By Mackenna Schon | Source: nwitimes.com
Volunteers are an essential part of United Way’s work to advance the common good. In fact, volunteering has become a major industry. According to the Corporation for National and Community Service, roughly 1 in 4 Americans of all ages volunteered in 2014. Based on the national indicator’s estimated average value of $22.55 per volunteer hour, the value of this volunteer service is worth nearly $173 billion.
Those efforts are worthy of celebrating, and that’s exactly what National Volunteer Week is all about: Inspiring, celebrating and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities. National Volunteer Week was April 12-18, and United Way volunteers are keeping the spirit of this celebration alive not only during Volunteer Week but throughout the year.
United Way recently brought students from different programs, schools and counties together to volunteer, rather than compete, which is the norm. The Annual Youth Day of Caring was held Saturday at Taltree Arboretum & Gardens.
High school students in Porter County are also engaged year round with the Power of Youth high school council. Representatives from each Porter County high school practice leadership, learn community needs, raise funds and host a student-led grant allocation.
On the other end of the spectrum, the United Way Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Northwest Indiana is expanding opportunities for senior volunteers. Through RSVP, volunteers, ages 55 and over, match their skills, wisdom and talents with the needs of the community throughout Northwest Indiana.
In a daily celebration of volunteerism, United Way works together with more than 150 nonprofits to offer the United Way Regional Volunteer Center Website, www.nwivolunteer.org. This website is the greatest resource to learn about local causes and organizations, as well as how you can get engaged.
One of the easiest ways to take that first step into volunteering is through the annual United Way Day of Caring. On Aug. 21, hundreds of volunteers will gather together across Northwest Indiana to give back.
If you are feeling inspired to find the right volunteer opportunity for you, let United Way be a resource. In Porter County you can call (219) 464-3583 or visit www.unitedwaypc.org. In Lake County you can call (219) 923-2302 or visit www.lauw.org. In LaPorte County, visit www.unitedwaylpc.org. For a full listing of volunteer opportunities, visit www.nwivolunteer.org.
Whether you are young or a seasoned veteran, your skills, ideas and time are valuable. Please join us and be a part of something worth celebrating.