What volunteering brings to our communities
The Annual BBC 101 Clean up Brigade! This tough local Chamber-led competition is more than just a fun event. It is a way, like several other local volunteer events, to build pride and celebrate our community.
Not only is there a generous helping of community competition going on, but where else could you go to win the coveted Trash Trophy? Or how about attend an award ceremony, chow down at a free barbeque, and have a whole lot of fun? This is so much fun that it is easy to overlook that this event, along with many others, are a great way create a cohesive and vibrant community.
Volunteering can help create the dynamics and support reminiscent of an extended, multifaceted family, where young and old get a chance to interact and communicate, mentor and explore, and share a good laugh.
Why do it? For some, it is all about being social and having fun! Volunteering can help create the dynamics and support reminiscent of an extended, multifaceted family, where young and old get a chance to interact and communicate, mentor and explore, and share a good laugh.
For others, volunteering can be used to strengthen a resume for those that lack work experience and skill. Volunteering can demonstrate the ability to work with people, complete projects, flexibility and ingenuity, demonstrate work ethics, and often open doors of opportunity.
All ages benefit--Even seniors! Research shows that volunteering can lower mortality rates, increase strength and energy, decrease rates of depression, and reduced physical limitations.1 It is also a great way to increase opportunities to socialize, create challenges and stimulation, share stories, and provide opportunities to interact with all age levels.
Who volunteers? In 2018, 77.34 million adults in American (or about one-third of the population!) volunteered nearly 6.9 billion hours. Millions more help out with ‘informal volunteering’ activities supporting friends and family (43.1 percent) or doing favors for neighbors (51.4).2
Volunteering can also be broken down into different age groups. Generation X has the highest rate of volunteering at 36.4 percent with Baby Boomers topping the list with 2.2 billion hours of service. Even Millennials are stepping up to do more in several areas, particularly in Utah and the District of Columbia.2
What are they doing? One in three volunteers help raise funds for nonprofit organizations. Many give time to religious groups (32 percent), with just over 25 percent supporting sports or arts groups, and another nearly 20 percent supporting educational and youth service groups. Activities often include food donation/meal preparation (34 percent); transportation and labor (23 percent); tutoring (23 percent) and mentoring (26 percent), and some (just over 20 percent) share professional and management expertise.2
Is it worth it? A 2018 Volunteering in America report2,3 calculated the value of the time volunteered through organizations to be worth $167 billion (based on the Independent Sector’s estimate of the average value of a volunteer hour for 2017) and that does not even include the other millions more who support friends and family (43.1 percent) and do favors for their neighbors (51.4 percent).
Thinking more locally, volunteering at an event such as the Bay Area Brigade gives you a chance to meet new people outside of your normal circle, expand networking to resources and knowledge, and perhaps pave the way for future interactions (such as when job seeking or hiring). But most of all, it is also a great way to help build a cohesive and beautiful community that we all can be proud of.
Photos provided by Timm Slater. Thank you Timm!