In the United States, volunteerism is instilled at a young age. In many parts of the country, it is the cornerstone of summer vacation or woven into after school programs. Most organizations in small towns, rural counties and the largest cities would not function without volunteers. In some families, the baton of volunteerism is handed down generation after generation.
Rural fire and ambulance departments remain staffed due to the efforts of volunteers. The underprivileged receive much needed medical care thanks to volunteers. Long overdue repairs and upgrades are made to a senior women’s home thanks to an organization’s annual call for donations and skilled workers. A woman answers a call on a suicide hotline because she cared enough to give up a few hours to train and listen to someone desperate and alone. A team sets up tables at a soup kitchen every week. Another group delivers meals to men and women who can no longer cook for themselves. Boys and girls sell ice cream sandwiches during a fair to raise money for a homeless shelter.
Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. They pick a cause and make a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes the difference a drop in the bucket. Other times it creates a tidal wave of change. From the anonymous volunteers who donate their resources to those whose efforts are part of larger national organizations like 4-H, Boy and Girl Scouts of America, or American Red Cross or a local grassroots group, their missions provide valuable support to communities in times of need.
HOW TO OBSERVE
Thank a volunteer. Volunteer! Many volunteers will tell you it is a rewarding experience. You don’t have to have a ton of time. Do you have a special talent or skill that may benefit a charity or organization? Offer your services or ask how you can be of help. Use #NationalVolunteerMonth to share on social media.
April became National Volunteer Month as part of President George H. W. Bush’s 1000 Points of Light campaign in 1991.