National Volunteering Month


By Sharon Schweitzer

April recognizes all those who give their time and energy during National Volunteer Month. In the United States, volunteerism is instilled at a young age. In many parts of the country, it is the cornerstone of summer vacation or woven into after school programs. Most organizations in small towns, rural counties and the largest cities would not function without volunteers. In some families, the baton of volunteerism is handed down generation after generation. In 1974, President Richard Nixon established a National Volunteer Week in the United States. Over time, the week evolved into a movement that gained widespread recognition and support. It was made official worldwide in 1990.

Volunteers come in all shapes and sizes. They pick a cause and make a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes the difference is a drop in the bucket. Other times it creates a tidal wave of change. From the anonymous volunteers who donate their resources to those whose efforts are part of larger national organizations like 4-H, Boy and Girl Scouts of America, or American Red Cross or a local grassroots group, their missions provide valuable support to communities in times of need.

Once you’ve found an opportunity that resonates with you, lean into the fulfillment that comes with volunteerism. Remember, every contribution matters, your enthusiasm is contagious, and don’t forget to embrace the opportunity to learn. Your passion for the outdoors, history, and culture is invaluable and your efforts will make a difference for future generations. 

Volunteering can expand social connections and boost mental health, with volunteers less likely to be lonely or depressed.  It also can improve physical health, with lower blood pressure and even increased lifespan. It’s an overall “win” for the volunteers and society.It also gives everyone a chance to make new friends, connect with loved ones, and it helps for you to learn new skills. 

Here are more suggestions for where and how you can start volunteering:

  • Community homeless shelters
  • Centers for the developmentally challenged
  • Retirement homes or hospice centers
  • Hospitals
  • Animal shelters
  • Environmental conservation organizations
  • Local libraries
  • Local schools
  • Community races or sporting events
  • Local newspapers
  • Volunteer firefighting organizations
  • Volunteer community patrol organizations

These are just a few of the many ways to get involved. Your local community will have its own needs and opportunities and now you know where to check!


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Sharon Schweitzer JD, is a diversity and inclusion consultant, cross-cultural trainer, etiquette expert, and the founder of Access to Culture. In addition to her accreditation in intercultural management from the HOFSTEDE Centre, she is an attorney and mediator. Sharon served as a Chinese Ceremonial Dining Etiquette Specialist in the documentary series Confucius was a Foodie, on Nat Geo People. Her Amazon #1 Best Selling book in International Business,  Access to Asia: Your Multicultural Business Guide, won a coveted Kirkus Star, and was named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books. She’s a winner of numerous awards, including the British Airways International Trade Award at the Greater Austin Business Awards.

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