By David Burden
VSC Project Manager
Volunteerism is the lifeblood of organizational success, and with good reason. Volunteering provides experience, purpose and legacy to a younger and growing paid workforce, while also offering significant health benefits. It is a win-win proposition for both the agency and the individual.
For a younger person, volunteering is an opportunity to gain skills and experience, while bringing sometimes much-needed energy to an organization. In turn, older volunteers often inject much-needed experience and stability into organizations with a younger workforce.
Studies also have shown that volunteering can be therapeutic and promote longevity. One study from 1999, Volunteerism and Mortality among the Community-dwelling Elderly, suggests there is strong evidence to support a correlation between volunteering and better health and wellness. The study points out that the social contact and support a person experiences while volunteering can create positive emotions and a sense of purpose.
The 2012 study Giving Time Gives You Time argues that people often have more time to volunteer than they think they do. The case studies presented revealed that people who spent their free time focusing on helping others experienced increased time affluence – or a feeling of having more free time – over those who focused on themselves.
Furthermore, volunteerism knows no age limit. In fact, it can prove to be a powerful motivator for finding fulfillment and purpose later in life. One volunteer who comes to mind is Ret. MSG Robert Swecker, 85, who volunteers his time every Wednesday with the VSC of Summit County. Swecker, who served in the U.S. Army and has 40 years of motor pool experience, utilizes his expertise to provide safety checks and vehicle readiness for all VSC vehicles. His efforts help to ensure the safe and reliable transportation of Summit County veterans to their VA medical appointments.
VSC volunteers have contributed to the betterment of the organization in many ways, contributing to a healthy working environment for the VSC staff and greatly enriching the lives of clients. They serve in a variety of capacities, helping to greet and encourage clients, participating in holiday functions and offering other services to support the overall mission. In the process, they become valuable – and valued – members of the VSC team.