As we look in the dictionary, we find that the word volunteer is a noun meaning a person who performs a service willingly and without pay. After speaking with many volunteers, I find that word means rewarding!
It means an opportunity to serve others, usually disabled, elderly or to serve the community that you live in. For a nonprofit organization, it is priceless. A lot of services would not be possible without the assistance of volunteers. The world is not a perfect place, and many people, animals, places and communities need help.
Professionals try to meet the needs of everyone, but it is impossible without these valuable volunteers. We volunteer to make a difference. The world can sometimes be a cruel and sad place. Together, we can make it better, healthier and happier. If assisting others is not reason enough for you to be become a volunteer, you need to realize it is not only good for others, it is good for you!
You can make new friends, gain new and important skills, make connections to lead you to a new or better job, build confidence and self-esteem; you can see more of the world and your community. You can feel that you are needed. It relieves stress and boredom for yourself and others, but most of all, you feel that you have been a part of something.
When discussing volunteering, my co-workers used words such as educating, love, teaching experience, useful, eager, caring, giving, generous, beneficial, humanitarian, free-hearted. They had fond memories of helping others themselves or of being helped by someone and of friendships locally and abroad. But most of all, it is a service that is very needed in our communities.
It looks like being a volunteer gives as much to you as it does to others. That, my friend, is the secret of volunteering! People who become volunteers usually lead richer, happier and more satisfying lives than those who don't volunteer. Some organizations cannot go on without their volunteers.
We have worked with Global Volunteers, Boy Scouts, church groups, Appalachia Service Project and many other groups this year and the area has greatly benefited. If you have been a volunteer for the Southern Appalachian Labor School, please accept our greatest gratitude. If you have not been a volunteer with us, please consider it, I guarantee that the experience will be as rewarding for you as it will be for us. To learn more about volunteering in the Oak Hill area, contact the SALS, Historic Oak Hill School at 304-640-3792. In the Beard's Fork area, contact 304-779-2772. You can also reach John David at 304-465-9732 to volunteer in either area.
Painter is a coordinator for Southern Appalachian Labor School in Kincaid.