Happy National Volunteer Week
|April 16, 2015||Posted by M. P. under Health, Philanthropy, Research||
This week is National Volunteer Week, a program that began in 1974 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. In 2013, 62.6 million volunteers averaged 32 hours of service each in the United States, with fundraising (25 percent) and the collection/distribution of food (24 percent) ranking as the most popular volunteer activities.
Besides benefiting the organizations and communities receiving these free services – that range from general labor, to tutoring and mentoring youth – volunteerism brings positive outcomes to those who serve. Research from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) indicated a link between volunteering and securing employment, finding that unemployed volunteers were 27 percent more likely to find work than their peers who do not volunteer. A study by UnitedHealth Group and Optum Institute found that participants who volunteered in the last year reported better moods, better health and lower stress levels.
Pennsylvania ranks 26th among the 50 states and Washington, DC with nearly 27 percent of residents volunteering in 2013 – providing over $7.5 billion in service. Just under 70 percent of residents are involved in “informal volunteering,” such as doing errands for neighbors or watching children for a friend. In Pittsburgh during the same time period, 27.7 percent of residents volunteered, putting Pittsburgh in the top half (19th) of the largest 51 Metropolitan Statistical Areas.
Haven’t been able to volunteer this week but looking for an opportunity to get involved? Check out these links to review the volunteer needs at The Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, The United Way of Allegheny County, The Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, and Catholic Charities. A few months ago, Kidsburgh posted an article on places to volunteer as a family. It can be as easy as calling a favorite nonprofit or your local civic organization and asking if they need any help with spring cleanup or an upcoming event. Volunteering is GOOD for you!