World Wonder

Inspiring Global Citizenship

Something to be proud of!

on September 19, 2014

Keep Calm and Volunteer

I was recently inspired by the 20th Anniversary of Americorps. My second job out of college was as an Americorps volunteer. My first job was teaching English in Spain, more on that later! During my Americorps tenure I worked with the Marcus Foster Educational Institute building and implementing community and school based support programs. I can remember being most proud of the work I did coordinating peer tutoring, volunteers and family outreach in the Oakland public schools. My year of service was a time of amazing growth for me personally and professionally. No education can provide such profound learning and growth than being put out in the field, building your skills, finding resources, collaborating with others and trying new things to solve complex issues. During this time I was paid a monthly stipend and at the end of my service I was given an educational award for continuing education. The rewards were numerous!

Here in the United States I think we have something to be very proud of, something that represents democracy at its best. And that’s the investment we have made in volunteers and the emphasis we make as a society about the importance of volunteering. Volunteering represents active citizenship, community building and team work at its best!  Americorps, Teach for America, Vista, and the Peace Corps are all examples of where our national government has made volunteering a priority. I think we can be extremely proud of this and share with the world our lessons learned and best practices.

Volunteering not only feels good, but it many cases new skills can be developed and new connections can be made. Volunteering helps strengthen communities, build new supports for under-served communities and leverages the strength and energy of individuals to work as a team. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, “Over the past two decades we have also seen a growing body of research that indicates volunteering provides individual health benefits in addition to social ones. This research, which is presented in a report titled The Health Benefits of Volunteering: A Review of Recent Research, has established a strong relationship between volunteering and health: those who volunteer have lower mortality rates, greater functional ability, and lower rates of depression later in life than those who do not volunteer. Comparisons of the health benefits of volunteering for different age groups have also shown that older volunteers are the most likely to receive greater benefits from volunteering, whether because they are more likely to face higher incidence of illness or because volunteering provides them with physical and social activity and a sense of purpose at a time when their social roles are changing.”

Now is a great time to encourage volunteerism in your community whether it be in your local school, shelter, community center, library or assisted living facility. And for those looking to go beyond their borders, you can always consider an international opportunity. Below are resources to share and to help inspire others!

Where to find national and international volunteer opportunities:

Ideas or resources to share?  Contact World Wonder today!

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2 responses to “Something to be proud of!

  1. Anna says:

    another program is http://www.globalvolunteers.org/ (I did a stint both with them and CCS), and this is a great site that lets you search across many different programs by region, type of volunteer work, etc: http://www.volunteerinternational.org/

    Like

  2. Fantastic resources Anna! Thanks. I’ll add them to the list.

    Like

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