Celebrating People in Action | PostIndependent.com

Celebrating People in Action

Patty Schaffner
Post Independent
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado

This article is written in honor of all theYouthZone Adult and Teen Pal Mentors with which I’ve had the privilege to work in the last 19 years. You each are a treasure and have made my job fulfilling and downright FUN!

The theme for the 2009 National Volunteer Week was “Celebrating People in Action.” The theme captured the meaning behind this signature week by honoring the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and helping others in their communities. National Volunteer Week was started in 1974 when President Nixon signed an executive order to establish a week out of the year to celebrate volunteers and all that they do.

We all feel the effects of the economic downturn and many feel confused about the “stimulus” project but one thing is certain and that is that we ALL have something of ourselves to give. Volunteering has many benefits, not only for the benefactor but for the volunteer as well. The Energize Inc. website states that “volunteers report that volunteering helped them with their interpersonal skills, such as understanding people better, motivating others, and dealing with difficult situations.” It also cites positive statistics in favor of volunteers finding future jobs. The Corporation for National and Community Services Study has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: Those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer.

Former President Bush shared these thoughts in 2008: “Through volunteer work, Americans can demonstrate the kindness and generosity that makes our nation great. Mentoring a child, teaching someone to read, visiting the elderly, feeding the hungry and finding shelter for the homeless are all examples of how Americans can, and do aid those in need. Americans are volunteering in record numbers. Each year, millions of Americans volunteer, and more of our fellow citizens are discovering that the pursuit of happiness leads to the path of service. The cumulative effort of the love and compassion from our Nation’s volunteers will help secure a more hopeful future for all our citizens.”

I find great joy and inspiration in coordinating volunteers in the YouthZone Pals Mentoring Program and know of many other fine organizations that are continually seeking people to give of themselves in our communities. I also find great joy in my volunteer endeavors and would be remiss to not encourage you to do the same.

In celebration of people taking action, what action might you take? Will you thank a volunteer who has helped you or your family? Might you sign up to be volunteer as an individual or a family? Your community awaits your service and the skill-set that only YOU can give to it. Celebrate volunteerism by becoming a person of action!

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