Volunteerism is a cause we all can get behind

April is National Volunteer Month, and April 17-23 is designated National Volunteer Week.

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

Since The Hinsdalean’s inception, these pages have highlighted hundreds of village residents to who contribute their time, energy and talents in service to the larger community. In today’s Pulse feature (see Page 17), we learn about Wellness House’s upcoming Walk for Wellness fundraiser, which takes a tremendous amount of volunteer leadership and support to pull off. The fruit of that free labor is seen in the cancer-impacted lives enriched by the organization’s inspiring programs.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. They pick a cause and make a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes the difference appears to be a drop in the bucket. Other times it creates a tidal wave of change.

In his recent National Volunteer Week proclamation, President Joe Biden recognizes the contributions that the country’s volunteers make every day and encourages all to lean into service opportunities.

“We also need to call on that spirit more than ever as we help our nation recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, “ Biden states. “As we tackle the pandemic and so many other challenges, government has a role to play, but our nation is stronger, more connected and best prepared for the future when government, nonprofits, community organizations, the private sector and the American people work together.”

The sports feature on Page 46 turns the spotlight on the Mend a Heart Foundation, a locally based all-volunteer run charity and its fundraising efforts to help identify youth with undiagnosed congenital heart defects.

We applaud those whose serve on the community’s village, school and library boards, lending their expertise and untold hours of reading and meeting time to benefit the quality of life for all residents.

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 reflect.

• Volunteerism has a value of almost $5 billion in Illinois and 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.

Biden concludes by contending volunteering makes us better citizens more willing to seek common ground.

“Volunteers are more likely to become further involved in volunteer groups, participate in civic organizations, attend public meetings and lend a helping hand to their neighbors,” he said. “Serving together in common purpose has the power to unite us across the lines that sometimes divide.”