VolunteerToday.com ~~ The Electronic Gazette for Volunteerism
I had the privilege recently to be the keynote speaker for a group of senior citizen volunteers during their annual volunteer recognition event. As always, I gain more from these events than I give because I leave there with my own spirit renewed! Many of you have asked me for resources for speeches, thoughtful quotes, and advice on what to say to volunteers to communicate just how much they are valued. This month Im reprinting my speech to stimulate your own thinking. Feel free to use any part of it you wish for your own event. I only ask that you credit Ask Connie at www.VolunteerToday.com if you reprint it. My thanks to Hugh Michael Brown for his assistance, and my best wishes to each of you during National Volunteer Week, April 27 to May 3!
Volunteerism is deeply rooted in our countrys history and culture.
From the time of early settlers when they had a barn raising, neighbors
came from near and far to help. The men built the barn and the women provided
the food. Times have changed and so has volunteerism, but not the spirit
of it. We dont exactly raise barns anymore and just as many women
would be building them if we did, but we do still make a dramatic difference
in our communities and in our quality of life through volunteering.
If we took a satellite photo of your organization today youd see
that your work is part of a much greater movement in todays society.
44% of all American adults volunteer today, which is 83.9 million Americans.
This represents the equivalent of more than 9 million full-time employees!
But in addition to the statistics about volunteering there is the more
important issue of increased quality of life. I understand that through
your efforts every year:
These are just a few of the many ways in which you maintain the vitality
and closeness of your community. Simply put, you care and youre
willing to give to others. It is important for us to be connected to our
community and to enjoy that sense of belonging. Just a couple of months
ago I moved from a high-rise condo in Washington to a little house in
a charming old neighborhood in Bethesda. Within the first week my neighbors
on either side of the house had introduced themselves and offer any help
I needed settling in. Then we had that blizzard on Presidents Day
weekend and after it stopped snowing all I could see out my window was
a sea of white. Well, I bundled myself up and armed with my shovel I decided
to see if I could find my car. I wasnt alone! Before long neighbors
all around me had come out with the same idea. It turned into a huge block
party! I got acquainted with more neighbors and one of them even helped
me shovel out my car. Thats people giving to other people!
But volunteers like you are a microcosm of a larger America. You are
diverse, with differing backgrounds, differing experiences, and differing
interests. You are a resilient, like-minded group of people a steadfast
group who are determined to give whatever you can for as long as you are
able. This is the true spirit of volunteerism!
Within each of us is a powerful design for living. Each of you demonstrates
that every single day by the many ways in which you enrich your life and
the lives of others. I hope that each of you will continue to seek the
silver of lining in those clouds. For truly, in doing so lies your strength!
Im going to close with one of my favorite tributes to special volunteers
like you. Its called:
Thank you for continuing to maintain the vitality of your community and for enriching the lives of others through your work. And, personally I want to thank you for continuing the important tradition of volunteerism in our society. You are a role model for all of us and I tip my hat to each of you!
Hint: check out http://poetry.com/ for more resources on poems, inspirational sayings and more.
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