The Power of the Volunteer

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“The true meaning of life is to plant trees, under whose shade you do not expect to sit” – Nelson Henderson

This quote embodies the essence of what it means to volunteer.  Volunteering is about whose life or community we choose to affect without expecting anything in return. Many non-profit organizations (and ELK especially) succeed in their efforts with the help of individuals who set their own agendas aside to come together in achieving a common goal.

Volunteers all over the world are the beating hearts of every community. They do hard but important work such as helping kids learn to read or stay in school, and bringing life back to forgotten neighborhoods. Volunteering is a vessel that connects us with our neighbors and provides a chance to use and develop skills for the benefit of all. Whether it is fundraising for a small non-profit, cleaning up the stream bed of a local pond,  or planting trees in a neighborhood, volunteers contribute by donating their time, skills and knowledge to improve the lives and environment surrounding them. Although many communities benefit from the contributions of volunteers, the volunteers themselves receive numerous benefits of a different sort, in return.

Volunteering promotes personal and professional development through different projects and activities. A person gains self-fulfillment and positive self-esteem by way of observing how their support and effort has made a positive difference whether big or small. It strengthens communication skills, the ability to work with others, and the ability to lead and take direction. Through a diverse assortment of organizations, a person has the ability to meet new people and strengthen their networking skills. Most importantly, volunteers gain an understanding and an increased awareness to diversity, cultural immersion, and political and economic differences. They are exposed to their own privileges and access to resources that act as a catalyst for reflection and personal growth.

Volunteering both positively affects the community and volunteer, it is more than an act of kindness; it becomes the foundation that bridges love, respect, unity, leadership, and equality for one another. Here at Environmental Learning for Kids, our volunteers are our local heroes, and we could not be successful without them!

Are you interested in positively affecting your community by volunteering with Environmental Learning for Kids? Please contact Kristina Opre at kopre@elkkids.org or 303-291-7502 to start your journey with ELK, TODAY!

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