National Volunteer Month!

by Brian Guyer

Volunteer Engagement Director

The beginning of April marks the beginning of National Volunteer Month.  This obviously means a lot to me since I serve as the Volunteer Engagement Director for the United Way of Salt Lake.  I see it as more than just an opportunity to add more volunteers to the United Way roster.  I see volunteer month as a perfect time for families and individuals to learn about the power of service and open their hearts to people in need.

When a person volunteers something special happens; not only do they serve the community and help improve social conditions but a person feels a sense of pride for giving with no expectation of being paid back.  There are several reports that document the health benefits a person receives by giving their time to others.  Additionally, during these difficult economic times, non-profit organizations are stretching their dollars in every way possible and volunteers really help make the difference in their budgets.

Volunteer opportunities run the spectrum from one-time opportunities where you help with data entry to on-going opportunities where deep mentor/mentee relationships are formed.  Every opportunity is fulfilling in its own way and I can assure everyone that volunteers are always appreciated by the organizations they are helping.

A particularly rewarding experience is spending time at one of the several United Way neighborhood centers.  Centrally located in schools, apartment complexes, and community centers, United Way Neighborhood Centers are the hubs of the neighborhoods they serve.  Centers create a web of support for the entire family by integrating education, income, and health programs and services.  Each center has a variety of volunteer options that can be viewed at: www.uw.org/volunteer.

So this year make the most of National Volunteer Month and give time to back to our community.  You’ll not only be helping to make Salt Lake a better place to live, you will be rewarded with the satisfaction that comes with making a difference in our community.

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