With National Volunteer Week around the corner (April 15-21), the Points of Light Foundation is shining a light on the people and causes that are making a difference and inspiring other people to give back.
As part of that effort, they’re asking organizations and individuals to get involved with their #ivolunteer campaign—you can download and fill out the #ivolunteer signboard, take a photo holding the sign, and share on Instagram or Twitter with #ivolunteer and #NVW. Photos will be displayed in a gallery here.
The foundation is also sharing the powerful stories of volunteers on their Daily Point of Light blog, which is filled with advice, inspiration, and words of wisdom about what it means to give back and why it matters. Check out some share-worthy excerpts from a few recent posts:
“We Cannot Fake Caring for Others”
As executive vice president of operations and events for Marlins Ayudan, a community initiative launched by the Miami Marlins, Claude Delorme leads a team of volunteers that help Miami’s youth and homeless population, and he talks about the way giving back has changed not just the community, but his own life.
“I wish that I would have been exposed to it earlier in my career, as it allows us to take a step back and realize the corporate social responsibility we all have,” he said about his experience with the initiative.
“We cannot fake caring for others and getting involved,” he continued. “What a great message for an organization to extend to their community. As we mentor our interns, it is a great way for them to realize the value of this responsibility.” Read the full story.
“I Want to Give Voice to the Voiceless”
Though residential treatment centers are supposed to be a place for people struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse to recover and heal, sometimes those institutions only expose patients to further harm.
That’s what happened to graduate student Samantha Gerson when she was only 14, and she now volunteers with youth at risk of similar experiences and provides training to parents, schools, and counselors on identifying institutional abuse.
“As soon as I got out, I realized this is what I want to do with my life,” she said. “I want to make it so nobody ever has to experience what I have experienced. I want to give the voiceless a voice.”
For those interested in joining her cause, she recommends checking out the organization Survivors of Institutional Abuse and connecting with her on LinkedIn. Read the full story.
“No One is Ever Too Young to Start Making a Difference”
Shreya Mantha was only 12 years old when she and her sister founded Foundation for Girls, an organization that focuses on financial literacy, character-based leadership, digital literacy, and health and well-being for girls in Charlotte, North Carolina. Now 17, she reflects on the importance of youth voice and getting involved.
“The youth will define the future, and therefore, it is crucial for them to evaluate the needs of their communities and get involved. We can all make a difference, and no one is ever too young to start making a difference in their community,” she said.
“We are the change; we have to make a change in what we see is not right, we cannot leave it to someone else,” she continued. “Everything big starts small, and if more people get involved and start with the little things, we will see a change in our community, our country, our world, faster than we can imagine. We can all make a difference, whether big or small, if we come together to work toward a common goal.” Read the full story.
Want to spread the word about National Volunteer Week? Download the toolkit here. Still not convinced to get involved? Check out Three Major Benefits of Volunteering.