Appreciating Volunteers

Most of my work is behind the scenes, with a focus on the overall structure of a volunteer program.  But National Volunteer Week is the time to focus on not the programs or the clients, but the volunteers.  What amazing work are they doing?  What makes the experience worthwhile to them?

Volunteer Maryland encourages us to build time into our weekly schedule to do community service, and I love the insights that this allows me.  This week I got to experienced all the perks of being a volunteer with the Maryland SPCA during National Volunteer Week.  As one of the wonderful tokens of appreciation, each volunteer received a letter of thanks from Senator Barbara Mikulski.  There was a line in there that just stuck with me:

When Alexis De Tocqueville wrote about America, he said “America is great because she is good.”  He noticed the spirit of of volunteerism, neighbor-helping-neighbor, habits of the heart that bred habits of humanity

When we celebrate volunteers, we should not only be celebrating the wonderful work that they accomplish, but also celebrating how volunteers contribute to building “habits of humanity”.

As we come to conclusion of National Volunteer Week, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the importance of volunteers, and to thank everyone for their hard work. Without volunteers, all our ideas would remain just that – ideas. It’s their passion, enthusiasm, and devotion to sharing their good fortune with others that allows us to make our ideas into reality and bring goodness to the world around us.

America is great, because she is good. Her people are caring, giving individuals. And we should make sure they know just how much we appreciate that.

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