I’m going to make a bold statement -- one that I believe to be accurate. Our military would not run without volunteers. Period.
If you’re not sure you agree I would like to you make your way to your nearest installation. Visit the hospital, those greeters -- volunteers. The people behind the pharmacy counter at the refill pharmacy -- volunteer. The man who taught your Army Community Services class -- yes, a volunteer. The woman who leads your Family Readiness Group -- also a volunteer.
According to the Blue Star Families’ Military Family Lifestyle Survey 2010 (3,634military families surveyed), 68 percent of respondents had volunteered in the last year. A direct comparison with civilian volunteers isn’t possible given the difference in definitions and populations, but the Corporation for National and Community Service indicated that in 2009 the national volunteer rate was just under 27 percent. The majority of military-affiliated volunteers carve out less than ten hours a month in any one category of donated time (to military non-profits or church, for example). However, 9 percent of the respondents who declared hours put in more than thirty hours per month—equivalent to a part-time job.
Folks, that’s some serious free people power (which translates to money saved) for our military. The question is – why do we do it? With so many people volunteering in so many ways, the individual reasons for volunteering are infinite.
Just recently I had a friend of a friend Facebook message me with a common concern of military spouses – meeting new people. She had recently relocated and was at an installation where she knew no one. Desperate to “date” for some friendships she reached out to me for advice on where to “score a few acquaintances” she may be able to turn into lifelong friendships. In my fourteen years of experience as a military spouse I have had the most luck finding friendships and “like minded’ individuals by volunteering.
Sound Off...What do you think? Join the discussion...
Tara Crooks writes columns for several military publications, and is the host of Army Wife Talk Radio and cofounder of the popular website www.ArmyWifeNetwork.com. Army Wife Network is interactive empowerment for Army wives. Featuring Army Wife Talk Radio the original internet talk radio program for military wives, "Field Problems" a self-syndicated question and answer column for military families, "Field Exercises" live interactive events for military spouses, Loving A Soldier blog, featured columns, and a robust Facebook community. To find out more about Tara visit her blog, www.TaraCrooks.com and listen to Tara's T.A.L.E. her exclusive podcasts on Military.com.
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