“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” – Muhammad Ali
More than a one-two punch of rhetoric, this quote from “The People’s Champion” is a perfect call to action for volunteerism, which is a cornerstone strategy in our fight for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. And it’s especially timely as we prepare to celebrate National Volunteer Week (held from April 15-21), and recognize and support the thousands of volunteer projects and special events being planned throughout the U.S. and Canada.
This National Volunteer Week, you can make a mark by working with United Way or engaging agencies in your community. But National Volunteer Week isn’t the only time you can make a lasting difference locally. Volunteers are making important contributions year-round, and here are just some of the ways they’re moving the needle in their own communities:
- Volunteers are giving back at work, too. Community impact is also occurring during work hours, with more and more companies engaging their employees in volunteering. In fact, volunteering has become an integral part of many companies’ social responsibility efforts. Having logged the most time volunteering with United Way in the past year, employees from UPS, Coca-Cola, Shell, LOOP and Folgers will be recognized by United Way of Southeastern Louisiana during a special volunteer appreciation night at an upcoming New Orleans Baby Cakes baseball game.
- Volunteers are contributing in unique ways. From conducting home renovations to assembling literacy and hygiene kits, volunteers are giving back in innovative ways—and United Way is taking notice. United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and United Way of Broome County are recognizing contributions online and in person; United Way of Miami-Dade and United Way of Greater Greensboro are hosting volunteer projects for teams and individuals next week; and United Way of Larimer County is thanking volunteers throughout April with a range of festivities.
- Volunteers are agents of change. Not only are volunteers making a mark in their own communities, they’re inspiring people to follow in their footsteps. When Ken Johnston volunteered with colleagues to organize donated goods for flood victims, he was moved by a note nestled in one of the care packages he unpacked. When you read his story, I think you’ll agree: Volunteers are doing more than just strengthening communities—they’re inspiring others to do the same..
Next week, countless individuals will give back so others can get ahead. Looking to create a positive impact in your own backyard? This National Volunteer Week, contact your local United Way to discover volunteer opportunities and hear inspiring stories from your neighbors. When you’re out in the field making a difference, don’t forget to include #NVW and #LIVEUNITED in your social media messaging so we can recognize your work!