The volunteer business is booming, with young people leading the way.
Even though 15 percent of Maryland's high school seniors haven't completed their so-called "Service Learning" requirement for graduation, polls done as a prelude to May's national volunteer summit in Philadelphia show a new interest among young people in helping the poor, sick or elderly.
Gallup organization and Princeton Survey polls show that while 49 percent of all adult Americans did volunteer work of some sort in 1995, the number of involved young people was even higher.
What's driving the soaring numbers, among others things, the polls say, is an effort by organizations that use volunteers to adapt to the youths' desire by to do something more meaningful than stuffing envelopes. And because of work, school and other time constraints, the same groups are finding that they sometimes must get a great deal done in short bursts of activity, instead of asking volunteers for a long-term commitment.