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How vital is volunteering?

Updated on May 2, 2016

There are so many excuses that I hear from people who can't find the time to volunteer and rarely do I find the excuses acceptable. Of course, everyone has the right to spend their time how they see fit. But how many people really understand how vital volunteering is for a society to function efficiently. The most vulnerable members of society would be in great peril if it wasn't for the selflessness of volunteers. Volunteers assist in helping the poor, the youth, the elderly, the injured, the mentally ill, the mentally disabled, the physically disabled, and the environment.

In 2008, according to the Corporation for National and Community Service, over 60 million individuals in the United States contributed 8 billion hours of volunteering. That many hours as an estimated value of 162 billion dollars. If the 60 million plus didn't volunteer, many societies throughout the United States wouldn't be able to function efficiently. Many studies suggest that the level of criminal activity would be greatly higher without volunteers. According to Harvard Professor Robert D. Putnam, there is evidence that shows a negative correlation between lack of social capital (which is created by lack of volunteering) and homicide. There are several studies that also claim a connection between a lack of volunteering and higher rates of assault, robbery and burglary.

The impact of volunteering on society is vast as well as integral to ensure an adequate standard of living for all. Besides the clear impact on society, volunteering can be uplifting and rewarding. I have been volunteering for the majority of my life and I can't overstate the positive impact it has had on my life. I've gained self confidence as well as self-worth. I have made many friends over the years and have a better understanding of the struggles that many members of society endure on a daily basis. I have also witnessed first-hand the positive impact of volunteering.

Luckily due to the internet, you no longer have to leave your house to volunteer and improve the lives of others. I'm physically disabled and most of the volunteering I do myself is online. I volunteer as an online listener. I can go on the site whenever I want to and lend an ear to someone in need. With a simple Google search, thousands of online volunteer opportunities will be at your finger tips. I have only skimmed the service of the importance of volunteering on society and the positive impact it has on the volunteer; I hope anyone reading this will do some research and find a way to volunteer.

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