As a new year approaches and attention turns toward ways to make personal improvement, consider volunteering.
Even a few hours can help to make a world of difference for someone else. There is no satisfaction that can compare to knowing a simple, kind act can raise the spirits of another or give someone hope where there was none before.
Washington residents have a history of stepping up. Each year, about 1.6 million volunteers — about 30 percent of the state — contribute nearly 200 million hours of service to nonprofits and charities. If those organizations were to pay for those services, it would cost more than $5 billion. Without the dedication of volunteers who provide their time and talent, many critical services would never be available to those in need.
According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, about 63 million Americans — roughly one in four adults — volunteer each year, contributing 7.8 billion hours of service worth an estimated $184 billion.
A growing body of research indicates that communities with higher levels of civic engagement have been linked to improved health outcomes for aging adults, lower crime rates, lower rates of mental illness, improved academic outcomes for children, improved employment outcomes for job seekers, and greater community resilience following a disaster.
There are so many ways to make a difference for those in need, not only during the holiday season, but throughout the year. Let’s volunteer!