Volunteerism. It’s what this nation was founded on. Colonists gathered together to harvest crops and erect buildings. They pitched in to fight fires. In 1736, Benjamin Franklin started the first volunteer fire station. And volunteerism has only continued since.
Approximately 62.6 million people volunteered in some capacity between September 2014 and September 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
One of the things I like most about volunteering is the pride I see other volunteers take in their duties. They don’t have to give of their time and effort; they choose to contribute. That ho-hum “I’m only doing this because I have to” attitude is absent. There’s no paycheck to look forward to and no reward at the end — other than knowing they’re helping to make the lives of others better. Volunteerism is truly a gift of the heart.
Someone needs you.
Many organizations are in need of volunteers. Churches and nonprofit organizations rely on unpaid workers to do much of the work that needs to be accomplished in order to fulfill their missions.
For years, my husband and I served at our church in various capacities. As our five kids grew older, we focused more of our time and efforts on providing a safe, fun place for them and their friends to hang out, feeding them, and supporting them. And then life experiences led us to even other service efforts.
Today, we volunteer at the Commemorative Air Force, helping to keep alive the memories of those who served in the bomber planes in World War II. My husband has been volunteering as a mechanic there for more than a year. I joined just recently and am enjoying being part of this volunteer effort with him.
We’ve also helped pack boxes of food for Feed My Starving Children. And we’ve raised money for and walked in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer annual walk put on by the American Cancer Society.
These are only a handful of organizations that depend on volunteers. If you’re looking for a place where you can contribute, VolunteerMatch.org is a good starting point. You enter information about yourself, and the site finds organization matches in your geographical area that fit your likes.
You don’t have to give much of your time. But I guarantee you, you’ll be glad you gave what you did. So, where will you volunteer?
Christian, wife, mother of 5, breast cancer survivor, marathon finisher, writer and editor, author of "Help! I'm a Science Project"