Making a Difference Through Volunteering

By Alice Wanamaker, CCEDC Member Relations Director

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”  Dr. Seuss, The Lorax 

Did Dr. Seuss know the power of his statement or the impact it would have on our lives? Probably not, but let’s stop and think for a moment about the truth in what he said, “Someone like you, caring a whole awful lot.” Who are these people, and what are they caring about? 

We all have projects, organizations and people we care about. And the things I care about are not necessarily the same things you care about. That is exactly what makes the world of being a volunteer fun, exciting and successful. Volunteering to work the pierogi stand at the summer festival gets you out among like-minded individuals. If everyone volunteered for four events a year, they would be exposed to hundreds of people who enjoy the same things as they do and could meet new friends, or gain new business clients. 

While I may spend my Saturday morning helping at the local music festival, someone else is serving breakfast at the VA and another neighbor is helping Tommy out with his Science project. Whatever the project is that you are involved in; volunteering your time has a positive impact on the community and the local economy. Volunteers are often the ones behind the scenes making beloved community events…what they are – great fun for everyone to enjoy! And, if it weren’t for the tutors going that extra mile, big things may never happen in Tommy’s life. 

Volunteers are our firefighters, our community watch leaders and members, our crossing guards and service group members, such as: the Lions Club, the Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce, just to name a few. These folks take time away from their families, some volunteer with their families to meet people in their community and work with them for the common good. They ensure our safety and are there for us in times of tragedy when we most need them. 

Sports coaches and referees are volunteers that help shape our children at a young age. Do you remember your baseball coach from when you played at the local ball field? Volunteers conduct fundraisers, install signs and upgrade parks, hosts carnivals, fairs and festivals. They erect gazebos and pavilions, help fix historical markers, run the historical societies and libraries and even build homes.

So what is it all worth? I say volunteers are priceless but according to Independent Sector, each volunteer hour is worth $24.69.  “Currently, 63 million Americans volunteer about 8 billion hours of their time and talent to improve people’s lives and the natural world. With the new value of volunteer time, these Americans are contributing approximately $197.5 billion to our nation” a release from earlier this year read. 

The bottom line is when you volunteer for organizations and causes you care a whole awful lot about, YOU ARE MAKING a difference in the lives of so many of your friends, neighbors and colleagues and you can’t put a price on that!