The United States’ Independence Day is this month. Although the Fourth of July occurs at the beginning of the month, the fireworks, barbecues, and customary color scheme of red, white, and blue appear throughout all 31 days. With these recurring themes it’s hard to ignore the nation’s sense of patriotism in July. Patriotism is showing strong devotion and support of one’s country. It can be expressed in a number of ways. If you would like to participate in showing your patriotism, let me tell you why volunteering is the best way to do so. (Photo: stephanie-mccabe-unsplash)
Volunteering is a way to make an impact in someone else’s life. Whether you donate your time to lessen economic stress, promote healthy futures, educate others, provide resources for underserved communities, or contribute to any other noble cause, you are helping someone in need. This is why nonprofit organizations exist—to help your fellow human. To support one’s country is to support the people who reside there. I’m sure we would all like to live in a nation that values each person and gives them a chance to succeed.
Barbara Stewart, CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, eloquently encapsulated volunteerism’s effect on Americans. She expressed, “The fabric of our nation is strengthened by the service of its volunteers. When we stand side-by-side to help others, our differences fade away and we learn that Americans have more in common than we realize.”
Your service may very well trigger a domino effect and inspire others to serve. Social learning theory states that “people learn through observing others’ behavior, attitudes, and outcomes of those behaviors.” If someone recognizes the positive impact giving back has had on you, they’re more likely to give back themselves.
Volunteering dates back to the start of our country. One of the first records of an established volunteer organization was Benjamin Franklin’s volunteer firehouse developed in 1736. During the Civil War, female groups such as Ladies’ Aid Societies provided supplies to soldiers on and off the battlefield to aid in healing wounds and maintaining proper sanitation. During WWII, thousands of Americans banded together to collect supplies needed for the war, tended to soldiers’ wounds, and entertained them while they were on leave. Volunteerism is ingrained in our nation’s history.
Today volunteerism is growing. According to The Corporation for National & Community Service, 77.34 million adults volunteered through an organization in 2018. Out of those 77.34 million, their donated hours add to an estimated $167 billion in economic value. Volunteerism is helping to propel our country financially.
So, while you celebrate during the month of July, find a way to channel the patriotism you feel into action. Research the causes that are important to you and find a way to contribute. A great starting place can be on an organization’s website; in fact, most organizations will have a volunteer page that connects you to current service opportunities. Nevada Volunteers has a site where Nevadans can search causes that interest them and find nonprofits near by. Nevada Volunteers also funds AmeriCorps programs in the state.
AmeriCorps is a national volunteer program supported by the U.S. federal government. If you would like to include formal volunteering experience on your resume, you can serve full time through AmeriCorps or PeaceCorps, both have a multitude of different sectors. You can also choose to informally volunteer your time by picking up trash around your local outdoor spaces. Still having trouble figuring out where to donate your time? Here’s another comprehensive list of nonprofits in Reno, Nevada: https://web.thechambernv.org/nonprofit-organization.
Happy Fourth of July!