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Volunteering adds to our lives

G.M. "Casey" Cameron
Hemet, Calif.

Volunteering provides a valuable service to our nation, to our community and to our individual families. Without the unselfish generosity of our many volunteers, many activities beneficial to everyday life would not exist or at least at the level that they do today.

Volunteering takes many forms from nationally sponsored charities such as Red Cross, Salvation Army or Peace Corps to local charities such as hospice, museum docents and many more. A volunteer position is available to anyone who has an interest in serving others – generally to serve those less fortunate than themselves. Not only are elderly retirees needed but often young people and stay-at-home spouses can serve and make a worthy contribution. Community service hours are now being required for entry into many colleges and universities or if not required, are an asset in obtaining entrance to these institutions.

There are many reasons why people volunteer. Young people may volunteer for point credits and for work programs. Important volunteer groups include Boy Scouts striking for Eagle Scout and Aides who provide a worthy service in hospitals assisted care facilities and retirement homes. Some of the youth programs are required but others are strictly voluntary in nature. Adult volunteer positions are usually staffed by adults who are not required to perform services but rather by individuals who volunteer for the satisfaction of helping others. Adults that are widowed without much family support often find new and lasting friends by volunteering. Or when moved into a new town, state or even local location, volunteering is a great way to meet new friends. Another valuable reason for volunteering in this day of a “tight” job market, is to volunteer at a business where you would like to be hired. If they see that you are a good worker, they might very well hire you as a part-time or full-time employee.

So what does it take to be a good volunteer? Free time is essential although we often find that those who are the busiest, make great volunteers. They seem to find time somehow. Special talents are a bonus although not absolutely necessary. Most organizations that utilize volunteers provide adequate training programs for the prospective volunteer. Many also provide regular recurrent training as well. A supportive spouse can also be an asset as volunteer participation sometimes makes a claim on others time. But most important of all is the desire to serve others.

Almost all organizations are suffering from lack of volunteers today. Workers (prospective volunteers) are retiring at a later age and even then some use this newly acquired free time for part-time employment or to pursue another line of endeavor. Also, more organizations are utilizing volunteers where they previously used paid employees. And organizations are forming that are staffed primarily with volunteers.

Volunteers often say that they receive as much benefit as those who they serve. Generally, volunteers agree that volunteering is a rewarding experience.

So, if you can spare any time on a somewhat regular basis, seriously consider volunteering. It will be most sincerely appreciated by those who you serve.


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