|Posted by Joe B. Nester on June 3, 2014 at 11:20 AM|
Every morning in South Carolina and across the nation an army of people get up and get ready for work with no expectation of being paid for their efforts. What could possibly motivate a person to share their time and talents solely for the benefit of others? If you ask that question of a volunteer you will often hear words like gratifying, fulfilling and sense of purpose. A person that has never volunteered before may have a tough time understanding those concepts.
Ralph Waldo Emerson captured the essence of volunteerism in one sentence when he said
"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no person can sincerely try to help another without helping him or herself."
The number of volunteers that give freely of their time in South Carolina and the nation are impressive. Volunteerism in the US is alive and well and it may surprise you that the GenXers have the highest volunteer rate of any other population according to a report in Corporation for National & Community Service.
The state of South Carolina ranked 34th in the nation in 2012 for volunteer hours worked. During that same year just over one quarter of South Carolina’s population volunteered with an average of 36.5 hours worked. The monetary value of those volunteer hours was 3 billion dollars.
There are unlimited opportunities for volunteers to get involved with our senior population and it is a place where the impact can be significant. Many seniors in independent living, assisted living and skilled nursing settings do not have family members that visit on a regular basis. It may be that the family lives out of town, the resident may have out-lived their family or the family simply does not make it a priority. The volunteer often fills that gap and invariably bonds with the residents when helping call bingo, leading a music ministry or just spending one on one time with a resident.
Prospective volunteers sometimes have doubts about whether they have anything of value to offer. Volunteer coordinators that conduct orientations and trainings for volunteers find that doubt is a common theme. The reality is that every person has a skill or talent that they can share and usually it is found in whatever activities the prospective volunteer loves to do. Ultimately it is not the activity that is important, it is the quality time the volunteer spends with the group or person.
If you have ever considered volunteering it might be a good time to take the plunge. There are talents and skills waiting to be put to use, untold stories waiting to be told and life-long friendships waiting to be formed.