During National Volunteer Week 2017, we gladly express our gratitude to all volunteers for the time and talents they share to enrich the lives of others.
Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society volunteers may not see how much their individual contributions matter—but the time and energy given by more than 4,100 volunteers adds up! Collectively, they make the Society’s mission possible.
Whether knitting the final stitch into a baby blanket, opening a thrift shop for the day, or working with a client to create a personal budget, every Society volunteer makes a difference. Society volunteers come diverse backgrounds and with all kinds of motivations for volunteering, but what they all have in common is a desire to support service members and their families.
Volunteers are the lifeblood of the Society. Not only do they deliver our programs and services; they also serve as ambassadors for the Society throughout the military community. Many Society volunteers are military spouses – when they’re excited about what they do, they share it with other spouses – and their enthusiasm spreads.
Society volunteers connect us with tens of thousands of service members around the world. They stay on top of changes in military entitlements and benefits. They provide briefings to commanders, military families, and deploying service members to ensure they know how the Society can help. Volunteers also share news, resources, information, and skills. They help shape Society policies and practice when they tell us about particular situations or struggles service members are experiencing. They connect us to local and far-flung communities and help others find support and friendship wherever they go. They bring a wealth of knowledge from – their own educations and careers – that helps the Society gain insight and create solutions for clients.
Society volunteers are rewarded—in tangible and intangible ways. For example, some volunteers start out without any casework experience and discover an unknown passion that leads them to pursue a career in financial counseling or planning, or in social work. Some complete education-related community service hours, or hours required by financial counseling certification programs, and discover they have an affinity for the Society’s mission and become lifelong Society volunteers. Those who serve as communications leads, Budget for Baby workshop instructors, or in management roles may gain new skills they can build on or take with them to become more marketable in the workforce. Active duty service members who volunteer in their off-duty hours gain experience that may help them advance in rate, and in-depth knowledge about the Society’s programs to share with colleagues. Retirees who volunteer enjoy the opportunity to stay connected with the military and give back after satisfying careers.
While serving in the military, many are stationed far away from family, but when you’re part of the Navy-Marine Corps Relief Society, our family is never far. Volunteers tell us again and again that, wherever the Navy or Marine Corps assigns them, they know they can walk into a Society office, be welcomed like family, and find a new home away from home.
Thank you to all volunteers. You really do make a difference for others.