Apr 16, 2020
April is National Volunteer Month. Volunteers are the backbone of our society, and National Volunteer Month is a time for organizations to honor volunteers and recognize the irreplaceable impact volunteers make on our communities.
During the COVID-19 crisis, volunteers continue to be a vital component of keeping social services in action. Meals on Wheels drivers deliver daily meals to home-bound seniors. Volunteers help prepare and distribute food and local food pantries. Thousands of homemade face masks have been provided by people donating their time and supplies. The list goes on and on.
Volunteers are driven, for their own reasons, to help and support their neighbors, their communities and the world. Why do people volunteer? What is the motivation?
Here are a few of the many reasons people volunteer:
- Personal passions. You may have grown up in poverty, your sister may have had breast cancer, your grandmother may have been on hospice. Your heart has been touched, and empathy drives you.
- Learn a new skill. Perhaps you are in college and are building your resume, mid-life looking for a new career, or retired and curious. Regardless as to why, volunteering is a great way to learn something new.
- Cultural diversity. You want to learn about other cultures so you volunteer abroad teaching English to Japanese students, or you go to another country and work in a refugee camp. This not only helps the people you will be serving, but you get the opportunity to expand your understanding of other cultures.
- Setting a good example. You work all week, take care of two teenage kids, but you find time to serve a meal to those less fortunate than you once a month. You certainly are helping others, but you are also modeling good behavior for your kids. Before you know it they ask if they can come help you.
- Meeting like-minded, motivated, positive people. Connecting over shared passions for a cause while helping others is a great way to meet new friends. By volunteering, your “circle of friends” can get a whole lot bigger in just a short amount of time.
- Unique and exciting opportunities. There are lots of volunteer opportunities that could lead you to experiences you might not otherwise have. Volunteering to usher for a theater will allow you to see a production you might otherwise not afford to be able to see. Volunteer at a zoo and you might get the opportunity to develop a friendship with a giraffe.
- A need to focus on the positive. Every day we are bombarded with disheartening news stories. Volunteering presents a proactive way of doing something to make the world a better place. Even the smallest gestures make a difference. And if we all band together, those small gestures can add up to a big change!
- Empowerment. Maybe someone offered you a helping hand when you were down and out. Volunteering gives you the opportunity to pay that favor forward. Often times, a word of encouragement and a little assistance to those in need can help them get back on their feet. And when they do, they’ll most likely do the same for others. And the cycle continues.
Volunteering is quite easy. There is a nonprofit organization for just about every interest or cause out there. Finding the right organization to volunteer for is just a Google search away, or SeniorCare’s RSVP Volunteer Program can help you find the best fit for volunteering. For information, visit the website at www.seniorcareinc.org/volunteer-drivers-spring-2020, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 978-281-1750.
A big thank you to all the volunteers out there regardless of your reason! You make the world a better place.