Celebrating national volunteer week

by Jeff Camp | April 17, 2022 | 0 Comments
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What are you good for?

In keeping with tradition, President Biden has declared the week of April 17-23 as National Volunteer Week. The practice began in Canada in the shadow of World War II, and it has been continuously observed in the US since the Nixon Administration.

People expect volunteering to make them happy. Does it?

Ed100 Lesson 8.11 explores the important connections between education and volunteers. Schools and school systems depend heavily on volunteers, from playgrounds PTAs to school boards. Those who volunteer in schools tend to support their own school, just as those who volunteer in church tend to support their own community first. This pattern acts as a form of stealth wealth that can make school communities more unequal than they look on simple funding comparisons.

People volunteer for many reasons, including the expectation that it will make them happy. Does it?


The short answer is yes. Psychologists and curmudgeonly statisticians who have studied the connection between volunteering and happiness have reached a nearly universal consensus of opinion: causality in this relationship runs both ways. That is, happier people tend to volunteer, and volunteering tends to make people happier.

Americans overall participate in some form of volunteer activity at varying rates. As usual, there are patterns, which the Census Bureau has studied over a period of decades. In general, women tend to volunteer more than men, for example, and people with more wealth tend to volunteer more than those with less. There are sharp geographical differences, too.

At a volunteer rate of 25.4%, California ranks 47th out of the states, nearly as selfish as Florida, at 22.8%. Tennessee’s state slogan is the “Volunteer State,” but its volunteerism rate places it 31st out of the states. The only state where a majority of people volunteer is Utah, at 51%.

Ed100 depends on volunteers. Want to help?

Ed100 depends heavily on talented volunteers, often in connection with PTAs and school districts. At present we are urgently seeking talented volunteers to help in two areas to get ready for the fast-approaching summer conference of the Ed100 Academy for Student Leaders. We need a program coordinator with event management experience who can help organize the many things that need to come together on time from now through the end of June. And we need a video editor who can quickly edit raw Zoom footage into presentation-ready videos for YouTube.

If that sounds like you or someone you know, please reach out!

Also, if you have a few minutes to help, will you support the work of Ed100’s team of student Outreach Ambassadors? They are trying hard to ensure that every California high school will be represented at the summer conference of the Ed100 Academy for Student Leaders, June 20-22. It’s free. To help them, sign up as an ally and join them in reaching out to schools where we haven’t received any applicants yet. (Here’s a flyer about it.)

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