An entire month dedicated to honoring the millions of volunteers who support important needs and causes across this great country. Those amazing people, along with the many special volunteers our team is blessed to work with daily within the scope of the Osceola Council on Aging, and the local community of Osceola at large, we thank you immensely for your philanthropic time and service.
Luckily, volunteerism was instilled in me, and my two brothers, at a very young age; likewise, while in many parts of the country, volunteering is an essential part of summer vacation and often promoted for after school programs. As we enter National Volunteer Month, lets not only honor those volunteers who work tirelessly supporting special causes, but also make it a point to proactively instill the importance of volunteerism into our younger generation; remember, we’ll need them to join our efforts in continuing the important legacy of giving back.
Like many communities in Florida, Osceola County hosts a plethora of volunteer opportunities. With agencies like the Boys and Girls Clubs and the Community Hope Center, along our own extensive volunteer service programs at the Osceola Council on Aging such as Meals on Wheels and our Health Clinic. We have more than 2,200 volunteers at the council, who on average give more than 47,000 hours of their time annually. Volunteers also support the council’s fundraising and community events such as the Annual Breakfast, March for Meals 5k Run/Walk and our traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner events. All in all, the council could not do the extensive work we do in supporting Osceola seniors without the help of our generous volunteers.
Likewise, many nonprofits and social services organizations across the country depend on volunteers as we do. The U.S. Census Bureau on behalf of the Bureau of Labor Statistics states approximately 63-million Americans, or 25 percent of the adult population volunteer their time and talents to a myriad of causes across the spectrum. Those talents can include supporting a church function to coaching a child’s soccer team; from serving soup at the local kitchen to helping pick up litter at the local park, all in all with the mission of trying to make a difference in the communities they live in.
According to the Independent Sector, a national membership organization bringing charitable communities together, those 63-million Americans volunteer nearly 8 billion hours of efforts annually. Computing the latest value of a volunteer hour at a little more than $25, an increase of 3 percent from 2018, the equivalency comes to $203.4 billion given annually. WOW!! That’s amazing, but not surprising. Though interesting demographics come into play behind those numbers. Did you know?
Women volunteer at higher rates (27.8 percent) than men (21.8%).
People aged 35-44 and 45-54 are most likely to volunteer (28.9 and 28 percent respectively), while 20-24 years old’s have the lowest rates (18.4 percent).
On average, people spend an average of 52 hours per year volunteering their time.
72% of volunteers are involved with only one organization, while 18.3 percent are involved with two.
The top four national volunteer activities are food collection or distribution (24.2 percent), fundraising or selling items to raise money (23.9 percent), general labor or transportation (18.8 percent), and tutoring or teaching (17.9 percent).
Coincidentally, the council’s volunteer programs involve three out of the top four national volunteer activities. The council’s Emergency Food Pantry involves food collection and distribution, the Meals on Wheels program transports food to Osceola seniors to various locations across the county, and the Health Clinic assists those who are not yet old enough for Medicare, but who are uninsured and/ or underinsured, while the Adult Day Care companions our memory impaired seniors.
With that said, for whatever type of volunteering you may do, whether it be with the council or with your religious organization, your industrial knowledge and expertise is welcome as your contribution is invaluable to our civil society.
Volunteering acts always deserve applaud; as the President/CEO of the Osceola Council on Aging, I want to clearly state, we cannot do the work to support our Osceola seniors without our volunteers. I thank each one of those 64 million people who are giving back in their communities. I want to especially thank our council volunteers for supporting the Osceola community in working to make us better and stronger.
For more information on Volunteering at the Osceola Council on Aging, call 407-846-8532 or go to osceolagenerations.org.