|Message from the President - Q3 2014|
It's a pretty common mistake to think of volunteering as just something nice that people can do. Sure, it may make them feel great about helping or contribution to a greater cause, but what impact does it really have? Think of about these two topics, “Getting things done” and “Impact of no volunteers.”Volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and wellbeing of communities worldwide. Think of all the ways that volunteers make a difference in day-to-day life:
Volunteers deliver critical services—from serving as volunteer fire fighters or participating in search and rescue, to delivering meals to homebound seniors or homeless youth, to manning the phone lines at domestic violence and sexual assault centers.
- Volunteers help to keep our neighborhoods, streets, parks, rivers, green spaces, and water clean and safe for everyone.
- Volunteers tutor, teach, mentor, coach, and support young people with everything from math homework to dealing with personal crises to football and soccer tourneys.
- Volunteers walk dogs, pet cats, clean cages, help with adoptions and feedings, and contribute veterinary expertise to organizations like animal shelters and wildlife rehabilitation centers.
- Volunteers build houses and schools, dig wells, and repair infrastructure around the globe.
At ACHE of Central Florida (ACHECF), volunteers are critical to delivering our promise of driving awareness, maintaining vitality, and increasing visibility of our value to members. Frankly, the chapter has over 40 volunteers! Do you get the idea; volunteers make an impact… consider this?
Another way to measure the impact of volunteers is to take a look at statistics like hours served and the economic value of volunteer time. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, 61.8 million individuals in the United States contributed 8 billion hours of volunteerism in 2008 alone. What’s the economic value of all this volunteering? The same source states, $162 billion U.S. dollars. To put that in context, this is roughly equivalent to the 2008 Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Egypt. And that's just U.S. volunteers.
Volunteers are critical partners of and participants in societies throughout the world. Whether actively giving their time through a formal or ad hoc organizations, or taking part in what is sometimes called "informal volunteering" where citizens voluntarily participate in community activities or provide personal care for family, friends, neighbors, or even strangers as part of accepted cultural norms of giving and reciprocity.
So what’s the impact of no volunteers - Finally, here is one more way to visualize the impact of volunteers. What would our cities, towns, state/provincial parks, schools, places of worship, libraries or professional associations look like? What basic needs would go unmet? What opportunities to grow, learn, and thrive as a society would be lost? The truth is you likely cross paths with a volunteer at least once if not several times a day, no matter where you are in the world.
In the spirit of appreciation and recognition for all ACHECF volunteers, please take a moment and share a smile and/or a handshake to our volunteers at our next ACHECF event on September 4 at 5:45pm at University of Central Florida for “Early Careerist” program - we’ll be honoring volunteers!
Look forward to seeing you there!
William P. Perno
Chief Volunteer (a.k.a. ACHECF President)