Celebrate 2021 National Volunteer Week
Out of the darkness, we enter the light. As our country emerges from a nightmarish year of the Covid pandemic, Spring emerges. The United States and the world see a resurgence of Covid-19 vaccines make it into arms. Many refuse to reflect on the carnage of the past 13 months, never mind celebrate anything good that came from it. However, there are positives to celebrate. This was a banner year for volunteers giving their time and talent. Many who were unemployed saw the opportunity to give back. The third week of April is National Volunteer Week, and it is worth celebrating all the volunteers who stepped up these past twelve months!
Millions are Here to Help
A Presidential Proclamation in 1974 established National Volunteer Week as a way to recognize those that devote their time and energy to causes they care about deeply. A 2018 study commissioned by the federal agency Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) found that over 77 million adults volunteered through various organizations. This work equates to nearly 6.9 billion volunteer hours. The CNCS study also found that millions of others engage in “informal volunteering” helping friends and family in need.
At Here to Serve, we honor the volunteers who worked for our mission to support children with cancer and their families, especially this past year. In the decade since Katie Quintas and her husband Silvio formed the organization, over 2500 people have volunteered to help our goal! This year we had more organizational volunteers than all previous nine years. We are grateful for volunteers’ hearts to help others and their generous gift of time and talent.
Volunteering in a Time of Crisis
In 2020, while most of the world was in quarantine, many nonprofit organizations and hospitals had to limit the number of volunteers or temporarily suspend volunteer operations due to safety concerns. However, volunteers found new ways to help, many under the guise of a mask and PE gear. Volunteer strength was there, and it continues. At its core, we are a nation that comes together during a crisis. This year some of our prohibited volunteer activities will come back, including visiting sick children, making meals for others, bringing respite to families, and even climbing a steep hillside looking for a missing person. The common thread is the desire to help others in need.
Benefits of Volunteering
There is no doubt that volunteers make a difference in the lives of those they assist, but a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic found that volunteering can also benefit the health of the helper. Researchers found the following positive benefits of volunteering:
- Decreases the risk of depression.
- Provides a sense of purpose and ability to fine-tune and learn new skills.
- Helps people stay physically and mentally active.
- Aids in the reduction of stress
- Opportunity to meet new people and develop friendships.
Volunteer Opportunities at Here to Serve
As the days get longer and the sun shines brighter, springtime offers a sense of rejuvenation. We emerge from the pandemic and find there are more things to be optimistic about in the world. Hope can motivate us to be more active. There are countless ways to help those in need. At Here to Serve, we know that pediatric cancer never takes a break. The call for volunteers occurs every day of the year. As we stop to take a moment to honor those who selflessly help our families in crisis and our organization thrive, we also want to share a list of our current volunteer opportunities. Your talent and experience can support our organization and aid in providing free services to our families. This assistance can ease parents’ burden, so their complete focus is helping fight their child’s cancer.
By Chris Smith