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Patty Craig: A Slice of Time

Are you a volunteer? Most people do things for others, never thinking of their kindness as volunteer work.

Volunteering is generally intended to promote good or to improve quality of life in some way. People volunteer to improve skills, to make contacts for possible employment, to have fun, and for other reasons. Volunteerism is giving of your time without pay. Although a volunteer may not earn money, volunteering produces a feeling of self-worth and earns respect. Volunteering may be an organized effort or an individual endeavor.

The “thousand points of light” was a recurring phrase in speeches given by George H. W. Bush. In his inaugural address on January 20, 1989, Bush said: “I have spoken of a thousand points of light, of all the community organizations that are spread like stars throughout the Nation, doing good…. The old ideas are…timeless: duty, sacrifice, commitment, and a patriotism that finds its expression in taking part and pitching in.” Volunteering can even be done online now: it’s called virtual volunteering or micro-volunteering. Tasks are completed by using the Internet and a computer or another Internet-connected device.

Several people have made comments about volunteerism:
• Volunteers are paid in six figures… S-M-I-L-E-S. –Gayla LeMaire
• Those who can, do. Those who can do more, volunteer. –Author Unknown
• Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart. –Elizabeth Andrew
• Volunteers are love in motion. –Author Unknown
• Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. –Mark Twain
• Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something. –Author Unknown
• We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give. -Winston Churchill

Many organizations track the number of volunteer hours per year. According to Wikipedia, the average volunteer hour is valued at $18-20 while a skill-based volunteer hour is valued at $40-500, depending on the market value of the time. Volunteering might include such activities as babysitting without pay, working at a hospital information desk, tutoring a student, helping to put a new roof on a church, or providing medical services at a free clinic. Volunteers play a pivotal role in improving our communities.

My uncle and aunt volunteer to assist with church repair and construction. Members of their group work for a week or two at each church site, going to various sites during our warm-weather months. Many churches across our state have benefited from this group of Christian volunteers.

The 2012 National Volunteer Week is April 15-21.  I thank each of you who volunteer. You make a difference in our world.

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