National Volunteer Week (April 23-April 29) is an opportunity to honor people who volunteer. With AAHAM both at our local chapters and the national organization, the opportunities to volunteer are innumerable.
Our members who give their time are quite remarkable. Their stories serve to inspire others to find ways to contribute time and energy to local, national and global causes. In addition to volunteering with AAHAM; many of our members find the time and energy to raise their hand and volunteer in other capacities as well. They may be found at their children’s school, church, community and other organizations giving back.
The roots of National Volunteer Week date back in Canada around the time of the Second World War when women were celebrated for their part in supporting the war effort on the home front. In the US, President Richard Nixon established National Volunteer Week in 1974. It’s been a tradition that the current president issues a special proclamation in honor of volunteers.
A recent article in the New York Times quoted Linda Fried, a founder of the Experience Corps who is also dean of Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, “People need purpose. They need a reason to get up in the morning.” And volunteering gives them that.
Research indicates volunteering offers a multitude of benefits. Dedicating time as a volunteer helps in making friends, both personal and professional, expanding one’s personal network and boosting social skills. Even the smallest tasks can make a difference to the lives of people, animals and organizations.
Volunteering in AAHAM takes many different forms. For example, within our local chapters there are those who contribute by serving as officers on the chapter board of directors or chairing various committees. From welcoming, publications, education, and more; volunteering means monthly meetings and conference calls that members contribute time, energy and suggestions. Volunteering in AAHAM helps people make new friends and build personal connections while sharing a common interest and having fun. It’s good for both the mind and body. It’s found that volunteering increases self-confidence, self-esteem and life satisfaction. When you’re doing something for others and the community, it provides a natural sense of accomplishment. Your role as a volunteer can also give you a sense of pride and identity. And the better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to have a positive view of your life and future goals.
People can find new meaning and purpose in their lives by helping others. Whatever your age or life situation, volunteering can help take your mind off your own worries, keep you mentally stimulated and add more zest to your life. Studies also indicate that those who volunteer have a lower mortality rate than those who do not.
I hope when you raise your hand and offer to help; you find the inner satisfaction in knowing you are helping your AAHAM as well as yourself.