Volunteers - Building Stronger Communities One Hour at A Time
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 12, 2016
Photo Caption: Volunteer, Kathy Stine, teaches a 4-H cooking class in Jerseyville. Kathy is a retired teacher, and being true to her profession, the kids had a refresher on fractions. Her mother, Evelyn Stumpe, gave a flour sifting demonstration, and talked about what 4-H was like for her as a young girl.
As society looks for solutions to community challenges to promote economic growth and improve quality of life, an important resource that cannot be over looked is the volunteer. Whether it is volunteering for a local school, community organizations, church, local hospital or with the volunteer fire department, all have a major impact on our communities and our way of life. The billions of hours donated annually by our nations volunteers are essential to building stronger communities and meeting the many challenges we face today. Their economic impact is undeniable.
What economic impact do volunteers have?
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), in 2014:
62.6 million individuals in the United States contributed 7.7 billion hours of volunteerism which equals $173 billion U.S. dollars. In Illinois, CNCS estimates that over 15,000 people volunteer with programs like AmeriCorps, Senior Corps, and The Social Innovation Fund. This number does not account for volunteers locally.
While volunteerism adds a great deal of economic value to a community, the heart of volunteering is about giving back to others and working together to solve common problems. It’s about creating better, more meaningful lives, not just for those who benefit from the volunteer, but for the volunteer themselves.
What are the personal benefits of volunteering?
The Helping Out survey of volunteers (2007) identified many benefits of volunteering such as satisfaction, a sense of achievement, meeting new people, confidence building, stress reduction, improved health, experiencing new things and learning new skills.
Did you know? Over 25,000 volunteers assist 680 Extension employees in providing educational programs. It is with their help that Extension can reach over 1.5 million annual contacts involving youth and adults in rural and urban communities across the State of Illinois.
10 Reasons to Become a Volunteer:
1. It makes your community a better place to live
2. You meet new people and make friends
3. Allows you to give back to society
4. Makes local organizations stronger and more effective
5. Helps solve problems within a community
6. Allows you to share your knowledge and experience
7. Volunteering as a family allows you to spend quality time
8. Helps young people gain valuable skills
9. It can make your life more meaningful and fulfilling
10. It’s the right thing to do and it’s FUN!
Sources: * Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) (2014). Volunteering and Civic Life in America. http://www.nationalservice.gov * Independent Sector Report (2103). Value of Volunteer Time. http://www.independentsector.org/volunteer_time * What is Cooperative Extension, University of Illinois Extension fact sheet (2014). * Program Highlights - 2014 for Agriculture and natural Resources, University of Illinois Extension (2014). * Helping Out: A national survey of volunteering & charitable giving (2007). Low, N., Butt, S., Ellis Paine, A.., & J. Smith
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