by Craig G. Mathews, New Jersey State Board Chair of The Salvation Army
Often people are asked the question: “Why do you volunteer”? However, as a long time volunteer for The Salvation Army and also as its New Jersey State Board Chair of The Salvation Army I think the more important question is, “What is the value of being a volunteer?” For me, that value is the self- satisfaction that I have been able to help others. And, it gives me a sense of pride and a sense of caring for my fellow man. I wish to publicly thank all volunteers and especially our Salvation Army volunteers who help in so many ways throughout the year. Many of the new New Jersey Salvation Army board members are volunteering for the first time, and they have become very involved and excited about the good works they are doing.
Seeing a world that is hurting and in need of so many things, it’s often easy to turn our heads away or build invisible walls to insulate us. For instance, when seeing a homeless person on the street, your first instinct might be to ignore the person while hoping they don’t ask you for money. But if you give it a personal spin and talk to that homeless person, you might discover that he couldn’t control the events that shaped his life. Your perspective might change from indifference to being genuinely concerned and wanting to help.
When we volunteer and really get involved in the issues of an organization, such as The Salvation Army, we become much more aware of its value to us personally. And with it, comes a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment. Feeling good about helping others is a very satisfying emotion. The other perspective is the value to the organization for which you volunteer. All of us have valuable skills that can be used. And The Salvation Army appreciates each and every volunteer and the skills they bring. Never underestimate the ways you can help: your unique perspective, experience, sense of caring, inspiration, skills, and personal contacts, among others.
At the end of the day, my inner satisfaction from volunteering at The Salvation Army makes a difference in their lives makes a difference in my life as I help to make a difference in someone else’s. Volunteering is always a win-win situation – we feel better because we’ve helped someone and the help we’ve provided makes a difference in someone’s life.
April is National Volunteer Appreciation Month and on behalf of The Salvation Army, I want to thank all of our volunteers for their time and commitment to many of New Jersey’s most vulnerable citizens. Without them, charities such as ours could not survive.
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