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Volunteering and caring can make a difference
27 September 2006
by Alba E. Martinez

Philadelphia, USA: To kick off the 2006 Campaign, United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania recently held our 15th annual Days of Caring volunteer event, where 3,300 volunteers from nearly 60 companies made a dramatic difference at over 200 places around our region.

In just two days, these volunteers created a positive and lasting benefit in the lives of thousands of other people. There was no legislation, no committees, no studies, no debate. No one needed to take a position or lobby for government support. Instead, there was painting, planting, repairing, building and reading to children. Days of Caring is living proof that each of us can make a tangible difference, 365 days a year.

The issues and problems facing our region are often large and complex. Our community members can often become overwhelmed by the challenges facing us and believe that there is little they can do personally to make their community a better place to live.

While individual volunteer projects may not be very visible, they are a huge help for that health and human service agency, that neighborhood, that family, that classroom, or that one person where the volunteers made a difference.

Some challenges in our community do take millions of dollars and years to resolve. The epidemic of gun violence, for example, will take a lot of effort and political courage. But, what if more businesses incorporated employee volunteerism as part of their corporate culture? What if more community members incorporated volunteerism into their personal and family values? What if the thousands of us who watch lives changed on reality television, raised our hands to personally touch a life in our community? Our community would be a different place.