National Volunteer Week 2016 – Volunteers Give us a Leg to Stand On
The great anthropologist Margaret Mead was once asked, "What is the first sign you look for, to tell you of an ancient civilization?" The interviewer expected to hear of a tool, or an article of clothing. Ms. Mead surprised with the answer, “a healed femur" (aka thigh bone).
Her rationale? When someone breaks a femur, they can't survive to hunt, fish or escape enemies unless they have help from someone else. Thus, a healed femur indicates that someone else helped that person, rather than abandoning them and saving themselves. Isn't that what philanthropy is all about? Healing femurs of one sort or another?
Philanthropy – the love of humankind. Giving and helping by sharing valuable resources with others. Generously contributing time, talents, and expertise should be celebrated.
National Volunteer Week is a time to stop and acknowledge those who go out of their way to heal. Volunteers make our lives safer, easier, more enriching, interesting and fun. Volunteers put food in people’s bellies, help give people a safe place to sleep, eat and be heard. Volunteers fill our lives with events, activities and community connections. Volunteers stimulate our senses and fuel our brains.
SHAD believes gifts of time made by our volunteers are worthy of a week’s acknowledgement and celebration. I invite you to view our volunteer stories from this year and celebrate with us.
To all those who give of their time to SHAD – event organizers, speakers, SHAD Cup mentors and judges, board members, SHAD university campus club leaders, SHAD ambassadors - thank you. We hope you have been as rewarded as the youth you have helped. And we hope the young SHADs you supported are inspired to consider how they might volunteer, to pay your gift forward.
National Volunteer Week is also a good week to reflect on our personal volunteer contributions, and how we might take time to make a difference in the lives of others. How can each of us “heal a femur”?
Giving time and expertise to others is proven to improve health and well-being. Not only that - volunteering helps us learn new skills, have fresh experiences, and gain new perspectives. When we volunteer, we make new friends, build networks and connections, discover our passions, and bond with likeminded peers. We get the chance to positively channel our energy and make a difference, instead of feeling guilty or powerless about a situation or injustice.
Happy National Volunteer Week to the many SHAD volunteers. Because of you, exceptional youth are being empowered to make the world a better place.
Wendy Zufelt-Baxter, Vice President, Advancement at 1:03 PM