A new phone app is honoring some of Vermont's unsung heroes.
Some people spend their days tapping away on an iPhone, others spend it tapping their cows for their latest milk, but today those two worlds have come together -- sort of.
The lastest iPhone app, Reward Volunteers, created by The Cabot Coop and a social media entrepreneurs, is looking to reward those who go above and beyond for good causes in their communities.
"Volunteers can log their time, in order to earn rewards for themselves, and for the organizations that they serve," says Jen Neary with Cabot.
Farmers may be the last group of people you would expect to see carrying an iPhone, but the folks at Cabot say their farmers are the reason they followed through with creating the app.
"Our farmers they volunteer in their communities, they are local firefighters, they drive school buses, they are in their communities volunteering. We wanted to be able to honor that," Neary says.
Here is how it works:
"I say I volunteered for two hours, hit a button, and it asks me to post of my Facebook page, and email to my friends," she says. "The more likes and the more email opens the more chances that you have to win that prize for yourself and your organization."
The people who log the most hours and get the most interaction with their friends through the application could win big prizes including up to $3,000 for themselves and their organization, as well as care packages from Vermont retailers or even an Alaskan Cruise.
"I would say I am pretty shamless when it comes to raising money and talking about my volunteer experience," says COTS Volunteer Coordinator Nicole Marshall.
Nicole Marshall has been volunteering her time at COTS in Burlington since 2005. She says people use Facebook to post about everything else in their life and hopes this application can help spread the word and inspire more volunteers.
"I think to be able to promote volunteer hours through it is just another layer of Facebook," she says. "It is going to be one more way to reach an audience to tell people what you are doing, and tell people what you are passionate about."
But many people who volunteer their time chose to keep that private, and may argue that this app is tooting their own horn.
"There is a humility piece to it, and I think a lot of people who are prone to volunteering are also people who do not necessarily need a lot of praise because they are motivated from their heart," Marshall says.
"We really want people to sacrifice their humbleness and spread the word about volunteerism," Neary says.
You have the chance to qualify for the $3,000 once every month for the next 5 months and it's available to any volunteer nationwide.
The app is currently only set up to work through the next 5 months, but developers say they are working on Phase 2. If you do not have an iPhone you can still participate by going through their website -- rewardvolunteers.coop.
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