Hinsdale rich with reasons to celebrate volunteers

“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

— Winston Churchill

One of our favorite initiatives at The Hinsdalean has been our Making a Difference partnerships with the nonprofit agencies in Hinsdale.

And one of the projects we enjoyed most was a spring 2010 photo shoot at The Community House. It resulted in a photo montage of 74 volunteers who supported a Community Memorial Foundation partner agency. Many individuals volunteered for more than one.

The two-page spread remains a wonderful reminder of just how many hands are needed to help the nonprofits in town fulfill their missions.

April is National Volunteer Month and next week is National Volunteer Week. We have a lot to celebrate.

In Illinois alone, more than 2.8 million volunteers contribute more than 206 million hours of service, according to AmeriCorps.

Here in Hinsdale, stories of volunteers and their efforts regularly appear on our pages. We are currently highlighting the work of teen volunteers who serve on the various junior boards in town. That coverage is connected to a communitywide food drive the teens also are involved in (see Pages 7 and 22).

In recent weeks we’ve written about volunteers who organize events like the Walk for Wellness, coach Jodie Harrison basketball teams and play music at local nursing homes. In February we recognized more than a dozen volunteers with an editorial “valentine” for their work at Candor Health Education, the Hinsdale Humane Society, Wellness House, Community Memorial Foundation, HCS Family Services, the Hinsdale Historical Society and Infant Welfare.

The new board members elected to serve the village, library and school districts are all volunteers as well, spending hundreds of hours over the course of their terms preparing for and attending meetings and interacting with constituents.

Most nonprofit organizations here and across the country would be lost without their volunteer support, as these statistics from AmeriCorps, volunteerhub.com and nonprofitssource.com indicate.

• Volunteerism has a value of almost $5 billion in Illinois more than $193 billion nationwide.

• Volunteers are worth on average $24.14 an hour, according to an Independent Sector Study.

• Volunteers are almost twice as likely to donate to a charity than those who don’t volunteer, according to The Corporation for National & Community Service.

Volunteering, it turns out, also has a benefit for the volunteer.

• Ninety-two percent of human resource executives agree that contributing to a nonprofit can improve an employee’s leadership skills.

• Those who volunteer regularly have a 27 percent better chance of gaining employment.

• Volunteerism improves health by strengthening the body, improving mood and lessening stress in participants.

Perhaps the best motivation to volunteer comes from Mahatma Gandhi, who offered these words of wisdom.

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”