Apr 9, 2021
April is National Volunteer Month. This began as a celebration to honor the contribution women made on the home front during World War II. After the war, interest resurged in the late 1960s and early 1970s and April became National Volunteer Month as part of President George H.W. Bush’s 1000 Points of Light campaign in 1991. National Volunteer Month is a time for organizations to honor volunteers and recognize the irreplaceable impact volunteers make on our communities. In 2021, special thanks needs to go to the many volunteers who have continued serving their communities, despite the restrictions in place due to the pandemic. In addition, those volunteers who have found it necessary to put their volunteer activities on hold need to know that they are appreciated and their communities look forward to their return to service.
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 you want to give back.
- 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.
- Meeting like-minded, motivated, positive people. Connecting over shared interests in a cause while helping others is an excellent way to meet new friends. When you volunteer, your circle of friends can broaden quickly.
- New opportunities. There are 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 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. In today’s world of never-ending, instant—and often disheartening—news, volunteering presents a proactive way of doing something to make the world a better place. Even the smallest gestures make a difference.
- 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.
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 an internet search away, or SeniorCare’s RSVP Volunteer Program can help you find the best fit for volunteering. You can call RSVP at 978-281-1750 or visit www.thevolunteerlink.org.
A big thank you to all volunteers! You make the world a better place.