Volunteering A purposeful impact
Thursday, 01 February 2018
From left, Jennifer Alfonso, her son Ralph and daughter Megan help St. Nick package 20,000 meals to be distributed worldwide to feed the hungry through Stop Hunger Now Dec. 13. 2016. Courtesy photo
By Jennifer Alfonso
GUIDON volunteer

Whether you volunteer with your church, work or community, giving has the potential to benefit you, as well as others. Volunteering can be used in many scenarios to project a more realistic view of you as an individual and the vital part you play in the world around you.

For myself, volunteering provides an outlet, an escape from a life, which at times can become mundane and repetitive. It offers a gratifying place that embraces humanity and selflessness. Bottom line, it makes me abundantly happy and fills my heart with warmth and love.

For those in the military, volunteering can set you apart from your peers and potentially advance your standings for promotion. Volunteering also looks great on Noncommissioned Officer/Officer Evaluation Reports, monthly or quarterly counselings and can offer the opportunity for a volunteer medal within your specific military branch.

A huge benefit to volunteering for our younger generations is that it can provide opportunities, which educate and inform. Teens who are struggling with the all too common “what do I major in at college” or “do I wait to go to college,” can introduce answers for such questions through volunteering.

Volunteering in a broad spectrum of areas can inspire, eradicate or confirm areas which individuals have interests but little knowledge. Volunteering can also offer great opportunities for college applications, grants, scholarships and resumes.

According to a study conducted by Sallie Mae in 2017, 35 percent of undergraduate tuition was paid for by grants. Additionally, volunteering can offer these young adults expertise they may not have encountered otherwise.

For small children, volunteering can provide a great start to social interactions with others. It can also enhance a feeling of empathy and give a sense of community pride. Volunteering young will reinforce the purposeful impact that they themselves can impose on their own lives and the difference they can make in the lives of others.

When introducing younger generations to volunteering, don’t be surprised if the act of giving continues throughout the rest of their lives. I, myself, am an example of that. I began volunteering at a young age, and the capacity in which I volunteer only increases as time goes on.

For military spouses who feel their life may be missing a little something, volunteering can ignite a feeling of purpose and satisfaction, which cannot be duplicated through any other means. Not only will it offer insight into your community, it can also deliver opportunities for employment, friendships and a lifetime love of volunteering. The Bureau of Labor Statistics stated that between September 2014, and September 2015, 41.2 percent of volunteers became part of an organization thereafter.

The knowledge that has been bestowed upon me since I began volunteering here at Fort Leonard Wood has been grand. One could say immeasurable. I’ve had my eyes opened to a magnitude of new and fascinating things that Fort Leonard Wood has to offer. Fort Leonard Wood is truly a different place through the eyes of a volunteer.

The challenge is this: whether it is an hour a month or three times a week, get out there and get involved. In this life we are all busy with work, school and the kids, but imagine the powerful influence which can be bestowed on your entire family if each of you, or together, choose to make a difference for even a fraction of a day. If not for anything else, the memories itself will prove to be worth every second set aside for someone else’s benefit or cause.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 February 2018 )