and women who serve on local boards of education. Their hard work and dedication has a singular focus: advancing the achievement of 1.4 million students.”

According to Gov. Murphy, all of New Jersey’s volunteers play “a critical role in the life and wellbeing of our residents and communities.

“Our volunteers make a lasting difference as they mentor and tutor students, serve the elderly and people with disabilities, prepare and distribute food to the needy, beautify the environment, rescue and protect animals, sustain the arts, remember our history and preserve our cultural institutions,” Murphy said.

The governor issued the proclamation as part of National Volunteer Week, which has been observed since 1974.