Scientific studies have shown that individuals who volunteer enjoy both physiological and physical health benefits including greater satisfaction, improved sense of belonging, lower blood pressure and decreased mortality. More than 62 million Americans — one quarter of the adult population — contribute approximately 8 billion hours yearly to causes close to their hearts. In honor and celebration of the many people who generously give of their time and resources, April is designated National Volunteer Month and April 23-29 National Volunteer Week, specifically.
National Volunteer Week has a history in Canada dating back to World War II, when women were celebrated for their part in supporting the war effort on the home front. In 1974, then U.S. President Richard Nixon signed a Presidential Proclamation establishing National Volunteer Week. Annually, the sitting president issues a special proclamation in honor of volunteers.
The National Panhellenic Conference (NPC), and its 26 women’s organizations salute the contributions of countless women volunteers — those individuals who mobilize men and women to take action and those who give countless hours to make a difference in their communities and the world. Consider:
- Ruth Colvin, Kappa Delta Sorority, founder of the Literacy Volunteers of America, now part of ProLiteracy.
- Nancy Brinker, Alpha Epsilon Phi Sorority, founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
- Ginny Carroll, Alpha Xi Delta Fraternity, founder of the Circle of Sisterhood.
Thank you to all who volunteer from 90 to 19 and younger. Consider the possibilities within your community to seek out ways to engage, step up, share your skills and experience the satisfaction of volunteering to make a difference.
Donna C. King