The past few months have been an intense time of service in our city. If you had a chance to read our recent newsletter you saw the numbers: 42 churches, 2,500 volunteers, 19,000 volunteer hours. It’s very evident that the people of Fresno and Clovis have the heart to love and serve our city. But why do people volunteer?
But why do people volunteer?
People volunteer for many different reasons:
- Inspired after hearing of a need
- Volunteer hours are required for a class at school
- Church is encouraging people to serve
- Friends are serving and they feel pressured (just being real, here)
Whatever the reason, many people are serving in a variety of ways. We often share the data, and it’s all very interesting. What is even more exciting is to think that each one of those numbers represents lives being impacted in some way; both those serving, and those BEING served.
When people contact ENP, we ask them why they want to volunteer. Within each response is a story. Within each volunteer is the opportunity to make an impact.
Some of the answers we’ve received were:
One of our Literacy Mentor volunteers commented that, “When I was a child growing up, I struggled with school. There were people in my life, mainly my mom, that never let me give up and never let me feel bad about myself because it took longer for me to understand something than it did for other kids. I am where I am because people saw something in me that I didn’t even see, and I want to do what other people did for me.”
Miko Johnson, a volunteer from H&R Block said, “I grew up in a very difficult home life and through some amazing adults (my adopted family, teachers, youth leaders, Bible study leaders, etc.) who were willing to give their time and pour into my life, I was able to see that my upbringing did not make my future hopeless. . . . Some of these people were not allowed to share verbally about Jesus but lived in such a way that their actions pointed to Jesus. I would like to be a part of caring for kids who may have the same struggles and just need someone to come alongside them to encourage them.”
Obligation to Passion
And then there are those who volunteer as a requirement for a class at school. One of those people is Jing-Jing Yang. She and four others from her communications class did a project in the fall of 2015 at Addams Elementary Saturday Sports. For a couple months, this team spent time each Saturday morning hanging out with the kids and learning more about them, their school, their families and their neighborhood.
They were no longer required to volunteer when the project was completed, but Jing-Jing kept coming back. Two years later, she is still at the big table doing crafts, playing games, or helping with attendance. She just loves being there, investing in the kids and the neighborhood.
Bottom line – volunteering is about giving back. However, in the process, anyone will tell you they receive so much more than they give!
What’s your reason for volunteering? How has it changed your life?
If you’re looking for ways to volunteer, check out our recent blog on upcoming summer opportunities!