Collective volunteerism and community service can have a transformative impact on the future. This January, we recognize the legacy of one of the world's most powerful changemakers: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Dr. King’s achievements in his civil rights work will always be remembered as, ultimately, acts of service with humble beginnings of hope for lasting change against systemic inequity and injustice. In 1994, President Clinton's ratification of Martin Luther King Jr. Day as an official federal holiday marked the beginning of a national day of service in honor of Dr. King's legacy. The holiday encourages everyone each year to give back to their communities to pay homage to the civil rights leader's memory and lasting impact on civic leadership.
Personal and Community Benefits of Volunteering
The powerful impact of LEE members is to create lasting, positive change within their community through their involvement and engagement. We prepare you to make a lasting difference and to create a brighter future for everyone.
LEE is a community service advocate and our mission is unwavering in that regard. We believe that volunteering is transformative; lives within the community have the potential to be permanently and positively altered, but it can positively change the life of the volunteer as well. Here are some of the benefits of becoming civically involved through community service:
1. Investing in your community strengthens your community.
Volunteering brings people from all walks of life together to work towards a common goal. Through the investment of volunteering, we foster meaningful relationships, crucial community growth, trust in others, and vital understanding about individual journeys existing in a community. These elements create harmony and strength, and when many work together to support and build these principles, a community can begin to thrive.
2. Acts of service improves quality of life.
By volunteering, we can help to improve the quality of life in our communities and create a more vibrant and supportive environment for everyone through providing invaluable services such as education, medical services, mentoring, job skill building, mental health assistance, and more. A study also shows that by committing to acts of service, this can drastically improve the overall health of the volunteer. A phenomenon known as “volunteer therapy” can:
3. Volunteering bolsters the community, the organizations, and you.
Volunteering provides an opportunity to give back to the community in both tangible and intangible ways. Volunteering offers invaluable experiences that can help to strengthen a sense of purpose, belonging, and connection to our communities.
Volunteering also adds awareness to organizations that need support and can help to fill gaps in areas such as finances, physical labor, emotional support, and other intrinsic skills and experience that are vital to their mission. This awareness can also help increase an organization’s capacity to take on new projects and initiatives. In addition, the skills, knowledge, and experience that volunteers will gain from their volunteering journey can also catapult their career opportunities. Regular volunteers have a 27% better chance of landing a job thanks to the lessons, passion, dedication, and new abilities that come with it.
4. Raise awareness of the issues underlying the need for change.
Many communities today are reeling from issues that need more awareness and action to rectify them. Volunteering is an invaluable way to raise that awareness and create positive change on a local and global level. It allows us to get involved in our communities, take an active role in fighting for justice, and bring attention to important issues that are often overlooked.
Change through civic leadership starts with the individual, and volunteering also creates a unique spark that drives many to a fulfilling career in civic leadership and proactively seeking solutions for underserved communities all over. By beginning with these experiences, you can use your community service background to create a sturdy foundation for your civic leadership career. At LEE, we can help guide you in a direction that suits your personal goals and leadership goals with attainable and measurable steps for success.
5. Equity-minded involvement raises diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in your community.
Volunteering immediately connects you with your local community through service and it can spark a great sense of social responsibility that allows you to broaden your equity mindset to other communities. Stepping out of your comfort zone and joining communities with people from all walks of life increases understanding and creates a collaborative space that respects and values all individuals. Through their work, volunteers not only demonstrate their commitment to diversity and inclusion, but also create a foundation and standard of mutual respect that can have a strong, lasting impact on the community.
The impact of Dr. King's message of peace and equality is still felt to this day. Serving others is an incredible opportunity to honor his legacy and make a difference in our communities. We encourage you to use our “Community Service Plan” resource and research ways you can apply your results to your local area on this MLK Day of Service. You can also check out the training and resources available to you to help you take action in your community.
Not yet a LEE member? We invite you to also take that step into civic leadership with LEE. We’re ready to support your development as a great changemaker for your community so you can truly embody the spirit of service and continue Dr. King’s message. We provide all of our members with valuable resources, programs, workshops, personalized coaching, and more. Join LEE today!