In the summer of 2019, my fiancée and I spent one weekend volunteering for the Special Olympics in New Jersey. He volunteered for the organization back when he is college and a couple of times since then. The thought had been on his mind to return to the Special Olympics. This time, he wanted to bring me along.
The event had thousands of people who had descended upon The College of New Jersey. It was hot and crowded with multiple games happening at once. Despite this, it operated all day like a well-oiled machine. There was assistance everywhere you looked. I can honestly say that without the help of the volunteers and those that guided us, the event would have felt much more chaotic.
My neighborhood has a Green Team that meets monthly to discuss how our area can become more environmentally friendly and sustainable. They organize everything from park clean-ups to workshops about composting and bat box installations. This is all done on a volunteer basis and makes our community a better place to live.
One of my favorite examples of the importance of volunteer work was during the height of the pandemic. The Office of Children and Families put out a call for volunteers to be virtual Philly Reading Coaches for young children. When we shared the post on our social media, it exploded! So many people wanted to help however they could in their free time.
Volunteers are essential to the fabric of any community. Did you know that the Free Library also uses volunteers to help with a variety of services? And it is never too early to start. At the Free Library, volunteers can be as young as 14, and can help with a variety of different things! We couldn't do what we do without them, and we are so grateful for their work.
There are also several books that encourage people to become passionate and involved members of their communities both locally and abroad. Here are some suggestions:
If you've been thinking about getting involved with volunteer work at the Free Library or anywhere, let this be the nudge you need! Find a cause you care about and take that next step. It will make a difference in your community.