Why is communtiy service important?

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, but what impact does it really have?

Getting things done

Volunteers have an enormous impact on the health and well-being of Columbia area community. Think of all the ways that volunteers make a difference in day-to-day life:

  • 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.

By the numbers

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.

The economic value of all this volunteering? $162 billion U.S. dollars.

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.

The impact of no volunteers

Finally, here’s one more way to visualize the impact of volunteers. Try this little exercise: imagine if one day, all volunteers simply didn’t show up.

What would our city, state park, schools, places of worship, and libraries 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.